Drape and Sew a Knit Dress & How to Match Stripes!
My latest sewing project has quickly become a summer wardrobe staple. Today, I am sharing how you can drape a knit dress while matching the stripes on the fabric!
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DIY Striped Knit Dress
Stripes are great to wear but can be troublesome to sew. Although larger stripes are actually easier to sew and match, you can easily match smaller stripes using a few simple strategies. Personally, I find the smaller stripes are more flattering to my larger figure. I tend to shy away from big stripes going around my body for that reason.
Recently, I found 2 yards of 58″ wide cotton knit at a thrift store. It was on sale for only $0.60, a deal I just couldn’t pass up! I knew I wanted a basic t-shirt style dress to add to my everyday summer wardrobe. Knit dresses in this style are comfortable but still look put together. These tee dresses are perfect for hot summer days! After finding the yellow handbag at a thrift store as well as a scarf from Target to match, I was inspired to get started on this super easy project!
Basic DIY t-shirt dresses are a wardrobe staple. They are great for beginner sewists because they have few pattern pieces. This dress has a one-piece front with dolman short sleeves. (The sleeve is one piece with the dress). To make this project even easier, I omitted the neck facing and used black fold-over elastic for the raw edges of both the neckline and edges of the sleeves. The only seams are the shoulders, center back seam, and the bottom edge hem. This dress is loose fitting and so very comfortable!
- 2 yards 58″ wide knit fabric (pre-washed and dried)
- 3 yards black fold over elastic
- black thread
- sewing machine with a zigzag stitch
I sewed my DIY knit dress without a pattern. You could use a similar commercial dress pattern, or wait to purchase my PDF sewing pattern which is currently in development.
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1. Layout the fabric, matching stripes at selvages. Pin the stripes to match every 2-3 inches along the selvage.
2. Layout the dress front pattern piece, matching stripes at the underarm/armhole seam. Then layout the back dress piece the same way, lining up the underarm/armhole seam ON THE SAME COLOR STRIPE AS THE FRONT. It is helpful if you can fit both front and back next to each other on the fabric to see where the stripes line up.
3. Cut out fabric.
4. Pin left shoulder seam together with right sides facing, matching the stripes as you go. Stitch seam with a narrow zig-zag stitch. (You can also serge it if you prefer.)
5. Fold the fold-over elastic over the top edge of the neck opening, stitch in place with a narrow zig-zag all the way around the neckline, past the shoulder to the right shoulder seam. Be careful not to stretch the elastic as you sew, you want to keep a smooth flat seam.
6. Zig-zag stitch the right shoulder together, matching both the ends of fold over elastic and the stripes.
7. Finish the armhole openings with the same zig-zag stitch and more fold-over elastic. Once again, do not stretch the elastic as you sew it.
8. Stitch underarm seam from the underarm all the way to the hem, matching stripes as you go. A walking foot is helpful for matching the stripes. However, you can also baste them first by hand or by machine. You can also use fusible 1/4″ seam tape to fuse the stripes in place and keep the stripes from moving about as you sew. Some sewing machines have an adjustment for presser foot pressure, you may need to loosen it a bit so it doesn’t stretch the fabric and mess up your stripe matching as you work. My advice is to experiment with a piece of scrap striped fabric and see what works the best for you on your machine.
9. Hem the dress with 1 1/4″ blind hem. You can also stitch the hem by hand if you prefer.
You may notice that the dress in the photo has no side seam. I am a larger gal (size 20), so I didn’t want to remove the fabric and put a side seam in the dress which could create a tighter fitting dress than I wanted. For this dress, I decided to simply drape the dress on my dress form without a side seam and keep the looser fit.
I could take it in a bit, but I like how loose and comfortable it is. Sewing with knits is one of my favorite things to do. The end result is always so comfortable! I realize not everyone has a dress form, but this technique eliminates the need to match the stripes at the side.
Here’s my how-to video if you want to give draping a try:
Still looking for more sewing inspiration? Here are a few other posts you will also love:
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