My Shibori print Ibiza minidress

My second dress from the shibori fabric we dyed a few weekends ago– I call her the Ibiza dress as she’s shorter than I had anticipated & perfect for the beaches on the island of Ibiza! Etienne and I are heading there next summer.

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Here I used the ribbed knit stretch fabric for the skirt portion of the dress. We had dyed this fabric a few weekends ago in a shibori style. I felt the subtle lines of the ribbing complemented the length of the body nicely also allowing for the greatest stretch to fall across the body.

Ah-ha moments!

I learned two important lessons while making this dress.The reason the dress came out a little more mini than I had initially designed her to be was due to three rounds of (frustrating) stitch-ripping. For those of you who know me, you know that I don’t usually wear anything this short and barelegged (aside from a floral Betsey Johnson dress I adore & my high-waisted jean shorts, of course!)

For those of you interested in the details on what went wrong and some recommendations to remedy these problems see below after the images.

As fall approaches and these sunny September days become increasingly & deceivingly cooler, I’ve begun the process of drafting sleeves to my Tashenka dress. Also, my République du Chiffon Bernadette pattern arrived this morning from Paris!! And last night I cut the fabric for my Nettie bodysuit. This fantastic and versatile pattern is the beautiful design work of Heather Lou, the Montréal designer behind Case Closet…many many fall outfits to come!

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The bottom hem kept puckering. I folded and pressed them repeatedly however this was not enough to avoid the puckering of the hem that occurred. I ended up opting out of the hem (because seriously, how much shorter could this dress get?!). I cut the fabric evenly with the beautiful Singer shears gifted by Etienne’s mom. 

After a little research, here are some great tips I came across:

  1. Always press your hem lines (Did that!)
  2. Use a double needle when sewing knits (Will get that!) * other suggestions have been changing needle position, increasing stitch length or needle size*
  3. Play around on some test fabric pieces to find the perfect tension to stitch length ratio.
  4. Stay tape- similar to interfacing, it has a little stretch to it and provides structure for fabrics with more stretch.
  5. Attach a walking foot as it doesn’t add pressure or stretch the fabric as you sew.

Another issue I had was the fabric kept getting sucked into the bobbin case, creating this great big mess. It looked like a mangled bird’s nest and the fabric was stuck in the plate (hence my shortening of the dress due to cutting the sucked & ripped fabric) Some suggestions I found:

  • A (cheap) trick that apparently works well for this type of problem is to place some thick paper between the fabric and the presser foot.
  • Another recommendation I found was in regards to the pressure footer. On my Singer 247 this wheel is found on the top left. For heavier fabric, less tension is suggested so that that fabric slides easily between the presser and the feed dogs. For lighter fabrics, you will want more tension/pressure, so that the presser foot holds the fabric to the feed dogs, avoiding any sliding away. In my case it’s recommended to increase the pressure.
  • The presser foot was in the “down” position when I threaded the needle. This means the tension discs were closed and so the thread did not get in the discs.
  • Use a smaller needle size.

Another thing to note about ribbed knit is that it’s a little more tricky to line up equally with other fabrics that have less stretch. Note the small amount of bunching at waist line. It was measured to the bottom hem of the bodice as I always do but stretched in the sewing process creating a looser waist line, hence the little bunching. Bah! Ribbed knit, never again!!

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