Valentine’s Day downer turned into a Love match….mostly

Let me start by saying that I went into the last couple of days (let’s be honest, last couple of months) without much of a positive out look. When I started on this dress, I felt like it was already a failure. What kind of wack-a-doo decides to take an “intermediate to super advanced” woven pattern, one that I am at the tippy-top of the size range btw, and make it into a knit. A knit in a fabric that I know doesn’t look great on my figure. ESPECIALLY when I am in a really lousy self-esteem place, with exhaustion, not a lot of free time, and just a brain mess.

Yeh, I am that wack-a-doo. But this makes for a GREAT blog post! (I’d swear Melissa did this on purpose, except I did it all to myself!! :P) The Phee Fabrics Rayon Spandex was wonderful. 

This post is going to be all about pattern problem solving!!! I’m the neighborhood hints and tipster, and I thought this would be a wonderful opportunity to showcase some examples of basic and advanced problem solving in sewing with a pattern you aren’t familiar with. Using Rayon Spandex with this pattern is a great problem solver project!! The springy nature of rayon spandex can cause you some issues for a structured item.

Here is the thing about me (I know you guys are probably sick of my paragraphs starting like that – oh well, here is another one :P), I hate making testers. I don’t do mock ups. I really should. This is a horrible habit I have maintained my entire sewing life. I am a make it up as I go along seamstress. If it doesn’t work, I’m going to make it work in a Frankenstein kinda way. But my skill set has developed because of my Franken-projects and because of my background in costume shops – I’m a determined bitch when it comes to makes. 😀

lois_dress_pattern_large
This is the pattern I chose for this month’s blog. The Lois Dress from Tessuti Fabrics is meant to be sewn in a woven fabric. Tessuti is an Aussie company. I had not heard of them prior to this pattern, but I really liked a lot of things about this pattern, and I  may need to visit them again!!

 

So let us start at the beginning. What basic things do you need to convert a Woven pattern to a knit pattern. First, review the pattern. Is there enough structure? This pattern used vilene inserts to stabilize the neckline, waistline, collar, and zipper placket. (Which, by the way, was AMAZING for stitching with rayon spandex!! More on that later). Do you need to use a stable knit? Do you need to line it to convert it? To answer some of these questions, you may need some experience, or ask the designer! Some designers are happy to answer your questions!!!!

For this pattern, The use of vilene was awesome. It stabilized the waistband, neckline and collar. I removed the zipper. This pattern had skirt and bodice pieces all cut either in duplicate or on the fold. This means the zipper was inset and I could remove it without having to edit the pattern, just the steps. 

Now let me explain why the use of the vilene made this pattern awesome.

Vilene is a stabilizer. Most of it is water soluble (wss), meaning it dissolves in water. This pattern did not specify wss, but DID specify tear-away. I went to my handy selection of embroidery interfacing and selected my interfacing.

This was moron step number one. Make sure your stabilizer is tear away…..I grabbed the cut away…… It wasn’t horrible, but is added an extra step.

When you are pinning stabilizer to a springy fabric, such as rayon spandex, you want to ensure that you are not allowing any gravity to work against you.

This image shows a piece of the rayon spandex skirt piece laid out over the stabilizer. There is no weight on the rayon spandex. When pinning, pin the ends, the center, then pin between.

This limits stretching and warping. Remember – Rayon spandex is very springy. It can stretch and warp very easily.

The same rules for pinning goes for piecing, When you are piecing rayon spandex (or any knits really), you want to ensure that you are on a flat surface and the weight is off of area you are pinning.

This is a knits 101 lesson, and if you sew knits a lot, you probably already know this one.

You don’t sew knits with a straight stitch as it will pop, and that can lead to public nakedness and that can be embarrassing. Unless you are into that, then more power to you!!

These are the settings I use. Play with your machine settings I use.

Sewing darts in knits, especially springy knits, follows the same philosophy. Lay flat, pin like hell. Stitch on which ever end you prefer.

I backstitch at top and bottom, but I know that not everyone does. Occasionally I get all screwy with my stitches……. Just stitch over your screwy stitches and make it all better!!!

The final problem solver for this Rayon Spandex problem was the waistline. If you have read anything I have written on here before, you know I am firmly in the fit, refit, and fit again school of thought. So I kept fitting the pieces of this dress. When I fit the skirt, it was wonky. I was concerned that the weight of the rayon spandex could make it warp and just not look right. SOOOOOO, being the wack -a- doo I am, I thought – ELASTIC!! I ran a line of soft fold over elastic on the inside of the waistline as I was assembling it. An it seems to have worked!!

Stretch a tiny bit as you go!! If the dress is a bit large, you can stretch even more and create some gather details.

I’m not hating it. It may not be the most flattering thing, but its very comfy!!!

It is VERY low cut. I believe this size is made for a bustier lady!!

It all came out well in the end. The verdict – The rayon spandex is lush and wonderful. This dress looks a bit like a nightgown and may need some lace or something, but its so comfy and may be a summer throw on. The pattern is great, its my body that is lacking!

I hope my tips helped someone! If you have any more questions, drop me a line at thirteenstardesigns@gmail.com

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