Last week, I had the pleasure of finally (!) meeting Alyson Clair.
This lady is seriously passionate about knit fabrics. And her enthusiasm is infectious, because the next day I ran out and bought a few yards of this lovely organic cotton jersey to play with.
I’m really in love with this fabric. It’s thick and opaque, soft, and the color of melted vanilla ice cream.
I thought it would be fun to try the Oolong in a knit. Since Oolong is cut on the bias, it’s meant for stretch. I decided I’d try a few tweaks (which I’ll share) and see if I could get it to work.
First, the lovely slim six-gored skirt had to go. Too many seams for a knit, and I wanted to keep it simple. Instead, I drafted a simple circle skirt. I adore the way the skirt came out. Since I have fabric left, I might even make a separate circle skirt with it.
I also had to add an inset waist piece (that’s the band part around the tummy), since the original pattern has an empire line. This is REALLY easy to do. All I did was tape the skirt pattern pieces together at the seamlines, trace, and cut it off at the waistline (which is marked on the pattern). That’s it.
I then lengthened the back bodice to match, so I now had a waist seam sitting at my natural waist. I removed all darts (just pinched/folded them out) from the back. No need for darts with a stretchy knit like this.
The final thing I had to worry about was finishing the neckline. I opted to add a cut-on facing to the front v-neck, so the fabric basically just folds under at the neck. I made a self-fabric binding for the back neck. I find that finishing necklines is one of the trickiest things about adapting a pattern for knits, but this solution worked pretty well.
What I’d do differently
One thing I’m not entirely happy with is the sleeves. My gathers were off when I first set it. I ended up re-setting the sleeve, which led to making the armhole a little too big and the sleeve fit a bit wonky. But I’m fine with that, and plan to tweak it for the next version.
Finally, I might make it a touch smaller next time, particularly in length. This fabric is really really heavy and really really stretchy and I feel the bodice has stretched out lengthwise a bit too much. You can see the under-bust seam sits pretty low. But that might not happen with a more stable knit than this ultra-stretchy one I used.
Overall, I’m very happy with it. Oolong has always been one of my favorite shapes, so it’s nice to work it into my wardrobe in this more casual (and super comfortable) way.
Plus, oh my gosh you guys… knits are FAST! Even with all my fussing and sleeve re-setting, this thing went from fabric to dress in about 2.5 hours!
My next one will be in a camel and cream stripe, which I’m pretty excited about.
Details: the shoes are Dieppa Restrepo rose gold loafers, lipstick is MAC Vegas Volt (a great coral), pink cardigan is second hand, blossoming tree is a weeping cherry, and the stripey flower is a camelia!
PS: Sorry the images are a bit washed out, the sun was being very fickle when we snapped these before work.