After the Emma Dress, my phobia of knit fabrics needed conquering. Instagram keeps providing me with some great inspiration and my favourite online Fabric shop Textile Express shared loads of photos of their cable knit fabrics and so I couldn’t resist. Before I had any real plan, I’d ordered 2 metres each of the pink and mint green!
I’d also seen Tilly and the Buttons advertising their Billie sweatshirt/dress pattern which looked so cosy and with the weather turning colder, it seemed like the ideal make. I’d been looking at the “sewing Billie” hashtags and all of them looked great in a variety of plain or patterned sweatshirt fabrics. And then it hit me… I NEEDED TO MAKE A CABLE KNIT SWEATSHIRT DRESS!
I ordered the pattern from Sew Essential along with some matching Gutterman thread. I’d learned from my last knit project that the thread really does seem to take away the issues with skipping zig zag stitches, and I had plenty of ballpoint needles in my supplies.
With everything here, it was next on my list after completing the Grace Dress.
Sizing it up
I looked at the size charts and because I wanted this to be a nice comfy baggy jumper dress, I went for the 12 top with a slight grading at the hips. There are quite a few pattern pieces to trace for this one; the front and back bodice pieces, the hemband, neckband, cuffs, plus pocket facing and pocket bag. With the change in the grading at the hip, I then needed to extend the pocket facing and bags to meet the new side seam, but the blog on the Tilly and the Buttons website is really clear and helpful. As the fabric is so heavy and stretchy, I found it easier cutting a couple of pieces at a time based on the lay-plan but that meant it took extra time. In doing this, I also found I had to squeeze the neckband out of some scraps – I must remember this for next time. A couple of hours later, and I had managed to get everything cut out, covering the dining room in mint green fluff in the process!
I wasn’t intending to make a start on this straight away, after spending so long on the prep work on a snowy Saturday afternoon, but I couldn’t resist just doing a couple of bits. Pocket facings were stitched to the front bodice and understitched. While I’m here I might as well finish off the pockets with the bags right? I had made a good start but then knew it was a good time to pause. If there’s anything I’ve learned since I started on my sewing journey, I need to know when to stop and to remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day.
With the weather looking just as bleak, it was destined to be a “sn-ewy” Sunday! We needed to pop out, so I thought I’d do a little bit more before we went. I was onto reinforcing the shoulder seams and opted for 10mm pale blue ribbon; it was that or some black wider stay tape. It was a quick job before some shopping, but it meant that the afternoon was then dedicated to finishing it which shows what a simple yet stylish pattern this is! I stitched it together at the shoulder seams, got the neckband on, sleeves on and then stitched from the end of the sleeves up to the the underarm and down the side seams in one foul swoop! Cuffs and hem band on and voila! Apart from a tidy up of the seams, I had a nice heavy jumper dress which, paired with some tights and boots, made for some great photos out in the snow!
Now to be honest
If I am honest, there are 3 things that I’m not totally happy with, and all of them are just where I have been a bit clumsy:
- The pocket facing on one side is stitched a bit too far up at the top which meant that it didn’t sit quite right, especially when I understitched it. I managed to conceal it with the side seams, but I know it’s there and can feel it when I put my hands in the pockets.
- The neckband is on the wrong way round! This one is particularly annoying as I tested putting it on to see how it looked and then went and somehow ended up with the seam at the front. To an untrained eye with the cable knit it looks perfectly fine, but to a semi-trained eye you can see it’s a bit bulkier. I topstitched around the neckline to try and help the seams stay put and this looks loads better.
- I trimmed the seam allowances down as I went, but in hindsight I should have zig-zagged them and then trimmed up to the zig-zagging. I’m going to go round and finish off the smaller seam allowances, just because I’m not convinced that they won’t eventually fray, and I think it will look neater.
I’ve learned from this ready for the next one. I also need to try it on again and determine if I want to downsize back to a 10 on top and a 12 at the hip as it’s very baggy with the weight of the cable knit, but then I think this is probably what you want for a winter outfit! I’m going to make it in the pink cable knit next so watch this space for the updates!