This is the post in which I show you pictures of Kate's funny costumes, and then in the next post, I'll share with you what I know about, and do with, knits.
First, here's my inspiration photo- this was a page in one of Kate's books:
This is Kate's Strawberry Shortcake suit: a shameless copy.
All the fabrics in it are knits - so the whole outfit is soft, stretchy and comfortable and can be pulled on over the head by Kate herself, so I don't have to help her get dressed.
It's a two-piece: the top is a short A-line dress with a layered hem and a gathered skirt.
It has puff sleeves layered over - but not sewn onto - regular long inner sleeves.
The strawberry applique was done in fleece.
The bottom is a pair of pants with a smooth knit waistband like these.
The only thing I feel a great need to change is the strawberry hull attachment to the neckline.
It stretches along with the rest of the ribbed neckline to pop over Kate's head, but this also makes the hull segments pop up.
Looking at it, I know now how to cut the neck curve so it sits better the next time around, not that I forsee making another of these. For this particular suit, though, I'll just hand-stitch it down in spots so it lies flat.
This is the Blueberry Muffin suit:
and an identical pair of pants:
This is also an A-line dress, but with just the gathered skirt and no layered hem.
It has a square neckline, with ribbing and a pale blue insert, like the book illustration,
and layered sleeves like the Strawberry Shortcake suit.
I used a combination of different kinds of knits - T-shirt knit (only two-way stretch) for the pants, solid interlock, pile knit (the ones with the polka dots), and ribbing. I buy my knits from various places, including Joann Fabrics, Mill End Textiles and online stores, but I much prefer to be able to touch and stretch them before I buy them.
What you see here is the pre-wash fit i.e. I didn't pre-shrink the fabrics before sewing with them. This is a bizarre personal preference, but I like sewing with knits before I wash them. It minimizes some of the edge rolling, and odd distortions that are peculiar to certain types of knits. I lay out and cut my patterns from the snug-fit slopers with no fitting ease at all. After the first wash (and therefore a little shrinkage), the fit is usually just right all around - a teeny bit more snug than for a woven garment, but perfect for a knit one. In the next post, I'll mention something about the stretch factor of a knit fabric and the more orthodox methods of determining how to draft patterns for knit fabrics. These are certainly more systematic than my no-prewash-and-no-ease approach.
While I was sewing these outfits, it occurred to me to pay attention to what I was actually doing with the knits so I could write some kind of tutorial on working with these lovely, stretchy fabrics. That's coming up in the next post!