My bad sewing-with-knits experience happened a couple of years ago… I was attempting a dress in a rather thin knit (wanted to make a dress from the built by wendy ‘home stretch’ book), but I made one mistake and to my horror after unpicking the minor stitching boo boo I was left with giant holes in my fabric, landing the project in the bin!
Sewing with this (striped) ponte or ponti (which name is correct?!) for the first time was much more pleasant! For those of you who have yet to try it: Ponte is a durable, less stretchy knit fabric with much more body than regular knit fabrics tend to have. I was intimated, but when I googled “sewing with ponte” all the advice seemed to suggest treating it just like a woven. No fancy stitches or equipment needed (using a regular size 70 needle) SWEET!
I used the pattern McCalls 6460. A pattern for a rather sweet raglan number.
As is often the case: I wasn’t digging the look of the pattern envelope at all (I’m just not a sequins and satin type of girl!), but the design drawing showed potetial.
A fitted dress with raglan sleeves? Sign me up! If you have been reading my blog for any amount of time, you know how I feel abut raglan sleeves: they are just so easy to sew, and super flattering on my rather broader shoulders! 😉
I made 4 really good decisions when putting this dress together:
Firstly I decided to add the sleeves by ‘sewing flat’, meaning that I attached the bodice and side backs to the sleeves BEFORE sewing the side seams/sleeves together, Now that I’m re-reading this post, I don’t think there actually any other way to attach the sleeves anyway! But here’s what it looks like:
The second good decision was to hem the sleeves and the skirt by using a machine-made blind hem (using my blind hemming foot). I highly recommend this for ponti/ponte. It gives the hem some movement, but also looks really pretty and hides the stitches well! Just as well, because I was not prepared to venture into using twin needles and all that scary stuff just yet! Yeah! If you have a blind hem foot, try it when sewing with ponte, its great!
The third thing which really helped me was hemming the sleeves BEFORE sewing the sleeves together (but not hemming the skirt). This was great because, it turned out I needed to take the sleeves in quite a lot, I cut a size 6 (even though I’m a RTW size 8), but it still required fitting so I sharpened up my tailors chalk and got to work. Here’s what the dress looked like before I altered the fit:
Ugh ‘fitting’. Why is the part I dislike about sewing also the bit that makes the magic happen?!…Then again making a ponte dress fit you is pretty quick, especially compared to fitting a woven dress, so that’s another advantage of this ponte fabric!
And lastly I was happy I ended up removing the invisible zip. I initially I did install an invisible zip the the back of the dress (as that’s what the pattern called for), but happily I was able to remove it, because turns out there was enough stretch to pull this dress on without it. Without the zipper, the back looks so much neater!:
I was a little scared to bind the top of the neckline, but it turns using the usual bia-binding technique works fine!
All in all sewing with this fabric (that was out of my sewing comfort zone) was a great experience. The only things to be aware of with pont/ponti are: it curls a lot, so extra pins help! It doesn’t press that well. You can press it at the neck binding enough to get by, but it ain’t like plain weave cotton! Oh and also it’s harder to mark. I got away with using tailors chalk but it is harder to mark parts in this fabric. I’m actually kind of proud of how the stripes at the front waist darts match up! 🙂
So happy I finally made something with long sleeves! I really dig the dress. Unfortunately it was 15 degrees Celsius today (ugh cold weather 😦 !), so I had to opt for pants and a woolen jumper, otherwise I would have worn this dress all day!