Monday, March 11, 2013

An easy to sew knit dress from DKNY

Vogue 1194 is a well designed Donna Karan New York pattern with attractive design lines and modern, well written sewing instructions.  The dress frames the face nicely, the waist is well defined, and the pleats provide comfort and visual interest.  I used 2 yards of 60" rayon/spandex, in metallic silver, from
I am teaching this garment to my Clothing Construction One students at present.  In prior posts I have said many positive comments about the education available from Vogue designer patterns.  Even though this pattern's instructions are good, I found several opportunities to improve the knit dress construction.

Vogue 1194 front view
I did not change the design lines at all, nor did I make fit changes.  The joy of working with knits!  If you think one size will not work for you, choose one size for the bodice, one for the skirt, and blend them at the waist.
Vogue 1194 back view
A three thread overlock stitch cleans edges so nicely, and a four thread overlock stitch has stretch for seaming.  The down side is the seam allowances can be short and bulky.  When you stitch across bulky seam allowances, such as at the underarm or waist, the bulk can displace the seams.  In the photo below I used pink basting thread to hold the sleeve sleeve allowances in place so I could stitch the underarm/side seam.
Here is where the sleeve armhole seam meets the side seam.  Nice job!
nice underarm seams
I did not hand baste the other side, and here is the result
underarm seams; whoops
The error is less than 1/4" and occurs in an inconspicuous location.  However, I invested in good fabric and expect to enjoy this dress for many years to come.  I'll redo this side.

The waistline has bulky seam allowances due to the contrast waistband fortified with elastic strips.  
preparing to stitch the side seams along the waistband
I baste all layers with pink thread to minimize shifting when stitching the side seams.  Pins alone won't hold the layers exactly in place.
Bulky seam allowances sometimes jam in the serger.  I replaced the upper knife but it is a challenge to cut through six or eight layers of cloth.  To help the serger, I trim the bulk away myself with scissors, then four thread over lock the side seams.
trim away 3/8"
The bodice front and skirt have several pleats.  To achieve accurate pleats, I hand baste each for several inches past the stitching line.  The basting threads are only removed after the garment sewing is complete.  These pleats are held with silk basting thread.  Basting the pleats probably added ten minutes to the construction time.
these skirt pleats are hand basted in place
The twisted front band is a lovely design detail, and it is secured at center front by hand similar to attaching a button.  1/4" elastic inserted in the front and back waist bands will strengthen the waistline for a long useful life.

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