Two Very Different Wool Knit Dresses

Mood Fabric Wool Sweater Knit Saiph Dress

Howdy Y’all! Well, it’s finally sweater weather here in East Texas. Sorta. Off and on at least! Which means that it’s time for me to do what I do every year around this time: freak out about my utter lack of cold weather clothing and start eyeing the blankets on the back of the couch maniacally, wondering if I can quickly drape and belt them into some passable semblance of clothing!

That’s why this month my Mood Sewing Network makes are all about quick, but warm, wooly dresses. I needed something warm, and I needed something warm now.  (Before the weather decides to return to balmy temperatures in a few days time!)

Mood Fabric Wool Sweater Knit Saiph Dress

My first dress was made using this thick and fuzzy Designer Wool Sweater Knit from Mood Fabrics online, which is, of course, no longer available, but you can check out all their wool knits here.  I spotted this fabric back in early August – when just blinking put one in danger of overheating – and I think I must have been daydreaming about cooler weather because I had to have this fabric then. At that moment. I think my husband was a bit concerned when the box came and I proudly pulled out my yardage and started crooning over it’s springy, scratchy, wooly goodness. Of course, maybe it wasn’t the fact that I was buying wool sweater knits in the middle of August that caused his brow to furrow, but rather the fabric itself. It’s a little bit like an 80′s Cosby sweater thrown in a blender… I mean, what is with those colors?! And why am I kinda obsessed with them?

Mood Fabric Wool Sweater Knit Saiph Dress

Despite my love for this fabric, I had a bit of a hard time deciding what to do with it. It’s quite thick, and scratchy, which means that whatever I made had to be roomy enough to wear something underneath, but not so big that I end up looking like the Michelin Man rolled in mud. I settled on variation 2 of the Saiph Tunic from Papercut Patterns because I had made one last year out of a medium weight black wool knit that I loved, but that sadly died a tragic death in the dryer (*sobs* R.I.P.) and I felt that this pattern worked well with heavier weight fabrics with a stiffer drape.

Mood Fabric Wool Sweater Knit Saiph Dress

Because this fabric was pretty lofty, I ended up changing a couple of things about the Saiph Tunic in order to keep bulk to a minimum.  First I left off the neck facing and instead just simply turned the neckline in 5/8″ and topstitched it with a double needle. This made for a slightly wider neckline, but I’m okay with that.  I also left off the front in-seam pockets, which I’ll admit was partly because of the bulk issue (4 layers of this fabric is a lot) and partly out of laziness.  Although I’m regretting not trying to find a thinner substitute fabric that would have worked, because I keep trying to dip my hands into non-existant pockets! I also omitted the back neck button closure because I remembered from my last version that the dress was plenty big enough to slip on and off over my head.

Mood Fabric Wool Sweater Knit Saiph Dress

Despite the thickness of this wool sweater knit, I had no problem zipping through it with my serger, which I used for all the major seams.  The cuffs and hem were stitched in place using my double needle on my regular machine.

I wasn’t sure how I would feel about this dress, but after wearing it around the house and for pictures, I have to admit I’m fairly smitten! I love that the boxy shape is tempered by the short hem, and the horizontal seam at the drop waist does wonderful things visually to the crazy print.

Mood Fabrics Wool Knit Nettie Dress

But, you know, sometimes you just don’t want to feel bulky all winter long! In which case, let me introduce you to my second wool knit dress for this month! This was made using a smooth, mid-weight wool jersey, with a nice amount of crosswise stretch, in a bitter chocolate color (I’m also not seeing this exact knit online anymore, but this gorgeous deep maroon jersey is catching my eye!)

Mood Fabrics Wool Knit Nettie Dress

Unlike the first sweater knit, this wool jersey was soft enough to wear against bare skin, so I thought a body-hugging silhouette might be really flattering. It’s also thick enough and completely opaque so I don’t have to worry about every little lump and bump showing through.  For this dress I used Closet Case Files Nettie Bodysuit & Dress pattern.  This pattern has so many great options for variations.  For this version I decided to make it a dress (obviously) and went with the high neckline for both the front and the back, and the long sleeve.  I was hoping the modest neckline might add a counterbalance to the curve-hugging silhouette.

Mood Fabrics Wool Knit Nettie Dress

This dress came together in no time at all. Of course it’s a very simple design, but still, I think I wound up sewing the majority of this one morning before work! And I love the results. This dress is just so easy to throw on and yet still look like you tried. It’s also warm, which was my main motive, and I think the bitter chocolate color is a nice, unexpected alternative to the usual black.

Mood Fabrics Wool Knit Nettie Dress

Mood Fabrics Wool Knit Nettie Dress

The only downside is that it attracts fuzzies and hair like it’s its job! So please excuse all the lint in these closeup shots.  As far as construction goes, I just zoomed all the major seams through my serger.  The neckline was finished with self fabric binding, and the sleeves and cuffs were once again hemmed using my twin needle.  Easy peasy!

Mood Fabrics Wool Knit Nettie Dress

And that’s it! Two quick and simple wool dresses to keep me warm… for as many weeks as winter decides to last!

I hope all my friends here in the States have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving week, and for all my international buddies, Happy Sewing, as always!

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Comments


  • True Bias
    November 25, 2014

    love them both! ive been meaning to make a body con nettie for awhile now. must do it! you look amazing as always.

    • Sallie
      November 26, 2014

      Thanks Kelli! The Nettie dress was seriously SO FAST to sew up! Practically instant gratification!

  • Ginger
    November 25, 2014

    Ooh, these are so different from each other and so fun!

    • Sallie
      November 26, 2014

      Thanks Sonja!

  • Heather Lou
    November 25, 2014

    YES! I love both of these dearly and it’s so on point with what I want to wear. Woolly, warm goodness. I clearly need to make a wool Nettie for myself… hopefully I’ll score some soft Mood goodness in NY in a few weeks!

    • Sallie
      November 26, 2014

      Jealous of your NY trip!! Wool Knit Netties are totally where it’s at!

  • Mary Beth
    November 25, 2014

    I’m loving the graphic design on the sweater knit, too bad it’s no longer available!

    • Sallie
      November 26, 2014

      Thanks Mary Beth! I know, it was another one of those prints that sold out super fast. That’s why I knew I HAD to jump on it back in August, despite me feeling a bit crazy for buying wool when it was 110 degrees out!

  • Bella
    November 25, 2014

    You read my mind! I’m heading Stateside in two weeks and have a Saiph muslined for this exact wooly purpose. This was just the inspiration I needed to get sewing. Love that amazing geometric print!

    • Sallie
      November 26, 2014

      Thanks Bella!! Good luck with your Saiph! I love it made up in thick snuggly wools!

  • Debbie
    November 25, 2014

    I really love them both, especially the way you styled the first with those cute shoes. The second one needs no comment…it is just exceptionally stunning – so sleek and elegant. The first one – I hear what you are saying – I felt the same way about my winter wool ponte malvarosa – it wasn’t fitted at all and just felt a bit loose and unflattering – and yet I’ve grown to love it so much. It’s a staple in my wardrobe that will remain so for a long time. It sounds like this one has already grown on you! It looks great!

    • Sallie
      November 26, 2014

      Thanks Debbie! Yeah, I was really on the fence about that print – I wasn’t sure if it was “ugly/cool” or just “ugly/ugly”! Haha! But actually seeing it on the body makes me think it’s not ugly anything, but really pretty spectacular. Sometimes you just don’t know how something will turn out until you’ve actually worn it around for a while.

  • bobbies dupont
    November 25, 2014

    I really like “cosby sweater in a blender”! Both look great on you.

    • Sallie
      November 26, 2014

      Thanks Bobby! I’m glad you like it!

  • sarah
    November 25, 2014

    These look great! The first one looks so snugly and the second one so elegant! great work.

    • Sallie
      November 26, 2014

      Thank you Sarah! I’m loving them both for such different reasons.

  • Lori
    November 26, 2014

    I just love these dresses on you, great job on such fabulous dresses.

  • Fiona
    November 30, 2014

    Love both of these on you Sallie, you sure can pull off different silhouettes! Great job at choosing styles to suit the qualities of the fabrics too. Those colours are so snuggly and autumnal, I adore the pattern of the first one!