Sunday, 13 July 2014

The Psychedelia Dress (Vogue#8852)

For those of you waiting for the announced 60s dress... Well you just have to wait a bit!
I sewed another dress! Wow, I really am on a roll here. I've made three dresses in a week, and that never happens!

This is also my very first go at knit fabric. Oh boy!!

This is the Vogue #8852 (very easy) halter dress from 1974, which I got from Retro Monkeys on Etsy (if you have left over money bothering you, go check it out).  It has princess darts in the front and regular fisheye ones in the back. The pattern called for a center back zipper, but I figured my fabric had so much stretch that I could omit that. So I did :) It was indeed very easy and I made the dress in an afternoon.

My fabric is something I found in a remnant bin for 70 NOK, that's about £6.7 or $11. So not alot.
The piece was 1.40m x 1.40m, just enough for the dress (and a wee bit left for a top). It is a "viscose mix" jersey, VERY stretchy and drapey. I thought the print was kinda funky, and I knew I had to try this knit-business eventually. So it was perfect for something that might or might not be ruined!

I do appologize for the weird exposure in these photos.
My camera was acting up in the cloudy conditions,
I was too pms'y and hissy to argue.

I think it went pretty well. The pattern is actually for a 34" bust (I'm a 37"), but I just cut it anyway. Someone once tipped me on sizing down for knits, and had I graded the pattern up to my size, I would've ended up with a tent! So good tip! I think the dress fit me rather perfectly. I also got to try new settings on my machine. Helpfully, I found I had misplaced the manual, so I just had to try every knob-combo until it produced something stretchy. It was good experience, and I now know my Singer even better!

The only issue I had with the fit was the back. It ended up a bit saggy, so it is low backed, and nothing that looks remotely elegant with any kind of underwear... I guess the seventies was the era of no bras, so it wouldn't have been an issue. I tried fixing it by attaching a drawstring to the side seams and running them through a "corridor" made by sewing the facing to the back piece itself. I dunno. It didn't work as planned, and the spaghetti-strap I made is stretchy too, so the tightening effect is virtually non-existent. So I now just call it a decorative touch, and artistic freedom!

Hard to see, but here's my drawstring back!

Even though my first experience with knits went fairly well, I obviously still have lots to learn. The facing pieces do not behave as they do on stable fabrics, and I suspect it would look better if I had stabilized the seams around the top area with something. Or added interfacing to facings. Also, when making buttonholes in something stretchy, it needs something stable underneath. I attempted  it on plain jersey, and the result was my Singer eating the neck strap to the point where I had to disassemble half of my machine to get it out. Needless to say, there was no buttonhole, and I just sewed the straps together at the neck and stuck a button on there for eye appeal.

Eye candy button :)

So there it is! My first knit garment! It might not be my best work, but it will do for a simple sun dress to wear around the house. It was not worth all the procrastination, knits are totally okay, even without a serger!


  1. Wow, you've been productive! Good for you!

    Nice dress! Perfect for summer!

    I have to admit I never have sewed knits.

  2. I remember my first knit. Yours turned out much better. Love the button on the neck.

    Very pretty.

  3. I will be attempting my first knit shortly, hope I'm as successful as you!

  4. Den ble jo kjempefin! Jeg er engstelig for elastiske stoffer :-(

  5. It's come up so well :) I was determined to conquer knit-intimidation this year too - you're so right; it wasn't worth the procrastination at all!

  6. Great dress! I much prefer sewing with knits than wovens ;-)
    You have amazing views there too!