Thursday, June 9, 2016

altering clothing: maxi dress to summer skirt, sewing with knits

Summer of selfish sewing has begun for me. It's exciting to sew and get some things finished that I haven't had time to do until now.
I've ordered a few clothing items over the last few months that need sewing alterations done before I could wear them. Most needed just a little change, nothing complicated planned.

Today's clothing alteration is a knit maxi dress. I loved the striped fabric when I saw it on the Old Navy web site and had to have it. The images only showed the dress from the front and the back so I was hesitant with such huge stripes that they may not match up on the side seams. That was a risk I took, and purchased it, knowing I could always re-sew the side seam if needed.

The dress arrived, and yep, the side seams were way off on the side. Such sloppy craftsmanship. It was $24 and I would expect for the super soft luxurious fabric, that it would be sewn with better care. My first thought was to just re-align the side seams and keep it as a dress, then I tried it on and the top was too stretched under the arms so I couldn't wear it comfortably.
I decided to start from scratch and made a short summer skirt with the fabric. There was a ton of the fabric to work with, it was a soft thick quality, and I loved the colors. The fabric is the reason I bought the dress in the first place.
I live in skirts during the summer and this one will be worn plenty.

Skirt- maxi dress from old navy here (stripes not available anymore) 
Denim Jacket- Old Navy, here
 Shoes- Patagonia

Tips for sewing with knits.
Use a serger if you have one. It allows the thread to stretch with the fabric. I did this skirt almost entirely on my JUKI Serger: side seams, top waist band, and bottom edge (hemmed on sewing machine though).
If you don't have a serger, use a ball point needle for knits with a stretch stitch on your sewing machine.

Iron the hem. Pin well and frequently, sew the hem with your sewing machine using a double needle. This allows the thread to stretch with the fabric. The thread will break otherwise when the skirt is stretched.

Adjust the differential feed on your serger. This will keep the fabric from stretching out as you sew. The next example shows the top scrap with the differential feed adjusted correctly and the bottom scrap without it. The fabric is stretched and fanned out on the bottom examaple. This is how I serged around the bottom of the skirt before folding it up to hem it on the sewing machine.

When sewing the side seams, the differential feed will most likely need to be adjusted less. It's good to test on scraps so you can get the right tension and adjustments.

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