Picking Knits

Turner with gored skirt and pockets
black knit t-shirt dress (Cashmerette Turner)

So a few Saturdays ago, I woke up with one burning idea: I needed to hack the Cashmerette Turner dress to have a six-gore skirt with patch-ish pockets.

Why? No earthly idea. If it were the beforetimes, I’d at least have the excuse of frequent air travel, but at this point I haven’t been on a plane since February of 2020. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

This is my second shot at the Turner—I made a wearable muslin a while back just to kick the tires, so to speak. It was so easy to put together (and fit so well, with minimal adjustments) that I thought “huh, how can I make this more difficult?”

But even splitting up the skirt and adding on-gore pockets can’t overcomplicate the Turner. It’s SUCH a fast sew—I think I spent more time winding stretch thread on bobbins and remembering how to use my twin needle setup than I did actually putting it together. It definitely took me more time to trace and hack the pattern than it did to construct this dress!

This fabric is thick (think old-style Hanes Beefy-T, heavier than jersey) knit cotton with some lycra or spandex in it; it has a nice recovery. (It was on super-sale at Cali Fabrics, so of course it’s not available anymore.) There are some drag lines in the picture above, but that’s mostly because my dress form is a bit small now (it broke and is no longer adjustable, or, rather, I am more adjustable than it is, although over a longer time period).

When I make this again (and I probably will, if I can find the right fabric … it would be cute in a lightweight sweatshirting which I’m pretty sure I already have in my stash) I have some further hacks … the pockets would be better if they started a bit higher on the inner edge, or I might play with having them integrated into the gore instead of on top. I meant to reinforce the side seams along the pocket seams with some clear elastic, but I ran out after the waistband, so it will have to wait until I buy some more. The skirt could also be shortened by a few inches (I don’t mind the longer length, but I don’t really need it, either).

The heavy knit means it’s not very staticky (my main complaint about jersey knit dresses; evidently I have an electric personality which results in clingy, shocky knits), and it hangs nicely. It’s also very comfortable (I mean, why wouldn’t it be? It’s a giant t-shirt with pockets!)

Turner bodice
The neck binding here is some knit binding I had that miraculously was the same tone
Turner pocket (with errant thread)
a better look at the pocket (and the thread I didn’t clip yet)
Turner hem
the double-needle hem (I stiffened the hem with knit fusible interfacing cut in 2″ strips)

I definitely feel late to the ‘sewing knits is great’ party. I don’t wear a lot of t-shirts so the gateway project of “make a custom tee” never caught my eye. And until recently, I didn’t have a rotary cutting mat big enough for my cutting table, so cutting knits was always fraught—I always seemed to pull them out of grain when cutting with scissors. And the revelation that is stretch sewing thread! (Kids, come onto my lawn, I need to tell you about how I used to have to wind bobbins uphill, in the snow, both ways!)

Also, the knits available for home sewing have gotten a LOT better, especially for natural-fiber snobs like me. (I remember walking through the fabric store touching knits and hating the scratchy, oily, slippery hand of everything I could afford.) The prints are better now too, she said, at the end of a post about a plain black dress.

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