Knit dress, 2003

Machine knitting sounds nice and easy. Actually, it's far from that.

It is something that can go mysteriously wrong any moment, without any apparent reason. The first school courses I spent trying to understand what it was all about, but suddenly, by the final course, I got excited about it enough to begin a madly ambitious project. I had a vision of a baby blue dress  with 1920's feeling of very fine, lacy fancy knit in a fine yarn. It had to be lined, of course, and I wanted a fitted lining, no easy jersey thing. All very fine as far as it was the time to figure out the pattern for the knitting...
I had quite a battle of iron wills with the knitting machine, and learned among other things that a fine woollen yarn requires a more gentle touch than the heavier ones I had mainly previously worked with. Finally, after unraveling what I had done a few times and beginning again I managed to get the pieces out of the machine without a yarn breaking somewhere. Then they were dampened and pinned flat so that they would stay in the right shape and proportions when dry again. Among other tricks I used I put shoulder pads under the knit in the place where my breasts would be to stretch the knit to fit better.

Pieces of chiffon, cut in diamond shape with rounded corners are attached in the hem of the lining. Hemming them was another challenge, after trying several methods I finally turned them narrowly, sewing a very narrow zig zag over the turned edge at the same time, and then cutting extra allowance off. They had to be cut very carefully, and I often cut amiss, so that according to my calculations only about half of pieces I had cut ended up gaining my approval and ending up in the dress. Luckily I had lots of the chiffon. Thin materials are known to be my Achilles heel.

The dress eventually faced a sad and  premature faith. After finishing it in October or so, I put it in my closet to wait  for May and my graduation day, when I had decided to wear it. During the long winter months the knit, being of wool and thus living a life of its own shrank somehow in length, so that the edge of the lining was revealed. It did not help any that I had had gained a few kilos. The lining had some seam allowances, but since the knit was already too short there was not much to be done, though I tried all I could with steam and ironing. I did wear the dress on my graduation day, but have never worn it since, because I never got back to the weight I was when making it. And to tell the truth, a slim one-piece dress is not really the most flattering thing for my figure (the picture is taken from a flattering angle), there are reasons for favouring corsets and full skirts...

In my closet the dress still looks very beautiful, though.

<< Back to the project page