#sewmystyle / Bound Hem Sunny Dress + A Tutorial

My first Sunny Dress for #sewmystyle is done! It’s the comfy, casual, cool knit dress of my dreams. Of course I had to make some modifications to the pattern, which I’m going to share with you here.

Before that, lemme tell you about the fabric I used. The main fabric is a really nice rayon blend ponte from Stonemountain & Daughter and all the bands are this bamboo rib. If you’re looking for rib knit to finish off sweatshirts or jackets, I can’t recommend this stuff enough. It is admittedly a little too thick for this dress, but I had it on hand and I loved the bright blue & stripes combo. The ponte is excellent because it’s nice and soft and the white areas are totally opaque. I know we are running low on it in the store, but this rayon stripe is similar.

To give my Sunny the classic ringer tee look I changed the neckline to a crew neck. I used the Megan Nielsen Rowan Tee as a guide, but you can also just trace off the neckline of your favorite tee shirt if you don’t have a suitable pattern. I also shortened the sleeves by about 3 inches. And though my measurements put me at a size medium, I graded out slightly on the body so that it was right between medium and large.

I finished off the hemline with a binding to draw attention to that fun scalloped hem. It’s a nice way to finish a hemline like this because you don’t have to worry about easing up the curve and it only takes a few more steps.

How to Bind a Knit Hem

First, I completed the first few steps of the pattern:

  1. Stitch shoulder seams
  2. Insert sleeves in flat (I know the pattern says to insert them after the side seams are finished, but that’s really unnecessary and it’s easier to insert them flat)

To prepare the hem band, cut two 1 1/2″ wide lengths of ribbing. I didn’t measure the exact length, but you want it to be slightly longer than the curve of the hem.

Folded and press it exactly like bias binding: fold in half lengthwise and press, unfold and press in the two long edges in to the middle crease, fold in half lengthwise again and press well.

Unfold the binding and line it up along the hemline. Pin along the edge.

Stitch along the first crease with a stretch stitch or zig-zag.

Trim back the seam allowance of both the binding and the main fabric.

Fold the binding over the seam allowance, encasing the raw hem. Pin the binding down. In the photo you can see that the pins do not go through the ribbing on the front, but catch it securely in the back.

Stitch in the ditch with a very narrow zig-zag stitch. If your stitching is careful, then it should be unnoticeable from the right side. Mine is visible on the white areas, but blends in almost completely on the black stripes.

Stitch the side seams as you would normally and finish the neckline and sleeve hems however you wish. I made bands by cutting 2 inch wide strips of ribbing to the length of my neckline/sleeve circumference x 0.8.

And there you go! The bound hemline adds an extra step, but I think it’s no more difficult than trying to hem a deep curve, honestly. I obviously went for the contrast look, but if you used the same fabric as the main dress it would be a clean way to finish the hem.

This Sunny Dress is going to be a spring and summer staple, I know it. I didn’t want to take the dress off after taking these photos, even though I was freezing! It’s so comfortable and easy to wear.

If you’re joining in on #sewmystyle, how is your Sunny going? I’ve been seeing some really lovely ones popping up on Instagram and Facebook and I can’t wait to see everyone’s!

Tell me what you think!