If there is one garment that deserves a spot in your spring wardrobe, it’s a wrap dress. We love a great wrap around here: there’s nothing better to transition from winter to summer months and nothing more figure-friendly.
The Appleton Dress is one of our favorites for so many reasons. Designed with curves in mind and with a neckband that actually stays closed, this dress will get a lot of wear. If you’re new to knits, this is a great project to start with. Today, we welcome Appleton Dress designer Jenny Rushmore of Cashmerette for tips on cutting knits.
Cutting stretchy knit fabrics, like those you need for the Cashmerette Appleton Dress, can be a little bit more tricky than cutting woven fabrics. But don’t worry! With these tips and a little bit of patience you’ll find cutting a breeze.
First up, take your time to lay out out your fabric on a flat surface, making sure that the selvages (edges of the fabric) are straight and parallel. Ideally, you should have all your fabric laying flat before you cut, so that the fabric doesn’t stretch as it’s falls off the edge of the table. However, if that’s not possible, you can use chairs or other surfaces to prop up the rest of your fabric, making sure that the fabric you’re cutting isn’t under tension as you cut it.
To get the most from your yardage, cut your fabric on the flat instead of on the fold, following the cutting diagram that’s in the pattern instructions. The only piece that is drafted to be cut on the fold in the Appleton Dress is the back of the dress. When cutting this piece, trace or cut the outside edges, then flip the piece over, lining up the center back and trace or cut the outside edges again. In addition to notching your fabric at all the printed notches, notch the center back of the neckline and the neckband pieces.
My preferred way to cut shifty fabric is to use pattern weights and a rotary cutter (with a fresh blade!), but if you prefer using scissors, make sure to minimize the shifting of the fabric when you pin your pattern to the fabric. Line the grainline on the pattern up with the grainline of the fabric, making sure it is parallel to the selvage. Keep this consistent for each piece to ensure your stretch is running the correct way. Lay your pattern pieces on the fabric, use pattern weights (tins of food do well!) to hold them down, and carefully cut using a rotary cutter.
It can be difficult to tell the right and wrong side of knits – look very carefully and you’ll see one side has lots of parallel ridges – that’s the right side! I like to make a little chalk mark on the wrong side so I don’t have to keep continually checking.
Finally, when you’re marking notches in knits, make sure you make them very tiny, and use scissors rather than a rotary cutter (which isn’t very accurate for notches). On the Appleton Dress there’s a 3/8” seam allowance so you want to make sure the notches are within that.
With these tips you should have your Appleton Dress pieces cut out in no time!