Friday, March 2, 2012

Blue slinky knit dress - self drafted.

This dress was a nightmare. I started this dress ................. at least 8 months ago, maybe (probably) more and finished it in December. Each step along the way gave me headaches, even the cutting out. I had JUST enough fabric except there were two little holes in it - I had to darn them and thankfully because of the smooshiness of the slinky, you can't even tell. This fabric is probably nearly 15 years old, so who knows if the holes were there when I bought it (quite possible, I think it was a remnant) or whether they developed with age and it's just the beginning of the end.

I've only sewn with slinky knit once before (which would have been around the time I bought this fabric) and it was a very simple two-piece above the knee dress that I made - side seams and shoulder seams only. That was smart!

I could not get my overlocker to play nicely with this and neither of my sewing machines were much better.  I couldn't find a stitch on either of my sewing machines that would deal with it. In frustration I pulled out a dress I'd made 15 years ago to see what I used in it which turned out to be the overlock stitch on the old sewing machine. Excellent!! Yeah, would have been except that this particular slinky wasn't having it. In desperation I finally used the stitch that has 2/3 straight stitches with a zigzag - that was going to be the best I could manage but the long seams ended up puckered. You can actually see that at the front - it's still noticeable near the hem - after this sitting around for months I just couldn't be bothered 'fixing' it any more. Of course, when I was making the pattern I hadn't taken into account how much slinky knit stretches lengthwise because of the stretch and weight. I ended up having to cut about 4 inches off the top of the dress. I ended up pinning it together at the shoulders to get the 'right' seam line. I tried various treatments to finish off the armholes but all resulted in a lettuce edge look - not what I was going for, until I bought some wonder tape online and viola! Finally I could neatly finish off the armscyes with a straight stitch (still couldn't get the double needle to play ball I think - either that or I just couldn't be bothered stuffing around with it ........... probably option two).

Then of course I had to deal with the hem (which is where a lot of my creations stall). After at least another month of the little blue scrumpled heap being moved from place to place, I hit upon the idea to use hemming web and iron the sucker in place. By this point I wasn't even going to try sewing it as well - I was well and truly over it. I've used hemming web in the past on jeans and wasn't sure if it would hold up on slinky but I've just washed the dress and it's still holding fast, yippee!

Seems I was twisting in the last pic (probably trying to work out whether the camera had taken the pic or not) which has given it some wrinkles that aren't normally there. I can see it needs a press too - even slinky gets wrinkly after being scruched up on floors and in mending boxes for months on end I suppose.

After the experience of this dress it will be a long, long time before I deal with slinky again (I'm fairly sure there's some in my stash but I'm ignoring it and pretending it's not there!)

Basically, to make this dress I used my self drafted TNT knit dress pattern that I've made several dresses with. Obviously I cut up the pattern to give me the seam lines I wanted and extended the shoulders to give me the caps.


  1. I really have to agree with you. I like the shade though.

  2. For all of your headaches you have made a beautiful dress. It fits you well and looks great on you.

  3. Hi - just found your blog. You appear to be a dress guru and a fitting expert. I think that slinky looks fantastic. Oh, and I always stall at hemming things too, and I try to pick people on Pattern Review who have the same shape as me so I'll quit buying the wrong patterns. Like your blog!

    1. Ah no, I WISH I was a fitting expert and a dress guru - or failing that, had the body and measurements the pattern makers are making the pattern for.
      I follow the pin, try on, repin, try on, repin, try on, sew, try on, repin, try on ad nauseum ..... I think my clothes get more wear before they're made than they'll ever get after!