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  • Nicole Seafolk

CWE: Sewing with Wovens is so much Harder than Sewing with Knits ( + Pattern Review)

So far in my clothing sewing journey I have only been working with knits. Most people say they are a lot harder to work with than knit fabrics but I have to completely disagree! I started sewing with knits because they are what I wear every day. In t-shirts and loose dresses, I live in knit fabrics. I am no where near an expert in sewing with knits, or the serger I have been sewing them on, but my skills have been steadily improving, and I wanted another big, new challenge.

I picked up this Simplicity Amazing Fit Pattern about a year ago and had it sitting in the “to-do” pile ever since, unopened, uncut, and a tad frightening. The pattern is designed for medium weight woven fabrics with no stretch, and has form fitted princess seams , which I didn’t realize when I bought although I probably should have. I think I was attempting to buy a different pattern but grabbed the wrong envelope, something I do WAY too much really. I decided it was a cute dress though and the sizing was right so I ended up keeping it and thinking maybe someday I will make it. 

That day was last week. 

I purchased a couple of yards of this adorable grandma floral from my local fabric store and got to work. My first mistake was not pre-washing ( I know, THE HORROR!). This isn’t a step I usually miss with any fabric bit I did here and boy can you tell in the length of this dress. It is supposed to hit right above the knew and mine really does not..

The second mistake was attempting to sew with this baby with my serger. Apparently sewing medium or light weight wovens in the serger isn’t a thing, at least not for me and my serger. There was ripped fabric everywhere, skipped stitches, tension problems out the wazoo. I spent a whole night trying to get it right before I gave up, recut all new pieces and decided to just french seam the whole thing and complete the entire dress on my regular sewing machine.

The princess seams turned out amazingly and I love the finished look they give the inside of this garment, even more so than the serged seams would have been. They were however, really annoying to pin in place, required a lot of trips to the iron for pressing, and a bit challenging along the curved princess seams. In the fabric I chose however, you cant even really tell they are there. So that’s fun.

With the way that  the fabric shrank after I finished the price, the arm holes now pull across my large busom, leaving a weird space of skin in my armpit. It is worse after washing and shrinking but even before it was washed there was an odd space there. I probable should have done a FBA but, again, I’m lazy so…

The armholes and necklines are all faced and those facings are stitched in place, a step I missed at first. The back closer is an invisible zipper, and there is a vent at the bottom of the back seam to allow for easy movement. ALl of those things are great design features but they are also a pain in the butt to do, especially on a slippery woven that you are already slightly annoyed at at that point.

The only part of the process of making this dress that  was enjoyed was hemming. The hemming was SO SO SO much easier than hemming knits. Everything else sucked and was way more complicated than it probably should have been but the hemming, oh my the hemming, was that a beautiful sight.

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