This year, I’ve been keeping close tabs on my fabric and sewing pattern spending habits. Other than noticing that I spend A LOT (!!!!) on my hobby/habit, I’ve been trying to make smarter decisions about both: buying fabric prints and colors that I’ll actually wear (rather than novelty prints of parrots just because – though I do love parrots!) and patterns that will be good for everyday wear…and that I’m willing to commit to making three of. I’ve been sewing lots of basics this year, and I’m kind of hooked. Though I’ve been focused largely on separates, I love a simple shift dress – enter the Departure Shift Dress by Christine Haynes. Effortless shaping, a boxy silhouette and a simple zipper closure – this dress is right up my don’t-usually-wear-dresses alley.
And then the perfect fabric landed on my desk: the Chipping Away Depth knit print from April Rhodes’ new line Observer, for Art Gallery Fabrics. I’ve always been a wovens gal but this year, I’m taking the sewing with knits plunge. I’ve been experimenting with lots of different kinds of knits (jersey, rayon blends, hemp, bamboo) And Art Gallery’s knit prints are some of the best – they’re stable, easy to sew and have a good bit of body but they’re stretchy enough to make fitting easy. And this print is delectable, the perfect fit for a simple garment design that will show off the scale and graphic impact in all its glory.
Going from a woven pattern to a knit garment was a bit of a journey. Here are a few of the changes I made:
- I went down one size, though I’d seen some info that suggested going down two sizes. My thought was that I could take excess out of the side seams if necessary, but I didn’t end up taking that step: I like the boxy swing the original shape has.
- I extended and tapered the sleeve.
- I skipped the bust darts.
- I added the neckband using a handy formula explained in an upcoming issue of Sew News…and it worked!
From the side you can see how much swing the dress has…I kind of love that! The dress is supremely comfortable but also has some shape and style. And that’s the sign of a really great garment pattern, the Departure Shift Dress…and definitely one I’ll make again. I absolutely love this dress with a large-scale pattern but I’m thinking a basic black knit yet. Or maybe…wait for it…stretch velvet?