Meridan Knit Dress

Sew To Grow is an Australian based pattern maker. I came across her designs with her famous Bondi Dress and Sydni Dress on Instagram. However, I really wanted to continue to explore sewing with knit fabrics. I had been hoping to find a dress that wasn’t a wrap dress or a T-Shirt dress which seems to be the most popular beginner pattern for knit. This is why I was so excited when I came across the Meridan Knit Dress. On the website, it’s described as a knit dress, “with the beginner in mind.” The design is quite classic with a fitted bodice attached to a straight skirt. It has variations with sleeve length, rounded or squared hemline and vee-neck or rounded neckline. It’s so great when you have so many variations in one pattern.

The pattern has very clear instructions to start with a toile so I decided to make a wearable toile. I’m glad for this advice because I think the type of knit fabric chosen could significantly impact the sizing. I was told early on in my sewing journey that the pattern is only a template and fitting the pattern is the skill that makes the outfit.

You can see in my toile that I chose to sew the size M as my measurements (B:37 W:33 H:38) were in the range but it was too big and I had to bring in my seams from 3/8 inch to 5/8 inch. I did not sew down a size because I felt that the fit around my neckline and bustline were comfortable and I didn’t want that tight feeling under the arm which can happen when you size down. Perhaps, if I had chosen a more stable knit fabric, there would be no need to change the seam size. A little customisation was made by shortening the elastic and only attaching the elastic to the back of the dress leaving the front flatter but gathered between the pockets.

The fabrics that I chose to sew the Meridan Knit dress were both Rayon Spandex. This fabric has great drape and is so lightweight and comfortable to wear. It’s also wrinkle free and won’t need ironing. I could not resist this beautiful Jocelyn Proust Design with beautiful honeyeater birds. Honeyeaters are frequent visitors in my garden and provide so much entertainment with their energetic flittering from branch to branch and lively chatter.

The instructions were very clear and concise in this pattern. There was some slight confusion on the order of the instructions like hemming the sleeves and skirt before attaching to the bodice. I realised later that this would have given a neater finish if I had done it this way. For efficiency, because I had to change to a twin needle for the hemming, I had left the hemming of sleeve and skirt to the end which worked out fine as well. The bias binding for the neckline stumped me a little but that’s down to my learning style as I’m a visual learner so I decided to sew a band method to finish the neckline which I was already familiar with and liked the look of. Luckily, if you need to, there are sew-along tutorials you can access if you subscribe as a Sew To Grow Club member (monthly fee applies for subscription) and there are a lot of free tutorials loaded onto the Sew To Grow site.

The Meridan Knit Dress was an enjoyable sew and knit fabric is a breeze to work with once you’ve got the hang of it. In fact, it seemed to take less and less time with my toile taking me a couple of days to complete and my last dress only taking me half a day to whip up!

I’ve been wearing them on repeat and have had so many people ask me where I bought my dress. It’s been so rewarding to be able to sew myself something as lovely as this dress and by the way, it has pockets!

Thanks for reading and happy sewing!

X Em

Comfi Lounge Set

This make was inspired purely by my much anticipated annual leave. I know that the lounge set trend came about because of people working from home but being a healthcare worker rules that out for me. So, all I’ve thought about was a couple of weeks of sitting home lounging, eating, napping, reading and lots of sewing. The weather has also helped as temperatures have dropped and rains have settled in. 

I chose to sew the Comfi Lounge Set as it’s a Pattern Scout Pattern and from past experience, all her patterns have been pure joy to sew. I do love a challenge when I sew, like doing a good puzzle, but in this case, I just wanted a relaxing, uncomplicated sew. It definitely turned out to be exactly that! A very easy, relaxing sew and it does exactly what it says on the tin. The guesswork for sizing and the choice of fabric is all taken care of. 

My husband is an avid supporter of my sewing hobby. He often comes along fabric shopping with me and was the one that spotted this pineapple print cotton jersey fabric.

Who can resist pineapple print?

I cut out and brought along the stretch ruler that Pattern Scout provided in the pattern instructions which made it so easy to pick the fabric especially if you’re new to knit fabrics as I am. I used this medium weight knit for the Comfi Lounge Pants and as a surprise for my husband, I also sewed up the pineapple print jersey as a sleep shirt for him (this is not included in the pattern, his shirt was self-drafted). For the Comfi Lounge Tee, I’ve sewn up the basic short sleeved tee version and I’ve used a lightweight stretchy white cotton spandex fabric. 

Instructions were great as usual and the size 12 was a perfect fit for my measurements. All seams were sewn up on my overlocker and the hems and sleeves were finished with twin needles. I’ve seen some beautiful versions of this pattern on Instagram and it’s definitely one that I’ll revisit. The next time I sew this, I’d love to play around with fabric choice.

On a side note, sewing this has been such a joy and in general, sewing is such a joyful pastime for me. It has also been fun (and funny) to document these makes along the way. I hope joy and creativity is something that everyone can make time for in their lives. Sewing and having a hobby is something that really contributes to my wellbeing. Hopefully, whatever you’re facing or doing, I hope you’re able to find some joy in it.

Thanks for reading and happy sewing!

X Em

The Jarrah Sweater

The Jarrah is a pattern by a beloved local Perth Designer Megan Nielsen and comes with so many options due to the fact that it’s a modular pattern. This allows you to mix and match the different bodice options with different neck band and sleeve options. This is such a feature with Megan Nielsen’s patterns as she offers many variations making her patterns such good value. I’ve now sewn the Jarrah pattern a few times producing a different look each time. The Jarrah is such a comfortable loose-fitting sweater. I also love how the look of the Jarrah changes depending on the fabric choice so I decided to explore this by making two versions. In the first version, using a fleece lined knit and a rayon spandex with the second. 

Both were sewn up in the Size 12 without any adjustments as these were the closest to my measurements. There is a lot of ease in the pattern so you could look at the finished measurements and size down for a narrower fit but I personally liked the generous give in the fit as it feels so comfortable and great for lounging in. For both versions, I had 1.5 meters of fabric which turned out very well. I did try to see if I could use less but had to take into account the direction of the stretch in the first version and the pattern placement in the second version. With the second version, I also needed some black ribbing. You don’t need much, about half a meter should be plenty.

The choice of the fleece lined knit was just right for a sweatshirt style sweater. The fleece I chose is smooth on the outer side and has a loose nap on the underside which is just so soft and plush. It will be so warm and soft to wear against the skin. The peach is a delicious pop of colour that I just couldn’t resist! Testing the stretch of the fleece, it has a tight stretch one way and is quite a stable knit. I made View B with the high-low hemline. It has an interesting curve along the hemline and is the longest option so very good to style with jeans or even activewear. 

The peach is a beautiful colour but it was difficult to find any ribbing to go with the colour so I had to make my own neckband. I did this by cutting a longer than needed strip of the same fabric along the stretch of the fabric. You could also cut along the bias to make it stretchier, however, I felt that it had enough stretch without doing that. I then measured the band against the neckline and subtracted about 20% in the neckband so it could give some tension to the neckline and sit flush when worn. 

To finish the cuffs and hem, I used a twin needle. The cuffs were easy to sew up but it was a bit trickier with the curved hemline. I found it hard to pin the thick fabric especially going around curves so I used some quilter’s tape. Also, a word of warning when you first start sewing with twin needles, go slowly! I was chugging along full speed and didn’t notice the thread getting tangled and broke the needle. Luckily the sharp part was still attached to the thread. It really made me consider getting some safety goggles for my sewing.

The second sweater I made was with the Jocelyn Proust Magpie Printed Rayon Spandex Fabric. This is currently exclusive to Spotlight Stores. Jocelyn Proust designs are so recognizable for the Australiana flora and fauna featured in her designs. I love the unique call of the Magpie bird so I fell in love with this design straight away. 

The rayon spandex knit is a very soft drapey fabric and has amazing stretch recovery. It has quite a luxurious feel and although I’m making it for my winter wardrobe, I think this fabric is also quite good for summer. The look I wanted was a long-sleeved cropped blouse sweater so I used View A. Cropped sweaters were all the rage in the 80s so I thought it would be fun to recreate that look. I used black ribbing for the neckline and cuffs and to recreate the cropped look without exposing my belly button. I doubled the height of the hem cuff and shortened the width so it would cinch in the fabric at the waist. 

This time, everything was sewn up using only the overlocker. It was incredibly fast doing it this way. I worried about the strength of the seams but after testing a bit of off-cut fabric I felt that the stitches held very well. However, I’m very inexperienced with knit fabric so please don’t take my word for it. Personally, I felt that for the speed and convenience, I was happy to take the risk of sewing up with the overlocker.

The Jarrah is such a versatile pattern and it was fun playing around with all the options. I made my first Jarrah a year ago and I know it will be one of my “tried and true” patterns. It has also been an interesting exercise coming back to a pattern that I made at the start of my sewing journey. I feel that I’ve made huge progress and the finishes, although not perfect, are getting so much better.

Thanks for reading and happy sewing!

X Em