Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Casually Cute Knit Dress


I’ve been wanting to make a casual dress out of cotton knit for a while. And I’ve really wanted to use some navy blue knit my MIL found for me a while back. And I’ve pinned a few really cute knit dresses lately…

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(Click on each picture to go to their site.)

With so much inspiration in mind, and an itch to sew after not doing much for a week, as well as an upcoming holiday weekend, I figured why not make a dress that could be worn any time but made to look patriotic?

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I love the way it turned out! and it was so easy to make! (That is, once I figured out what I was doing and stopped making mistakes…)

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This bolt of small-ribbed knit was the kind where the material is woven in a tube, which made it even easier! I just cut it the length I wanted the dress to be, used a shirt that I like the looser fit of as a pattern for the neckline, and cut slits down to where the bottom of the sleeve would be.

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You can see in the picture above where the slits were. Because the material was in a tube, I didn’t have to worry about side seams. Keep in mind though: because I’m a smaller size, the width of the fabric would work for me. I wanted the material to gather without being too bulky, and this was the perfect amount. I’d say the width of the material was about 1.5 of me. If you need it to be wider, just cut the size of front and back you need and sew the side seams.

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I serged the tops of the shoulders as they were the only unsewn seam thanks to the knit being a tube! Next I shirred around the neckline using elastic thread on the bobbin. I found THIS and THIS tutorial for using elastic thread and shirring to be very helpful! Since my machine is a Brother, it is one of the only brands out there that just doesn’t work with elastic thread unless you change settings inside your machine (which I don’t want to do for fear of not being able to set them back). I’ve tried and tried different techniques suggested online, but it just never worked for me. So I had to use my old machine, which took a long time to figure out the right settings. Even then, I think I could still use a lot more tweaking, but I’m still happy with how the dress turned out!

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I did four rows for the shirring around the neckline, and then just one row around the arm holes to finish them off.

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At this point, the main part of the dress is done. It looks like a sack, but it’s done. Originally I did a few rows of shirring around the waistline thinking I could either choose to wear a belt over it or leave it as is. But I really didn’t like the way it looked, or being limited to where the waist line was, so I picked those stitches out.

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To make the belt I just used a piece of wide elastic that I bought at Joann’s and sewed the two ends together.

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Then took a few strips of knit in red and blue and lettuce ruffled the edges (go HERE for a tutorial), did a gather stitch on the opposite edge and rolled them into flowers. Glued them to some felt, and then an alligator clip on the back and I had a great belt!

And the look was finished!

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And the best part? This dress could be worn three ways depending on your mood or body type! Just adjust the belt for the look you want.

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Mid-rise empire waist, at the hips or high empire.

I’m looking forward to wearing it to church next Sunday!

(Oh, and did you notice the random dark spot on my left hand? It’s a super cool tattoo of our VBS logo… turns out we ordered really high quality temporary tattoos that are soooo hard to wash off!)

Thanks for stopping by, and take a moment to visit the great link up parties I’ll be joining in on!

40 comments:

  1. Adorably done! I love the simple lines of your dress, and the shirring made such a great touch. Enjoy. :)

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  2. May I just say...you have a great smile.

    And that dress looks fab - that belt really pulls it together.

    I love how kitties always manage to get into the middle of everything we are doing. :)

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  3. I absolutely love this dress :) It looks fabulous on you the color is great and the options with the belt are endless.

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  4. This looks great! It fits you really well and looks like it will be very versatile. The belt is a great finishing touch.

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  5. Great idea using the elastic as a belt!! And moving it around! Love the dress too! Excellent job! :)

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  6. It's a very cute dress! Love the color and the belt is perfect with it!

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  7. Coming over from RMRS! I'm loving this dress! I wish I had the ability to sew! I also wish I had a great body to go along with the dress! Following you now. Check me out?
    www.cdnmissmommy.blogspot.com

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  8. That turned out super cute. I love these kinds of dresses!

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  9. omg you made it?!? i am so impressed right now! i clicked on you off of MGR bc i wanted to see where you bought your dress...guess i'll have to go buy a sewing machine ;). happy monday!

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  10. That dress is lovely! What a super job you did. Though you make it seem easy, I am not very handy, so I know it would not be for me :).

    Love the flower belt!

    We just had VBS at our church, too, but no temporary tattoos, I don't think. My son would have LOVED that!

    Just followed you here from Real Momma, Real Style.

    Jeanine

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  11. I am in love with this dress!! :) Its so pretty, Jill!! :)

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  12. That's a great dress. You did such a good job.

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  13. Stopping by from Real Momma, Real Style. Love the dress and belt. You look adorable!

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  14. This is awesome! I love, love, love the belt.. it brings the whole dress together! The flowers are amazing and it looks so comfy! Hope you will share wtih my Pink Hippo Party @ http://pinkapotamus.blogspot.com/2011/06/pink-hippo-party-35.html

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  15. That is so cute! I just started sewing a couple of weeks ago, but I can't wait until I'm good enough to try something like this.

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  16. This dress is fabulous! I love that it can be worn a few ways! You are darling, stopping by from RMRS!

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  17. LOVE the dress!! Super cute!

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  18. that looks amazing. the belt makes it, but the dress is so versatile!

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  19. Love it! I hope you'll link up this week! This week's linky party is open for one more day. http://singingthreelittlebirds.blogspot.com/2011/06/inspire-me-monday.html

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  20. You looks so pretty! Thank you for sharing your creation!

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  21. Such a great dress! Thanks for sharing the tutorial. I'm going to add it to my to-sew list. I also have a brother and keep a tiny screwdriver near it. I remove the parts to get to the bobbin case, pull it out a little and turn the screw to tighten the tension when I use elastic thread. It does take a while to get it back to its original setting, and the screwhole was sealed with wax since I wasn't supposed to touch it, but I like the look of shirring, too. Great, great job on your dress!
    Jenny

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  22. Very cute! Do you have any recommendations for shirting with a Brother? I am not familiar on how to change the settings. Thanks.
    Kelley

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  23. What a beautiful dress!! :)

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  24. This is a fantastic dress! Now I need to convince myself to try it!

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  25. Hi, friend! Happy 4th of July! I'm admiring all your creative posts here. Can you please share them at the Creative Bloggers' Party & Hop? Hope to see you there at the party :)

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  26. That looks amazing on you! I'd love to have you link up with my Creative Me Monday blog party at The Southern Institute. http://www.thesoutherninstitute.com

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  27. Very Cool!! I have a little blog party called Simply Creative over at 365days2simplicity.blogspot.com. I'd love it if you linked this project up!!

    Angela

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  28. I came across this while looking for some free dress patterns. I've been looking for my next project. I think this is it ^_^

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  29. I noticed your kitty in the picture. Isn't it sooo nice when they want to 'help'...mine always seems to think he needs to lay down right in the middle of my fabric :) The dress look awesome, good job!

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  30. I've just come across this and wow!! Must make this!!!

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  31. Such a cute dress! I wanted to let you know that I featured it on my blog!

    www.sweet-raisins.blogspot.com

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  32. Those knit dresses that you’ve collected were good inspirations for you to come up with this navy knitted dress. The belt complemented to the cuteness of the dress!

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  33. Thanks for this great tutorial. This will look great at a 4th of July party. I'm pinning it and including it in this little collection I put together... http://darlingadventures.com/?p=999

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  34. This is adorable!! I think I could even do it, maybe . . .Love the belt too and the fact that it is adjustable to where you can wear it, and you can just step into it. Brilliant! Next time you have a tattoo that won't come off, try rubbing alcohol. It's supposed to work great.

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