Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Lady in Red Part Two: Homage to Joan


My New Look 6000 dress is finished and I can solemnly declare, hand on heart, that this is my favourite of all my handmade makes.  When I first saw the pattern on Scruffy Badger's winter dress round up, my immediate thought was how lovely it would look made from a red knit.  Just one small obstacle - I've never sewn with knits before and I didn't have the time/bravery to fully get to grips with my overlocker.  However, once I'd read Gertie's tips on sewing with double knits and realised I could use my regular sewing machine, I decided to give it a go.

It was pointless making a muslin in woven fabric, as double knit is just so different in feel and drape.  So taking Gertie's advice, I cut the pieces out in my size and just did a basted fitting on my dummy.  The pattern seemed to run on the large side and the bust darts were worryingly low down, but all I had to do was move the bust darts up the bodice, take in the central darts and side seams a little and hey presto - a perfect fitted dress.  


I'm convinced this was due to the magical properties of double knit - if I'd tried the same changes on a woven fabric I doubt whether the fit would have been so good, so quickly.  Double knit is very forgiving and seems to follow the curves of your body instinctively. Plus, if you do need to remove stitches, the fabric seems to just bounce back into shape, with no unsightly stitch marks left behind.  I used a ballpoint needle and the dress sewed up like a dream - not one skipped stitch.  


Double knit is now officially my new favourite fabric, knocking gabardine off its perch.  For some reason though, it's not that easy to get hold of it in the UK.  I got mine from Calico Laine, as recommended by Suzysewing. If you're a complete lazy arse like me, then I really recommend sewing with it as it allows you a wide array of shortcuts.  Along with the basted fitting which saved a lot of time, here are the other shortcuts I took:

1. I left all seams unfinished!! Yes, you read that correctly.  Here's what Gertie has to say on the matter:  "Double knits don't fray so no need to finish the seams - hurrah!"  If it's good enough for the high priestess of the perfectly finished seam, then it's good enough for me!
  
2. I didn't insert a zip - there's more than enough stretch to get it over my head.

3.  I didn't use facings around the neckline.  I find there's always a lot of bulk with facings, even on a light fabric, and as double knit is quite a thick fabric (the clue's in the name!) I wasn't even going there.  I finished the neckline with bias binding instead, using this very clear and straight forward tutorial which worked a treat.

4.  No lining - the fabric is warm and thick enough not to need one, and because of the no-fray seams, it still looks good on the inside.

The dress feels lovely to wear - soft and slinky yet cosy at the same time.  It's also ridiculously flattering, pulling in your bad bits and emphasising your good bits.  Can you tell I love it?!




My inspiration for the dress was this picture of the lovely Joan from Mad Men.  


Joan is just so beautiful she's almost not of this world - she certainly swims in a different river to us mere mortals.  So my dress is an homage to her gorgeousness.  As a final nod to Joany, I added covered buttons to the sleeve cuffs.


Thank you Scruffy Badger, for alerting me to this glorious pattern, I would never have spotted it otherwise - that's what I love about sewing blogs!  I'm going to really enjoy wearing this to the xmas party I'm attending tomorrow night.  I can't wait to see the other makes in the NL6000 fest.

56 comments:

  1. Whit woo! VERY Joany :) I love everything about it, and the fit is so flattering. I am terrified of sewing with knits, but I am now more than a little bit tempted to give it a go, this pattern in just fabulous!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Absolutely gorgeous! Red really does suit you - I can see why it's your favorite color!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ooh! What a lovely dress, you look great. And sounds like it was a joy to make too, which always helps.

    ReplyDelete
  4. You definitely look gorgeous. Great dress and so many sewing tips, thanks.

    Greetings
    Sarah

    ReplyDelete
  5. It turned out stunning Jane! Perfect fit, perfect colour and those self -covered buttons are to die for.
    :)Alana

    ReplyDelete
  6. OMG - This is fantastic! the colour and fit are amazing. Enjoy your party!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Lady in Red is on fire! The dress is stunning. Thanks for sharing the tutorial on replacing the facing with bias binding. I'm not a fan of neck facings.

    ReplyDelete
  8. oh it is so brilliant! I love the fact that some new patterns (new look I am a fan of) can look so timeless.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Stunning! :) I just love me a good red dress and am now itching to pick up this pattern. Plus try double knits (which I have still not gotten my hands on any; they seem to be few and far between around here! :/). You've inspired me!!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh that's just gorgeous Jane! I love the covered buttons so much. My New Look 6000 arrived today - finally. Hooray!

    ReplyDelete
  11. simply stunning, Jane - you look fabulous! have a great time at your party! x

    ReplyDelete
  12. that is definitely a joanie dress! oooh i love it, esp since it's RED :D. the doubleknit was a good choice - very flattering. and the covered buttons on the sleeves is an idea i will have to steal from you at some point :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Absolutely smashing!!! You look sensational! Joan would be so proud :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! The dress is beautiful and the color is perfect on you!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Jane this is lovely! I've been lusting after this pattern for a while and the covered buttons are fab! x

    ReplyDelete
  16. You look absolutely amazing! Fantastic job on the dress, and you've inspired me to actually buy some of the double knit I've been ogling (tissu fabrics does some good ponte double knits too)

    ReplyDelete
  17. This is fabulous. Must try double knit, now, obviously. I think Mrs. H (Harris or Holloway, take your pick, but I think it should be Sterling...) would be very proud.

    strugglesewsastraightseam.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  18. Va, va, va, voom! You look stunning in red! What a classic style!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Jane it is so gorgeously delicious!! It looks a million dollars. I love that you've taken this pattern and taken it a step further, discarding need for zip and facings! I also love your button placement on cuffs and leaving off the collar. I will try to get mine up this evening- have been poorly missing work do , so it hasnt been worn yet. I'll do the round up on the 19th and see what we've got!! X

    ReplyDelete
  20. Wow, love the dress! You look fantastic!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Jane your dress is gorgeous. The double knit was a great choice.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Your dress is gorgeous!! And I love the covered buttons. Hope you and your dress have a great night tomorrow!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. WOW. Amazing. You're the spitting image of Joanie! Perfect Christmas dress as well!

    ReplyDelete
  24. LOVE!!! The colour, the cuffs, the collar, the fabric! LOVE

    ReplyDelete
  25. What a gorgeous dress! I really love the cuffs with the buttons.

    ReplyDelete
  26. It looks fantastic Jane! And I agree with you, double knit fabric is a pleasure to work with, even though getting it isn't easy :)

    ReplyDelete
  27. Very nice. Love the colour. Love the fit. Great job.

    ReplyDelete
  28. hot, hot, hot! This is absolutely stunning, Jane! I just love it!!! Great job--you've done Joannie proud!

    ReplyDelete
  29. I loved this pattern when I first saw it and also thought it would look amazing in the red on the cover. I think I am going to have to make it one day too!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Oh my goodness I am in love. The red is to die for.

    ReplyDelete
  31. What a lovely dress! The fabric is terrific. Do you by any chance know how to say "double knit" in French? I can't work it out (Google not helping either, alas) and my attempts to explain it to French friends and family haven't resulted in a term I could use at the fabric store...

    ReplyDelete
  32. You are right to love this dress - it's absolutely gorgeous. I have to have this pattern now. I want to sew with double knit! Thanks for the link. You may seen see a carbon copy of this make on the web...

    ReplyDelete
  33. Oh my likey very much Jane! The colour, style and fit are all perfection on you...you'll be turning some heads in this little number for sure! I absolutely love the neckline and cuff detail!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Ooh missus - very slinky indeed!
    Perfect colour, fit, neck, sleeves, fabric... pretty much perfect really!
    And I like your tights! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  35. And thanks for the link to that fabric shop - ooh!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Oh, thank you so much everybody for your kind comments. I can't wait to wear it tonight - it's freezing in London so it will be perfect.
    If anybody knows the French term (or equivalent) for Double Knit could you please leave a comment on here for one of my readers - Klancas. Thank you! Klancas, Double Knit is also known as Interlock Knit in the UK if that helps? x

    ReplyDelete
  37. This is so pretty and red really looks good on you. You have inspired me to work on this pattern soon!

    ReplyDelete
  38. This is the perfect dress for you. Love absolutely everything about it and it is beautifully made. Sent you an email about a possible meet up in London.

    ReplyDelete
  39. I think sales of double knit will show a marked increase after this! It's gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
  40. Ooh, I'm half French yet I have no idea what the exact term is for double knit. Tricot double or Double Jersey maybe?

    Anyway, just wanted to say that your Joan dress looks so nice that I immediately went and bought some of that knit too! I've had a vintage pattern for the past few years that calls for knit but I couldn't find anything suitable in the shops and I was a bit reluctant to go blind online. Now based on your recommendation, I've got me some red (of course!), petrol and black... And I have to say Calico Laine are brilliant. The fabric arrived the very next day without me even asking for special delivery, and it looks amazing. I always love your recommendations Jane, so do keep 'em coming!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Oh wow, Nathalie, I'm thrilled you've bought some double knit - you won't regret it and it will be perfect for a vintage pattern! I also got some petrol for another project, it's a lovely colour. x

    ReplyDelete
  42. It's fabulous! What's not to love? The colour, the neckline, the covered button detail, it really is a rather perfect. Bethx

    ReplyDelete
  43. Oh Jane! This is just divine!!! It is so gorgeous, so sexy, and looks so... comfortable! Adore the fabric covered button cuffs. I really must copy, I mean, pay homage to this dress... xx

    ReplyDelete
  44. looks great! and I think I'm going to snag the fabric covered button concept -- it works perfectly for this style of dress.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Fabulous colour. It really suits you. The style is so sexy too!

    ReplyDelete
  46. Bea-ut-iful! Just so so lovely - what a killer of a dress!

    ReplyDelete
  47. **Drooling drooling drooling**
    I am speechless... Must make double knit dress... Right. Now. This seems like such a perfect winter dress. I've never seen such a perfect mariage between comfortable and chic. And of course, the colour is amazing on you. Wow!

    ReplyDelete
  48. Jane, I just had to let you know that thanks to your link to Eloise's store (the fabulous print you have in the background of most photos) I have today bought my very own print to go in my craft room.

    Just wanted to say thank you for the link! I see a few more of her items in my future :)

    ReplyDelete
  49. azzymakes: wow that's great, her prints are gorgeous aren't they? So glad you've bought one, they really do go perfectly in a craft room. x

    ReplyDelete
  50. OOOh Jane you need to know how this dress has inspired me. I asked for advice on a good jersey dress... and I was told NL6000. As soon as I googled for inspiration and saw this (as well as the other Scruffy Badger submissions) I knew what I was doing.
    I have my red double knit bought and washed. I'm doing E without the neckline and you've encouraged me that the double knit will be on my side!
    Wish me luck!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooh good luck! Let me know how you get on! X

      Delete
  51. Gorgeous!!!! Perfect homage to Joan!
    I am almost finished working on my first slinky knit jersey dress and WOW I am impressed at how it drapes beautifully and hugs in all the right places! I blogged a photo of me trying it on my blog and I've never seen my self so curvy, I love it hehe.
    I was really frustrated with jersey at the start - too much anxiety over it stretching but I have to say I'm looking forward to using it again.

    Question: Could I use jersey on patterns that are, for say, cotton?

    ReplyDelete
  52. great dress. I love it. And thanks for the shop tip...very useful!

    ReplyDelete

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...