Following the advice of Carol and Arnysews, I embarked on a knit dress to add to my travel wardrobe.
I used McCall's 5890, which was recently reviewed in Australian Stitches. The fabric is wicking polyester from Stretchtex.
I have a lot of this fabric, having originally purchased it in industrial quantities for kayaking sun tops, and generally find it rather tricky to sew, although very easy and practical to wash and wear (and it has a 50+ UV rating).
My sewing experience this time was no exception.
First I had trouble with the pattern sizing. Knits are nasty for fitting, IMO, as you never know how much stretch a particular knit will demostrate for any given pattern, so a toile is next to useless. This knit does not have a lot of stretch, but following the Stitches article, and the finished garment measurements on the pattern sheet, I made a size 10, one size smaller than my measurements indicate according to the pattern envelope, as this pattern runs rather large. I made a FBA princess seam adjustement, but in a haphazard manner, just cutting the curve in a bit more of an exaggerated manner, as I was relying on the stretch of the knit for fitting. (I know, lazy)
Despite this size reduction, the size 10 was grossly oversized, and resembled a potato sack when sewn up. Picking a beige fabric did not diminish this resemblance.
I took in the seams with perhaps a little too much enthusiasm (2cm each vertical seam = 12cm), and ended up with a rather close fitting dress. This removed the dowdy appearance, but perhaps has made the dress a little too figure revealing.I plan to make a petticoat to reduce the under wear outlines.
Then I had to finish the neckline, sleeve and skirt hems. Previously, I have found this fabric a nightmare to sew from the right side - skipping stitches, breaking needles, etc, etc. This time I started with brand new jersey needles, reduced pressure foot tension, gutermann thread, and the sewing was not too bad, but the lack of stretch meant that the neckline was a bubbly mess.
I ran over this with the coverstitch (after unearthing the machine and the manual from last year's swimming costume marathon), and the mess increased.
I unpicked the coverstitch.
Next, I read several helpful blogs, and glued down the neckline with a fabric glue stick. Unfortunately, I forgot to include the clear elastic in the neckline before gluing. I gingerly separated the neckline, applied the elastic, and found that fabric glue cannot cope with slightly stretched elastic. I hand basted the neckline, and the very dodgy sleeve hem
(the other sleeve hem is only moderately dodgy,so I am ignoring it, then coverstitched again.
This was more successful.
Glueing the hem before coverstiching made it really easy.
I love my coverstitch machine - except when it eats the fabric. Some people say knit sewing is easy. I would like to get to that point, but at the moment, I think knit sewing is far more tricky than stable wovens. Wait and see what a mess I can make with my $24 per metre merino!
I was remiss in my last post. Katie KID,MD was kind enought to point me in the right direction to source gripper elastic, after I admired the cool running shorts she made for her husband. I forgot to give her credit for the idea. I did try her source, but unfortunately Sewsassy did not have it in stock when I was in internet shopping mode (and their shipping is a little Australia unfriendly). I ended up buying the elastic from Rockywoods, as they also had some solar weave breathable nylon I wanted to try. My husband is very pleased with his arm warmers, so thanks Katie.