#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!

Sort-of Seamwork Jane

 

 

Working at a fabric store obviously means constant access to amazing fabrics that I desperately need. But if I gave in as often as I wanted to, I wouldn’t have a paycheck, so I have a system. When there’s a fabric I want, but I don’t have a specific project with a deadline in mind, I’ll wait on it. I’ll check the bolt every week or so, and when I see that it’s getting low I’ll scoop it up.

That’s what happened with this fantastically weird 100% cotton double knit. I had wanted it ever since I started working at Stonemountain, but I didn’t buy it until months later and it was down to less than 5 yards on the bolt. During that time I daydreamed about what I wanted to make it into and I settled on an out of the ordinary t-shirt dress to fit this out of the ordinary print.

I didn’t have a good t-shirt dress pattern, so I started with the Seamwork Jane pattern. I wish I had sized down more (I already went down one size, but Seamwork ease is out of control), because the shoulders are annoyingly too large. Not in a fun, oversized way, but just a slightly too big sort of way.

Other than the sizing issues that aren’t too terrible, this was a fairly easy sew. Just kidding, this was kind of a nightmare! Since I was making things up as I went along, I had to redo the ties a few times to get the position right. And I had to take it in in the hips, which meant double the stripe matching. And I broke two twin needles on this dress! One time was completely my fault (remember to switch out of zig-zag stitch when you use a twin needle, folks!), but the other was just because this knit is super thick and topstitching the neckline was too much for my machine.

Despite all these troubles, I really like this dress. It’s super comfy and the ties/busy print are a nice distraction for those big lunch days. I brought it to Oaxaca/Peru but ended up only wearing it once because it was too hot for Oaxaca and too cold for Peru. Oh well, it’s perfect for temperate Berkeley.

My coworker actually bought this same fabric and made the Deer & Doe Zephyr Skirt out of it. We’ve only accidentally matched once so far, but it’s funny to see how the same fabric can be used by two people with completely different style!

Neenah as a Top

On my last post I mentioned a wool jersey turtleneck I was hoping to finish before I went to NYC. It actually only took a couple hours on a dreary Saturday to cut out and stitch up, so now maybe I have time for one more project before I leave on Friday.

The pattern is the Neenah Dress by Seamwork, shortened to a top and sewn up in a smaller size than the pattern recommended because I wanted a closer fit. The wool jersey I used might not be as stretchy as the pattern calls for, so the sleeves and turtleneck are quite tight. I don’t mind this because I wanted it to be a layering piece, but it’s not really something you just slip on. I have to make sure I’m not wearing my glasses when I put it on or else my head gets stuck!

It’s a super quick sew and came together without any problem, so maybe knits aren’t so bad after all. I’m already thinking that I need some more and definitely one in stripes. And maybe a solid black one with some embroidery on the collar. I used to wear turtlenecks like that all the time when I was six so it’s probably time to bring that look back. (Does anyone else remember those shirts? I think I had one with paw prints and one with a little schoolhouse.)

I got the wool jersey from a fabric swap. There was some discoloration from sun damage, but I was able to cut around those parts. I think the scraps might become a super cozy (lined) bra. Not really practical for the Bay Area, but it would be great for whenever I visit my parents in Chicago during the holidays!