Vogue 8665 – Converting a Woven Pattern to a Knit

Pattern Description: Very Easy Vogue princess seamed flared dress in knee length and mid-calf length.  There are cut on cap sleeves.  The back neckline is slightly lower than the front.  I made the knee length version as a summer dress for an old friend of mine.  This style is rated as flattering for every body type and I agree.

Sizing: 8 – 24

Needle/Notions Used:  Regular serger thread,  ¼ inch elastic for the neckline, rotary cutter and mat, serger and a coverstich machine.   Two fabrics were used, my BFF  liked a faaaaab inky blue-black/lime  Play It Cool Rayon Jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics and I decided to also use a matte Milliskin knit in a merlot color from Spandex House.  The Milliskin was used as an underlining and I’ll explain below why I used it.

Tips Used during Construction: This style is drafted for wovens but as soon as I saw this pattern I thought it was perfect for a knit for these reasons:

  • Style:  This is a simple princess seam dress with no facings, no set in sleeves and just a back zipper and those features make it a good candidate for a knit fabric.
  • Fit, Size and Ease:  In a woven this dress skims the body and that’s what I like in a knit dress; a snug fit through the bust/shoulders and skimming through the body.   For size the ease built into a woven doesn’t apply and I went down three sizes.  This gave me the bust/shoulder fit and the skimming qualities.
  • Fabric:  Patterns drafted for knits note the type of knit and the amount of needed stretch but in this case I had to figure that out myself. The technical drawing shows trumpet shaped skirt panels with quite a bit of flare so that clued me to consider heavy drapey knits with at least 50% stretch.
  • Neckline: needs elastic to prevent gaping when this dress is made from a knit.

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through?  Yes totally

How were the instructions?  Very good and again the instructions are for a woven fabric, but really construction is the same using a serger.

Construction Notes: The original in a woven has a center back zipper, which was eliminated because it was not necessary for a stretchy knit.  I did make a muslin because I was sewing for someone other than me.      I had my friend’s measurements from a weekend visit and after I mailed her the muslin we did a Skype fitting session.   Her measurements track closely to Vogue’s sloper so other than a change to the length I made no other fitting adjustments.

One major change happened after I got the fabric from Ann.  This rayon jersey is very fine and rather see-through; it’s also warm to the touch.  Milliskin is actually cool to the touch and it wicks moisture away from the body, that’s why it’s used for dance costumes.  The Milliskin was left over from a Bollywood routine; I have ton of it still and it had the drapey quality I was looking for so I used it for a muslin.  This is a summer dress and I wanted it to be cool, so I decided to also underline the rayon with the Milliskin to beef it up.  The rich merlot color brightened up the blue-black and the dress has the swing I was looking for.  I did have to carefully glue-and-pin the seams to catch all four layers but that was not actually difficult just time consuming.  The elastic for the neckline was cut about three inches shorter than the 35 inch neckline so that it hugs the body nicely.  The finished dress is pretty heavy for a knit but on the body it has a nice heft and the skirt falls gracefully.  The sleeve hems were just turned under and coverstitched and there was no need to add elastic there.  The hem was made 1 inch instead of the original ½ inch because the deeper hem worked better due to the four layers of fabric that came together at the hem.  The hem was also hand basted prior to coverstitching to prevent the layers from shifting.

Likes/Dislikes:  None at all

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Yes and I think I want to make one for me too!  If you’d like to make this pattern from a knit the  type of knit to look for is definitely something like a Milliskin or Slinky, e.g. acetate and/or polyesters knits, they should be heavy and drapey.  Spandex house has matte finish Milliskin in 40 colors and I have to say the muslin looked pretty good on its own, Milliskin is the perfect fabric for this style.  This pattern in black matte Milliskin would make a fab knit LBD for the summer.  I’ll be visiting my friend in July; we have a NYC garment district jaunt planned and hopefully she’ll find more knits that she likes so I can bang out a few more of these for her.

P.S. – She just got the dress today  and she loves it!  :)

5 Responses to Vogue 8665 – Converting a Woven Pattern to a Knit

  1. Phyllis' friend June 27, 2012 at 5:35 pm #

    I’m very glad that my recent hospital stay helped jumpstart some weight loss.Shoot me now and bury me in my new dress. :)

  2. Gorgeous Things June 27, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

    Yay!!! That looks fabulous and I’m sure it will look even more fabulous on her!

  3. Chris June 30, 2012 at 2:13 am #

    Very interesting post and a nice dress!

    I like wearing knits and usually find that I have to sew a smaller size in a knit than I would if I’m using woven fabric with the same pattern.

  4. PVE July 2, 2012 at 1:59 am #

    Delighted to realize the friendship endures.

  5. Barbara Hewitt August 21, 2012 at 1:35 am #

    Thank you for the refresher notes for changing woven to a knit textile.

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