Sewing with knit fabrics sounds scary, right? That stuff stretches! You have to use special needles, worry about which stitch you’ve selected, and some people even have special machines just to make the stuff behave.
Is your brain exploding yet?
I can research and pre-plan forever but, ultimately, I learn best by doing and just need to jump into whatever new skill/project I’m trying to tackle.
Looking back, I wish I had started sewing with knits sooner than I did. They’re comfy and 90% of my ready-to-wear (RTW) so, obviously, something I unknowingly preferred already. I also wish I had started by sewing a dolman pattern because:
1. Dolmans don’t have sleeves
Rather, dolmans don’t have a separate sleeve piece. Dolmans are a style where the sleeve and bodice are cut together.
Setting in sleeves (the process of attaching the sleeve piece to the bodice) can be tricky. While doing this on a woven garment is often more challenging than on a knit one, it is still an extra step where you’re matching up the armscye, thinking, is this the front or the back or where is the middle of this thing?
Further advantages ofhaving fewer pattern pieces:
- Your cutting is very quick = less opportunity for the fabric to roll up
- Your sewing is a bit faster = less likely to overmanipulate that stretchy devil fabric
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2. They are easier to fit
If you’re choosing a batwing style, you’ll find this is especially the case. This super voluminous top portion is super on-trend but is also extremely forgiving. This pattern is the Dreamy Drape from Rebecca Page. For adult ladies, depending on your specific measurements, you might find that you can skip an FBA or many of your other standard fit adjustments.
I love how this tapers at the elbow for a more fitted forearm. It is extremely comfy without sacrificing range of motion. In fact, Miss Mini Monkey spend the morning at our local trampoline park in her top.
3 Pattern matching is a breeze
Fewer seams mean less risk! In fact, I think dolmans show off horizontal patterns like stripes perfectly. This is an oldie but goodie from my stash. It is double brushed polyester from the now shuttered Vinegar and Honey. I love how the pattern crosses from elbow to elbow. It is so pretty!
Practice Practice Practice
Any knit garment is going to give you the opportunity to practice skills like stretch stitches, bands/bindings, and hemming with a twin needle. Many designers will also guide you through specific suggestions to help as you sew up their knit garment. One thing I love about Rebecca Page’s patterns is that she always provides instructions for seamstresses using a standard machine as well as those with a serger.
Whether you do end up choosing a dolman style pattern or any other, the most important thing is that you’re pushing forward and gaining the experience to create your own fabulous self sewn wardrobe.
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