Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Uptown/Downtown Dress, Sewing Knits Without a Walking Foot, and a Little Known Tip from a Facebook Friend

I never sew anything that doesn't present an opportunity to learn something new! I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed and came across a pattern testing call from a wonderful designer, Terri Olson of TerriLin Collections. She just made her first pattern, the sweet little Uptown/Downtown dress! 

I felt this was a perfect dress to help me try out knits. I didn't get it perfect, but I think the dress still turned out great. Read to the end for some little known tips I learned in sewing groups that I will employ next time. 

So here is what I did!

First of all, I laid out my fabric. Her fabric layout requires that you fold both selvedges in toward the center. I am a grainline freak because I have worn lots of twisty clothes and refuse to sew any! So I painstakingly measured from the fold to the selvedge in several places to make sure that they were parallel. And laid out my pattern to cut. Then I was frustrated so I left the rest for the next day. 

So.... The next day...

I started pinning to sew. I practiced lots on my scraps. I tried running the fabric through the machine all willy nilly. It didn't work. The seam curled. I put tissue paper beneath, but I had bunching in front of the presser foot and that caused stretching and puckers. All bad!! 

So, I lined up my fabric evenly with as little stretching as possible. 

I cut a piece of tissue paper big enough to cover the seam. 

I put tissue paper on top and bottom of each seam. I sandwiched my fabric right between two pieces of tissue paper. 

I trimmed the tissue paper to the edge of the fabric so I had a nice even edge to line up with the lines on my sewing machine.  (Notice I pushed the pins down.)

After finishing all the shoulder seams (these are shoulder seams), I took the fabric (and tissue paper) to the sewing machine and sewed. The fabric didn't bunch up or pucker at all! And without a concerted effort and exerted strength (that would have probably broken my needle), that fabric wasn't stretching while I sewed!!

Et voila!!

I took off the tissue paper. 

Perfect seams, no walking foot!

Just in an effort to be honest, it is simple but time consuming. Check out the neckline! Looks like a medieval instrument of torture!! But I did the exact same thing. I laid the tissue over and under the fabric flat. I cut the tissue to the curve. 

But it turned out fairly nicely. It could have been better, but more on that later. 

The dress is nearly done. I am glad that I didn't hem it as my niece is quite tall and I will be adding a panel to the bottom of this dress to make it longer. It will be something like View A of this McCall's pattern I have been wanting to make forever!

Anyway, here is the almost finished dress!

It hit the knee on my niece unhemmed, but my sister wants it longer so I will be doing a brown contrast band at the bottom. 

Next time, I will let my fabric rest between the folding and pinning, and between the pinning and cutting. This is like working with bias fabric because it stretches. Handle it as little as possible. 

I had some issues in my cutting. So I pleated out the extra.

I have lots of bulk in the shoulders. Any tips on reducing it will be greatly appreciated!

Stay tuned for how I go about adding the contrast panel at the bottom and how I go about hemming. 

If you love the TerriLinn Collections Uptown/Downtown Dress, you can buy the pattern here in her Etsy Store:

The pattern is available in sizes 2T through 10. This pattern can go from play dress to formal dress by simply changing the fabric! I will be making many more of these in my future!! 

I thought I should mention that I tested this pattern and so it was free for me, but my opinions are still my own. I really do think this dress is cute!!

Update: Here are some more tips on sewing knit fabric.

Second Update (7/24/14): The name and link to the Etsy shop have changed. Here is the new link:


  1. Good job. Thanks for all the info. Very helpful.

    1. Thank you for the compliment and you're welcome for the info.