Monday, January 27, 2020

Swapping a Knit for a Woven

Almost as soon as I finished my rose print version of this Claire McCardell design, I wanted to make another.  The design is that good!

This time, just for fun, I thought it would be nice to try it in a ponte knit since I have been having a fair amount of success with the textile lately.

I actually wanted this dress to be made from a brighter royal blue that I ordered from, but it never arrived.  I had also ordered this deep navy for another project, but since I couldn't get the McCardell dress out of my head, I decided that a navy dress is always a classic, and I might as well go ahead with the fabric that I had.

I was a bit trepidatious about adding pockets to a knit, even if it is relatively stable.  I decided to go ahead, figuring if they turned out lumpy and horrible looking, it wouldn't be too much trouble to remove them.  It did take a bit of ironing with a ham and a press cloth to get the lower hip to lay flat, but in the end, I think it works.

For the hem, I decided to try something new.  On the interior, I marked twice the wide of my hem so that I could match up the cut edge with that mark at the ironing board.  It worked, but I am not sure it is my favorite method.

And I added a length of rayon seam binding to the waist seam.  Although the fabric is stable, it also is quite heavy with a nice drape, so I am hoping the added stability will keep this piece from stretching out of shape.

The skirt and sleeve hems are done by hand.  I know there is a place for top-stitching, but I think this looks a lot more polished with the less obvious stitching.

Of course, a belt was needed.  In the end, there was only enough fabric to piece the belt.  My original thought was to have the knot placed at center back as it is on this dress, but because of the seamline, I have decided to keep the tie the belt at center front.

Lingerie guard were added to this dress as I did for my first version.  The neckline is not exceptionally wide, but some of my bra straps are more narrow set than others, and this ensures that nothing will peek out.

I prefer to make my own with a length of ribbon and a snap.  It doesn't take very long, and they look so much nicer than the store bought ones.

The knit fabric definitely gives a different look to this dress, but I am quite pleased with it.

And I would normally close with a view of the back of the garment, but this is the best I can do since my dress form has no squishy bits and the finished waist is the same size as she is at that point.  The original dress design calls for a size zipper, but I decided to place the opening at center back.  This way, I have a little bit more zipper length and the opening is easier to get in and out of.  A distant memory of putting together this Vintage Vogue pattern gave me the idea, and I can say that pulling this dress on is much easier than any side zip I have ever come across!  So I will definitely be using the technique where appropriate in the future.


  1. So pretty! So what happen that the fabric order never arrived.
    Thanks for sharing all the details
    I love the lingerie guards

    1. They said they sent an email that the fabric was sold out, but I never received any email. I'm not very pleased about the customer service. I used to love, but it's been about 10 years since my last order and I suspect ownership has changed.

    2. Amazon owns now and customer service now is next to nothing.
      Prices went up and customer service went way down.

  2. I thought I was the only person who hand stitched hems in knits
    I prefer the look to topstitching too

    1. When in doubt, I always do things by hand! It gives so much more control.

  3. Another lovely make. The back zip placement is a great idea!

  4. Another lovely dress Laura Mae, I love your attention to detail and that your garments are so perfectly finished on the inside as well. I would be very interested to know how you level your hems, do you have someone measure the level? I'm struggling to level my garments now my husband is unable to measure for me.

  5. Laura Mae,

    Please, oh please, do the photo shoot for this one in San Francisco. Have an "out of Marin" experience, will ya? It'll be good for you, and beneficial for your viewership. Never you mind that the "center of the country psychic" sez such a setting is where you'll meet a certain someone you seek. Of course, with the sidewalks teeming with menfolk, that prophecy may be more an inevitability than anything else. The big city suggestion is simply a friendly notion, it's not as if I've been tryin' to marry you off for some time, dear (that would too crass, even for me). I suppose now is as good a time as any to tell you how lovely the dress is. It's a timeless creation in form and hue; this frock would stand out at a coin operated telescopic viewer over looking the bay, the bridge, and Marin County. On the deck of a ferry landing is a smart option. Or you could go all out, and shoot in Daly City, with one hand to your cheek, sporting your best Mary Worth look of dismayed concern.

    Always here to help...

  6. I rather like the look of that pattern, in both the big roses and the blue. Might have to consider adding it to my collection, though I suspect it will be a while before I'd be able to use it. Sooo many projects in the works already. I must admit, I think I inserted one side zip and then gave up and moved them all to the centre back. Much easier to insert and use.