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Jersey Joni Dress

Hi! I’m helen of HsHandcrafts and I have to confess I love to sew with knit fabrics! I think almost every make so far this year has been made from jersey, scuba or french terry!

For anyone who has never sewn with knits before there has never been a better time to start! Recent book releases from Wendy Ward and Tilly and the Buttons both demonstrate how to sew with knits and have a range of projects to suit all styles. All that remains is to decide what you will make first! This time, I chose to make the Joni dress from Tilly and the Buttons’ book – Stretch! Make Yourself Comfortable Sewing with Knit Fabrics.

If you are a beginner, you would ideally want to pick a fairly stable jersey to work with. The spandex stretch Jersey Fabric from Minerva is the perfect candidate. As it is a stable knit with only a little drape, it is really easy to sew. A common problem when sewing with knits is that you can stretch them as you sew, but the added stability of this fabric means that is not a problem here as it moves through the machine really easily. It also makes cutting out a lot easier. Often when sewing with knits I choose to cut my pattern pieces out flat, rather than on the fold to avoid stretching but this fabric cut really easily and so this was not a problem.

Choosing the right amount of stretch for your project is essential. This material stretches in all directions (it has around 60% stretch in both directions) and so it is great for fitted garments and also makes the fitting process so much easier than for woven fabrics as the fabric just stretches to fit! This pattern needs a good amount of stretch to accommodate the fitted bodice. For the skirt the style will very much depend on how much drape your fabric has. By choosing this fabric without much drape I got a fuller bodied skirt than I might have achieved with a drapier fabric.

Sewing the garment was fairly easy and the fabric behaved well with the sewing machine. There is very little sheen to the fabric, despite the spandex, and so it doesn’t slip around too much whilst sewing. This made the sewing progress fairly quick and even some of the trickier steps such as attaching the sleeves went by without any issues.

I really love my finished garment and the feel of the fabric is lovely and soft against my skin – another great reason to sew with knits is that it really does feel like you are secretly wearing pyjamas (and nobody would ever know!). I was also really pleased with how the fabric washed as there was almost no shrinkage. As with all fabrics, I washed it prior to cutting out and sewing my garment – imagine if you put in all that work, made the Joni dress of your dreams, and then it shrunk in the wash!! This is why I prewash! I think there was a small amount of shrinkage on this first wash but not enough to worry about when deciding how much fabric you need to buy.

I think my Joni dress is my new favourite make (the newest is always my favourite!). I loved making it so much that I think I will have to buy some more of this fabric in a few different colours to make some more!

Thanks for reading,

Helen @ hshandcrafts

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