Welcome to the second installment of my mission to make more knit dresses this year. I really love the Gable top that I made towards the end of last year, so when Jennifer Lauren released an expansion pack to turn the top into a dress, I snapped it up fairly quickly.
The expansion pack contains instructions for a gathered or a pleated skirt with pockets (yay for pockets!) - obviously I opted for the pleats, mainly because I wasn't sure how well this fabric would gather. It also includes different bodice pieces which are drafted to have slightly less ease around the waist than in the top, and are obviously shortened. All that, and the expansion pack is only a couple of pounds so, while I could possibly have drafted a skirt myself, I was more than happy to pay to have all the work done for me.
As I was happy with the size of my top, but knew there was a little bit of room in it to cope with the reduced waist ease, I stuck with the same size 14. I added half an inch to the bodice length and an inch and a quarter to the skirt length, which are both fairly standard adjustments for me (I'm about 5'9"). The bodice length is now just right, and the skirt length is great for this version but I'd possibly add a little more if I make a more summery version (i.e. one that would be worn without tights).
I did wonder along the way whether the pockets would be a bit small as they looked noticeably smaller than other pockets I've sewn. Maybe they're smaller than average because bigger pockets wouldn't hang as nicely in knits? As it turns out, they are definitely smaller but they are still perfectly big enough for me. If you like your pockets particularly deep though, then you might want to think about altering them.
Just like the Gable top, sewing the dress was a nice simple project. It was slightly tricky to get the pleats pristine because this fabric didn't press quite as crisply as some, but it wasn't much hassle.
Unfortunately my twin needle decided that it didn't like this fabric for some reason - I tried everything I could think of but it would only sew with the left-hand needle. Has anyone else had that happen? I tested other fabrics, and it sewed two beautiful lines on them, but it just didn't want to behave with this one. Odd!
Anyway, the fabric in question is some lovely royal blue ponte roma from Fabric Godmother. Thankfully I like it a lot more than my twin needle did! Based on sewing and its inaugural outing, it seems like a really good quality and was comfy and cosy to wear. I think it's the perfect option for a knit dress for the autumn/winter/early spring.
All in all, I really love this dress. I kind of feel like I might need to make myself a mini-rainbow of them. Although there are quite a few other knit dresses still on my sewing list, so maybe I should give one or two of them a try first!