“Hello Sailor” Mini dress – Colette Laurel in knit

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It’s gradually getting chilly these days, I started to dip into my autumn/winter wardrobe and  was pleased to find this little dress I made a while ago which I completely forgot about. It is a royal blue mini dress with sailor’s collar inspired by the photo in Etsy.  I was somewhat obsessed  with this dress on the model,  serious how gorgeous is she? I pretty much decided I MUST have this dress, one way or the other.

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Photo from Etsy Shop SmokeandOakum French 70s mini dress 

Since mail-ordering from States is a not economic viable option (UK custom and all).  Luckily I sew,  so I decided to hunt for the right pattern and fabric for an “mock” one instead.

Without long  I decided on the pattern  – Colette Laurel , except this pattern was for woven and the dress called for a knit. I had never sewed knit before in my live and from I heard it was a whole different kind of beast than woven. I did extensive (probably unnecessary) research and decided to a) sew a smaller size without the bust darts; b) get a ball needle; c) use zigzag stitch for all horizontal seams (subject to stretching) and straight stitch for all vertical seams.

The material I chose was a royal blue ribbing knit- you know, the kind used for neckband in TShirt, with 100% stretch on the horizontal and zero on the vertical direction. I knew it was not meant for dresses etc but I couldn’t find any “beefy” knit in blue in my local fabric shops, so I took a chance. It was dirt cheap and came in a big tube that I had to cut it open. The fabric choice was not that great as the  fabric would stretch so much therefore appeared baggy and bubbly at places. I was ok with that cos the dress does look very loose in the picture. For the sailor’s collar I drafted my own pattern with the help of an online tutorial (there’re plenty of them out there) and used a quilting cotton (again, not a fabulous fabric choice but i couldn’t find blue stripes in apparel fabric locally). I hand stitched the collar to the dress with a catch stitch as I had no idea which type of stitches I shall use to join knit with woven with my machine.

Although I was geared with some pre knowledge on knit sewing, I kinda winged it during the making. But it turned out to be OK, not perfect, but a dress I will definitely wear and not feel embarrassed about it.

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Thinking back, I should have reinforced the shoulder seams with clear elastic or bias stay tapes as they are now stretched out of shape (after all, it is ribbing knit). It was my very first knit dress and it broken the barrier between woven and knit for me, therefore it was special.

What do you think? Do you usually see something in the shops or online you really love but for some reasons can’t get hold of, and resort to sew your own?

Happy Mid Autumn Day, my family and friends in China!

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