A Sweater Knit Dress you can sew in a afternoon

IMG_6854At this time of year, I find it so easy to dress in cozy knit tops and dresses. So, I find myself reaching for sweater knits rather than wovens for my sewing projects.

Sweater knits used to be so hard to find! I’d spend hours in the fabric stores and shopping online looking for the perfect textures and colors. I’m pleased to say that isn’t the case anymore. I find great sweater knits at my local stores as well at Joann’s. In fact, it’s hard to resist the many options that are available when you’re sweater knit fanatic like me!


This sweater knit was such a find at Joann’s. It’s stretchy with a fun texture that makes it look almost as interesting as a hand-knit piece. Sweater knits can have a tendency to unravel, but if you finish your seams with a serger or knit stitch on your machine, it’s usually pretty manageable. I also love Dritz Fray Check as another option for double insurance when the going gets tough.


This pattern is an old favorite (made here), McCalls 7243 that has a dramatic collar that makes it a cut above the usual knit dress pattern.

2017 was the year of the sleeve for me. 2018 might turn out to be the year of the collar as I’m so crazy about patterns with dramatic collars and necklines right now. Before cutting my fabric, I was careful to check the stretch of the fabric against the stretch gauge on the pattern envelop. This knit fabric had a very forgiving crosswise stretch so I was careful to lay out my pattern to take advantage of that in the bodice and sleeves. It’s a snug fitting pattern and if you choose a stable knit, it might be a tight fit.

This pattern is pretty easy going, in spite of the unusual collar. The collar is large though, so even the short tunic top version takes 1 and 5/8 yards of fabric! That being said, I think the look it gives is worth it.  I was able to make this in only a couple of hours, using a combination of my regular sewing machine and my serger. It’s so comfortable to wear, and I’m inspired now to make the sleeveless version for spring!

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Here, I’m wearing it with leggings because it’s pretty yucky outside. But I’ll switch to tights as the weather warms.

I’m off to do some fabric shopping this week in San Francisco with a friend that’s as crazy about fabric as I am (trouble!!) and I’ll be posting my finds on Instagram :). I’m happy to say that it’s been months since I shopped so my stash rule (two pieces must be sewn from my stash for every one piece I buy) will be easy to honor as I’m way ahead at this point!!! Because of my RTW fast, other shopping will be limited to shoes, but that’s okay because I have a couple of new knit makes to help me resist. I think I’ll be able to resist even more if I sew a bit more with a plan, maybe even take on the wardrobe challenge/contest Pattern Review is sponsering this spring. Curious what challenges/contests you all are planning on this year?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!


29 thoughts on “A Sweater Knit Dress you can sew in a afternoon

  1. Ooh, I spotted this pattern yesterday and loved the look of it. I can’t deny I’m tempted. I love your version so much! What fabulous fabric too. In fact, if you didn’t live on a different continent I’d be over to steal it 🙂

  2. That dress is adorable! I must have missed that pattern in the catalog. I love big collars too! Now adding it to my pattern list to buy.

  3. Wonderful looking dress, that fabric is divine and very warm looking-pattern on my to buy list now too so thanks for sharing it with us.

  4. Oh wow, this is gorgeous! I would never have thought you could make such a fancy frock out of sweater knit fabric. You look great!

  5. As with almost everything you make, it turns out I already have that pattern in my stash! I think we are quite like-minded in that regard. Your lovely version convinces me to just make it, for pete’s sake! Have a great time in SF. I am jealous. 🙂

    1. So nice to meet a kindred spirit! My pattern stash grows every time Joann’s has a sale:) this one is a keeper! I hope you’ll Let me know how yours turns out!

  6. Another beautiful make Elle! I love this dress especially in that textured sweater-knit. You must have some gorgeous fabrics in that stash of yours! 🙂 This is another example of a pattern that I missed (perhaps the picture on the front wasn’t that inspiring?) but seeing it on you definitely tempts me EXCEPT I do have SO many patterns AND fabric in my stash I just can’t justify another buy now. I’m on a serious fast this year – I did join the RTW 2018 Fast with Sarah Gunn which won’t be all that difficult for me to be honest. I’ve added to that however a fast on fabric, patterns AND shoes 🙂 So far the RTW has been easy but patterns!! (I bought one off Etsy – a Louise Cutting Design that I couldn’t resist) and I did buy some knit fabric at a Thrift Shop for practice runs which I do need. I hate making anything that I haven’t had a practice run at first. Setting goals however is good because it does raise our awareness. A few times I actually put things in my online basket and then emptied it realizing I couldn’t buy it!

    1. Thanks! Yes my sweater stash is extensive! So glad you’re on the RTW fast too, I am really enjoying the Facebook group! Hope you’ll post your lovely makes there?

    2. I’m thinking I should add patterns and fabric to the RTWfast too! But I’m also thinking maybe just an organizing/clean out along with goals like you say here may be better. I’m so easily swayed by the beautiful makes you see on blogs, Instagram and FB. OK should we add shoes??? One think I love is knowing we are of like minds!

      1. I thought about fasting on patterns too, but then decided that would take some of the fun out of sewing, you know? I do love falling the trends just a little so I need a new pattern or two to keep up!

      1. You’re welcome, Elle! And wow, that is lucky!! 🙂 Sweater knit fabrics can be tough to find here in Canada, too, especially ones that are nice. The fabric used for this dress was perfect!

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