As much as I looove working with beautiful fabrics that require special handling and specific sewing rules, sometimes a girl just needs a simple knit dress to throw on when she wants to look classy but feel she’s wearing pajamas. Fortunately for me, Mood Fabrics has an incredible assortment of knits, from lightweight cotton to cozy wool. A little bit of everything, I like that! So obviously, I made two because one CLEARLY is not enough.
I used the Lady Skater pattern from Kitschycoo for both dresses—this is a great basic knit dress, easy to customize by just changing up the fabric. The instructions are extremely knit-beginner-friendly, with lots of pictures and tips to guide you along the process of creating your own perfect knit dress (or five!).
For my first version, I used this fabulous retro floral cotton jersey. I love this fabric because the colors and style are very fall-like, while the actual fabric is super lightweight and perfect for the very UN-fall-like weather we are experiencing right now. Mood Fabrics has another colorway with more red and less mustard, but for me – I say bring on the mustard!
Cotton jersey is relatively easy to sew, although I do recommend taking extra precautions to stabilize your shoulder and waist seams since the fabric has a tendency to stretch and sag out of shape. This can be done by sewing thin elastic (I used 1/4″ cotton elastic, although clear elastic also works!) at the seam allowance before sewing the pieces together.
This particular fabric was a little bit more of a bear than normal to handle, due to being so lightweight and stretchy. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – just be prepared to spend a little more time with cutting (which you should be doing anyway, since we don’t want an inappropriately-placed flower, now do we? ;)) and dealing with curling edges. This fabric is so beautiful, I think it’s totally worth the extra effort!
My second dress was made using this stunning green solid wool jersey. I’ve never sewn with wool jersey before, although I’ve been dying to try it – and that bright kelly green (don’t be fooled by my pictures; this stuff is BRIGHT!) is a color I’ve really been digging lately. So I was pretty excited to get my hands on some and try it out. You know, for science.
Wool jersey is pretty interesting stuff. I used the same pattern for both of these dresses, but look at how different the fit is! Where cotton jersey is fluid and drapey and a little sheer, wool jersey is relatively stable and lofty with a rich color saturation. If you’re curious about the scratchy factor – well, it is a little scratchy. Like wearing a wool sweater! Obviously this doesn’t bother me, but if you have sensitive skin you may want to consider underlining with a soft cotton knit.
While wool jersey isn’t as wash-and-wear as other fibers (I plan on treating this fabric the same way I treat my wool sweaters – lukewarm, non-agitated hand wash, lay flat to dry), it actually is a pretty nice fiber for trying out knit fabrics. Since it’s relatively stable, that means it’s easy to cut and sew. It doesn’t curl up at the edges or shift around much, and since it’s not super-duper-elastic-stretchy you don’t have to be quite as careful sewing if you are using a standard sewing machine. I personally use a serger for all my knits, but this stuff is a great starting point if you want to dip your toes into the knit world but don’t feel ready to invest in a special machine to sew with.
So who else is jumping on this comfy knit dress bandwagon? For real, though—pretty dress that looks like pajamas, quick, self-gratifying sew? I seriously don’t think it can get any better than that.