I have recently become interested in working with knit fabric. I absolutely love Handmaiden’s Cottage patterns. I thought, “How fun it would be to try my hand at converting Swing Dress Pattern from a woven to a knit?” I am no fabric expert but have learned enough to know how to work with knits and I love sewing it…. so, I gave it a go! My girls love the dress and it was an instant hit once they put them on!
The twirl factor this dress has is already incredibly amazing. When you add in the drape from the knit paired with the perfect amount of weight from the ruffles at the bottom, it totally amps up the fun your little girl will have twirling away in her new Swing Dress!! My sweet little girls had no complaints. As you can see in the photo below: Photo Blur equals Endless Twirls.
The excitement on their little faces when they tried on the dresses and gave it a big huge spin was undeniably the most rewarding part for me after sewing the dresses up for them. I think it's one of the most rewarding parts of sewing for the little ones that I love and hold dear to my heart. It’s what always keeps me coming back to my sewing table to start each and every new project.
When selecting a knit fabric to use, I think a 2-Way Jersey knit would be ideal for using with The Swing Dress. However, I used Cotton Lycra since it is my favorite and it because I tend to be just a lil’ hard headed at times or, well, most the time, and typically go against the grain *pun intended* ;) All bindings need to be Cotton Lycra Fabric with a good bounce back recovery. That is very important. Ruffles are pretty easy and really could be used with any type of fabric knit or woven. I went with my fave again…..Cotton Lycra.
**NOTE** When using knit it's typically best to size down and with this pattern which lead my decision to go with a size smaller but I chose to keep the same size when cutting the length and it seemed to work out perfectly!
SEWING THE SWING DRESS IN A KNIT
Sewing the dresses was pretty basic to following the same directions provided for the woven version. There were just a few very simple and minor changes needed in order to make it work as a knit.
The first change made was to the arm bindings. Because knits need no finishing all you will need to do is fold your Cotton Lycra armband in half long ways the famous "hot dog" fold and simply sew the armband in the curve of the panel as directed in the Swing Dress PDF Pattern.
*NOTE* I shortened my armbands by an inch before sewing them on. I suggest holding it up to your child and just eyeing it up to get an idea of how much armband can be removed. The armbands are meant to stretch so even over shortening them a small amount won’t affect it too much it helps to account for the weight of the fabric pulling and causing a slight gap under the arm. If you prefer, you can always sew it as the pattern directions instruct first. Once the dress is on, you can then measure and adjust the binding accordingly if you’re more comfortable doing it that way.
I think this is where it would have been more beneficial to go with a 2-way stretch knit because I think the 4-way stretch is what gave me the gapping issue. So, if you’re not very experienced or just not super comfortable using knits... generally speaking, I would definitely suggest playing it safe and sticking with a 2-way jersey stretch knit and there should be little to no gapping issues.
When adding the ruffles to the bottom of the dress I omitted the middle sized ruffle (ruffle I) and stuck with the larger ruffle and smaller ruffle. My reason behind this was to keep the weight at the bottom to a minimum as I was afraid the added weight could cause some unwanted sagging. But if you’re a ruffle lover like I am, you should give it a try and see how it turns out. Or you could even try it using a lighter weight fabric like a Voile or maybe even a linen for one or all of the ruffles. Another reason I love ruffles so much is because you can play with them as much as you want and typically everything will work as expected….I like to make my own rules when sewing ..like I said before ..I may have heard my momma say I’m hard-headed a few ....okay, MANY times before!!! This is not always a good thing when sewing knits, but luckily I am also so stubborn I have to work at it until I can make any project work. This is one project you really do not have to work hard at because every step is pretty much the same and hopefully I’ve touched on the main issues that needed attention to make this dress work as a knit!
I’m super excited to try out more of The Handmaiden’s Cottage patterns as a knit!! I hope I will get another chance to tell you guys all about it!
I am typically available to help out most any time of the day. If you have any questions just head on over to The Handmaiden’s Cottage Pattern Group and Lynn, Jaime, Carolyn or I will be around to help with any of your questions!
If you have made it this far, thanks for sticking with me! This is my FIRST blog post….EVER. I can't wait to see your creations shared in the Handmaiden’s Cottage Pattern Group and tag us on Instagram with you creations using #handmaidenscottage.
I am including some links to a few of my favorite places to buy my knit fabrics from. The shops I have listed, in my opinion, have the best customer service, quality fabrics, best prices that I have found to date and are all run by lovely ladies whom I have come to deeply care for through doing business with them.
They all truly have the customer’s satisfaction first and foremost! It’s their number one priority. I also LOVE the fact that they all make it a number one priority to ship your fabric out A.S.A.P. and I may have gotten a little spoiled to that …..I have received my fabric sometimes as early as two days after ordering! I typically never have had to wait longer than a 5 days. However, on the rare occasion, I have always been forewarned if it would be a little bit longer because these shop owners are just wonderful at customer service!
The solids fabrics I used in these dresses came from my dear friend, Mrs.Evelyn with Seweird Fabrics. The unicorns & clouds as well as the polka dots knits came from The super sweet and helpful, Mrs. Vania over at Eurogirls. I also like to shop with another dear friend, Hope with Total Eclipse of The Stitch, and recently have been very very happy with, Mrs. Mel at Purpleseamstress Fabrics.
Below are the links to the shops I’ve mentioned above each one of these ladies are so great at what they do. They’re all so knowledgeable of the products they sell and I have, many times, had all types of different fabric questions answered by each one of them at some point. So they aren’t only selling a product but are readily available to answer any questions it to you in a super detailed way. I have many times messaged them on Facebook with a...”Shoooooot, HELP ME!” moment which is always a great resource to have on hand….I highly recommend checking all of them out!
Patterns on Sale Include:
** Visit the Designer Fabric Selection at the Handmaiden’s Cottage Etsy Shop.
Links to Fabric Company's in This Post
Hope with Total Eclipse of the Stitch Website:
And last but not least because she is equally as amazing:
Before I go, I should mention that the Madelyn Halter Dress PDF Pattern was also done in knit fabric by our friend and blogger, Deb Zaleski, of Sprouting Jube Jube. Read all about it here: Madelyn in a Knit
Until next time, happy sewing to all!
** This post does contain affiliate links in an effort to connect each other with products and services that will enhance our projects. In exchange for sharing these links, we receive a small compensation. While doing so we will only promote the products and sites that we think will benefit our readers using our own personal experience and honest, objective opinions."