New dressmaking projects: knit jersey dresses

The year 2014 is coming to an end soon and the plan was to try and make at least another dress before then. Once the new year starts, all my dressmaking focus will be on making my wedding dresses and the bridesmaid dresses. I haven’t visited any of my usual fabric haunts recently, only because I haven’t really felt any inspiration to make any new dresses. I was browsing on Etsy during my break at work one day and came across a couple of sellers who had knit jersey fabric that caught my eye.

Striped jersey dress. Source: BurdaStyle

Knit jersey was traditionally made using wool, but now you can buy viscose or cotton jersey which is a light to medium weight fabric. It’s not too expensive and the woven cotton feels soft on the skin and is very comfortable to wear. The fabric is also known for its draping properties which makes it one of the most popular fabrics to use, mainly for T-shirts and dresses.

Most jersey fabrics are also stretchy can make it a little difficult to work with under the sewing machine, but it’s also good for sizing – with non-stretch fabric if it’s a bit on the small side you’ll need to re-size your garment, but with the elastic properties of jersey you can get away with it being a little on the small/big side. The lightweight fabric is also great worn in the summer and can also be layered in the winter for retaining your body heat.

It’s mainly used for comfortable and casual clothing, but I’ve found that it’s also quite flexible when it comes to how it’s used. Comfortable does not necessarily mean casual, depending on how it’s used and styled, you can also create smart styles with jersey.

Tie dye maxi dress. Source: Alibaba

JB by Julie Brown desert rose printed jersey knit wrap dress. Source: Seefabgal

Grey pleated jersey dress. Source: eShakti

Floral stretch long sleeve maxi dress. Source: AliExpress

Purple jersey knit wrap dress. Source: Polyvore

While browsing online for knit jersey fabrics, I came across this lovely print fabric which I instantly fell in love with:

Frilly Flutters in Mist, from Bonnie Christine’s Winged collection for Art Gallery Fabrics, £5.42 per half yard from Indeed Fabric

It’s not really my usual style, but I really like the light coloured print and wanted to make a dress with a fun print. I had thought about finding prints with birds, but I thought this would better suit my need for a flexible casual/smart dress. I’ve decided with this fabric, I’m going to use New Look #6723 pattern in style A with half or short sleeves and a boat neckline. The print is simple and the higher neckline would be great for setting off a statement necklace.

New Look 6723

The great thing about this pattern is, although the basic style of the dress is the same, you can make different dresses with it depending on the fabric you use and which parts of the pattern you use for the sleeves and neckline. I’ve already made 2 other dresses which are favourites of mine using/altering the pattern to suit how I wanted the dresses to look:

Watercolour floral print dress I wore to my friend’s wedding in Germany

Valentino inspired lace dress

I’d already made a tartan shirt dress before for myself and for a friend, but I like check/tartan and I couldn’t resist when I saw this fabric also available from the same seller:

Crosshatch Chromite, from Angela Walter’s Athena collection for Art Gallery Fabrics, £5.42 per half yard from Indeed Fabric

I knew I wanted something different, there’s so much you can do with fabric when you’ve got an idea of what you want and I knew I didn’t want another shirt dress. When I came across a wrap dress pattern, I knew that’s what it was going to be used for.

Mock wrap dress pattern Butterick 2506, £3.83 from QuiltCitySue

I haven’t yet decided whether I want to make the checked dress with short or long sleeves, but I’ll make a decision soon once the fabric and the pattern arrives. The easiest would probably to make it short sleeve and I can layer it with a long sleeve top underneath or wear a cardigan over, so it can be worn during the summer as well.

What are your thoughts on the fabric and the dresses they’ll be made into? Are you making anything interesting at the moment that you’d like to share?

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