example vs warning

I have a sewing story to tell you. But it doesn’t have a very happy ending…


I wanted to make myself a wrap dress. Something I could wear to various weddings and showers and that would grow as my belly grows. Thanks to crafters on Twitter and pinterest I thought I’d try sewing with Jersey fabric. I’m no fool, I knew for a first major jersey project I should start with a simple pattern. I’d work with cheap fabric (as much as I wanted to buy Alabama Chanin jersey cotton…) I’d even avoid making changes! It’d be simple, and perfect!

Yeah, right. I made so many mistakes on this dress that it’s dead on arrival. I’m not even going to bother finishing it :-/

The buttrick pattern I chose is, indeed, very simple*.

But my first problem was in the fabric itself. For my size I needed 2.25 yards. And to cut the pattern pieces you unfold the fabric so it is just one layer thick. That means I was working with a stretchy square 60×80 inches. Yup. I lost track of the selvages. And since this is knit fabric ALL FOUR EDGES ROLL. I couldn’t find the selvages again. Or I could, and I’d loose them instantly.

I ended up cutting the back and right front perpendicular to the selvage. And then I didn’t have enough fabric to cut the last piece in the same way. I thought, since it was 2 way stretch, I’d try cutting the left front parallel to the selvage and hope for the best.

The second problem actually happened first, but I didn’t catch it until later. See, I’d cut the front and the back at the same time. And for the back piece I had to flip the pattern stencil (because it’s symmetrical) So I thoughtlessly flipped the front piece to make it fit the fabric better.

Catch that? Now I have a front right piece cut with purl side out and perpendicular to the selvage. A front left piece cut knit side out and parallel to the selvage. And a back piece cut knit side out and perpendicular to the selvage.

I’m not even gonna bother assembling those to see how the dress would hang. I went to the store last weekend and got a very nice maternity dress on sale which will be fine for the wedding in 2 weeks. Maybe I’ll try sewing again in June…

*although THEY screwed up the artwork on the front. The dress is just 3 pieces and two ties. There’s no way, without major modifications, that you could make the top half of the dress a different color from the bottom half. It’s all one piece of fabric…


2 responses to “example vs warning

  1. Oh, that’s such a bummer! I recently had to throw a sewing project into the trash that I had spent a lot of time on… and unlike knitting, it’s hard to salvage a failed sewing project.

    I find jersey kind of difficult to work with. As you say, it rolls a lot and can be hard to match up the edges. You might try a more stable knit, like interlock or doubleknit. I’ve heard great things about ponte. There is even a “rib knit” fabric which is very stable and easy to ensure you’re cutting correctly against the selvedge because it has vertical lines (which make a good reference and provide visual interest).

    • That’s an excellent point about the types of fabric. I went with jersey because I liked the color. Next time maybe I’ll be a bit more careful in my selection process!

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