The relaxed but quirky retro feel of the Bella Dress pattern drew my eye in and I decided to try Bella in a lighter weight jersey than the pattern envelope suggested, so that it would be more suited to spring and summer wear. The fabric I chose is a navy and white striped viscose/polyester/elastane jersey from FC Fabric Studio. It’s a lovely weight and washes well (and the price is amazing too!).
I retained the bust darts – as this way I didn’t need to modify the pattern pieces – but didn’t use the vertical darts in the dress front and back. Sewing the darts with a lightning bolt stitch gave a smooth finish whilst allowing some stretch.
Thanks to the stretchiness of the fabric no zip was needed. All of this made for a very speedy dress and I completed most of the sewing in an hour or so.
I now use my conventional sewing machine (a Janome CXL301) for knits as it handles them so well but value the speed and finish that using an overlocker gives. The seams were worked with a 4-thread overlock stitch and the hems with a 4mm twin needle (for which I find it helps to lower the tension to reduce tunnelling of the fabric between the stitching lines).
This dress has already become a wardrobe staple and I’ll be making more, perhaps including some shorter versions to wear as tops or tunics. It’s cosy over jeans for chilly spring days or with leggings as secret pyjamas! It feels as if I’m picking up something of the current trend for interesting sleeves without them being annoying to wear, which makes me very happy.
Eleanor blogs at https://nelnanandnora.wordpress.com/