Attention, MeFi Sewers and Seamstresses!
September 21, 2011 6:21 PM Subscribe
Attention, MeFi Sewers and Seamstresses! Please help with advice for altering a knitted dress.
posted by UniversityNomad to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (16 answers total)
I just bought a Neiman Marcus cashmere dress on Ebay for a steal of a price (yay!). It's gorgeously soft, warm enough for my imminent move to cold climes, and - surprisingly - fits my body pretty much perfectly (yay!). Unfortunately, at the moment, the overall effect of the dress is very nun-like, since it's not only a somber charcoal gray, but also has long sleeves and a hem at the ankle (not so yay...).
I'd like to wear the dress, and in order to make the dress appropriate, I've decided to alter the it rather than join a religious order. Basically, I'd like to shorten the sleeves from full length to 3/4 length, and to shorten the hem from ankle-length to somewhere between just below the knee and mid-calf. There are two issues:
1. Issue one is the fact that the dress is knit rather than woven fabric or anything similar. I've actually worked a lot with felted wool and felted cashmere (which seem to me basically to function as woven, for all intents and purposes, since they don't fray or stretch). The knit aspect of this dress, and the potential for unravelling, is freaking me out. Since the dress fits pretty much perfectly right now, I'm loathe to shrink/felt it. Any idea how I can shorten the sleeves and hem of a knit garment without unravelling and ruining the whole thing? Also helpful would be more general tips/tricks for sewing on knits without getting puckering etc; I've read some on Google but would love to hear your personal hacks and tips. I haven't really worked with knits before because they scare me!
2. The second issue is that there's a ribbed trim on the bottom hem and sleeve end that I'd really like to preserve when I shorten things. I'm not sure if this is possible, or if I'm dipping my hand too far into the figurative cookie jar...
I'm a reasonably-competent beginner at basic sewing (I can make Halloween costumes and clothing from patterns), although it's mostly self-taught and I'm very admittedly no whiz kid. I've never used seam tape (I think that's the right item...), but perhaps that might be a way into this problem? For reference, in case it matters: I'm working on a 800-series Bernina from the 1970s, which is awesome and sturdy, but can't do anything fancy or automatic, and has no computerized snazzy features to help me. So low-tech solutions, sewing machine-wise, would be especially welcome. I'm very low on cash, but if you feel this is an obvious take-it-to-the-tailor situation, obviously please be straight up with me. Sewers and Seamstresses on the Green, lend me your opinions, ideas, and expertise!