And yep, I will wear it!

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Summer Sundress (although it’s more of a warm-but-not-too-hot-weather-sundress)

Pattern: my own
Yarn: Southwest Trading Company “Beyond”, 100% thick and thin cotton, discontinued, 10 skeins; bit of my handspun silk
Needles: Denise, various sizes
Finished: August 5, 2007

So I finally got up off my butt to finish this one, which has been sitting on the back of my desk chair since I wore it out a while ago (perhaps Amy’s party at the store?) and the straps stretched. This weekend I finally detached one end of each strap, cut off a good two inches, and sewed them back on. They’re pretty good now, and they’ve already stretched out from the last time, but I think I’ll sew some ribbon behind the straps just in case.

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Here’s how I did this one up, it’s real easy! I decided to hold the yarn double for the bodice, to give thicker fabric (more holding-in-ness) and so it would be opaque – this yarn is way thinner than the 5 sts per inch the ballband claimed! I got 4.5 sts per inch with the yarn doubled. Then I decided how long I wanted the bodice to be (I think it was 14 inches), multipled by my gauge, and cast on provisionally. I knit in stockinette, straight, until the bodice was long enough to go around me – I did two inches less than my full bust measurement to account for stretching and for a snug-ish fit. Then I grafted the ends together to make a tube.

For the skirt, I first picked up stitches along one end of the tube – one stitch for each row, since in this case, flaring would be a good thing! I think it was something like 215 stitches. I put the picked-up sts on a holder and cast on provisionally for the skirt, the same number of stitches, in a single strand of yarn on 3.75 mm needles. I knit the skirt in the round, with a few hip increases before I realized I wouldn’t have enough yarn to finish the whole skirt at that gauge. I decided to flare the skirt by changing needle sizes – I think I used four of the balls for the skirt, so I went up a needle size or two every time I changed skeins.

When I got to near the end of the last skein, I decided it wasn’t long enough, and that’s why I added the couple inches of handspun silk before casting off very loosely and ruffley-like. It’s the perfect length now. After casting off the skirt, I went back and did a three-needle bind off with the top of the skirt and the picked-up stitches on the bottom of the bodice for a strong, neat seam.

I did a few rounds of single crochet around the top of the bodice to pull it in a touch, then just did straight seed stitch rectangles for the straps and sewed them on. Voila, a knit dress! The actual knitting was quite quick.

The yarn was a bit of a bitch to knit with – it’s a knitted tube with slubs every little while. It was horrible to graft with. On the plus side, it did have massive yardage, which is what made this all possible – it was 250+ yards per 50 g skein! And I got it off elann for super cheap, so the total cost of the dress was less than $30!

The dress is super comfy, and I really like the way it came out. It’s pretty flattering, as well. I’m not overly worried about sagging or the like; I have multiple knit skirts and haven’t really noticed that problem much with any of them (you might be able to tell I’m a knit skirt advocate!). At any rate, the skirt doesn’t really hug the butt that tightly, more just skims over it because of the construction. And it’s reversible, so I can switch which side is the front for more even wearing.

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It’s a little warm to wear this right now (sticky, horrible heatwave) but I think it’ll be perfect in a few weeks when it starts to cool down and gets to maybe 20-24 degrees C (ummm…68-mid seventies F?) during the daytime. And in the winter, perhaps I shall wear it as a jumper, with a long sleeved tee underneath and kick-ass knee high boots!

35 Responses to “FO: yep, it’s a knit dress”

  1. Cassie

    Delurking here. The dress looks fantastic, well done. And the design is elegantly simple. You really have a gift for it.

    Reply
  2. Ellen L.

    Wow!
    The band of silk at the bottom is a stroke of genius – the colors harmonize so well.
    Great use of sale yarn, too – my favorite kind of project!

    Reply
  3. alyson

    So cute! I think this is the first knit dress I’ve seen that looks completely wearable. (They’re normally attractive, but I always wonder if a knit dress is more of a process knitter’s dream and not so much something you’d really wear to a party. This is so adorable and party-ready!)

    Reply
  4. Sherri

    I can’t believe you have the attention span to finish a whole dress! Looks great though – congrats :-0)

    Reply
  5. christen

    how in the great wide world are you able to do all this? when i started reading you, you were at school too!

    amazing.

    i love this dress. i’m still hoping to finish my skirt before the summer ends – my biggest project so far.

    it looks wonderful. i love it. :) nice work.

    Reply
  6. Susanne

    Wow, that is fantastic…so just to make sure I understand, after picking up the stitches around the bottom of the bodice (the actual “side” of the knitting),for the skirt.. you ALSO did a 3 needle bind off, even though the bodice was ALREADY attached to the knitting of the skirt??
    Sorry, but that is a great dress and I might want to try something similar for one of my slender daughters!

    Reply
  7. Hanna

    What a lovely design – clever, efficient, and super cute. How very impressive! You are definitely helping to change my mind about knit skirts and dresses…

    Reply
  8. Rachel

    Am generally opposed to knit skirts and dresses as a rule, but that looks fantastic on you! Very inspiring…I might have to give this a shot, m’self.

    Reply
  9. Carey

    That looks awesome! And if you hadn’t mentioned that you added the silk because you were running out of yarn, I would’ve thought you’d planned it that way!

    One question, though… any reason you didn’t do the bodice in the round?

    Reply
  10. loopylulu

    very nice dress. it fits you so well! i like to judge knitted dresses by how the back hangs and you really did a good job with that part. bravo!

    Reply
  11. Robin

    Lovely! The dress is really flattering on you and I think it would great with a t-shirt underneath. Such a nice way to show off some of your handspun yarn as well.

    Reply
  12. Erin

    Loved this one when you wore it to Amy’s party too! It’s really pretty, both colour (& handspun bits) and the fit. Really like it!

    Reply
  13. Debbie

    Hi Laura!

    Very flattering design and I really like the color! The silk ruffle on the bottom gives the dress weight/balance and a little “kick!”

    I am amazed how quickly you knit and finish your projects!

    Happy Knitting!

    Reply
  14. Wanda

    That’s a great combo Laura, it looks really good on you. Love the silk on the bottom too.

    Reply
  15. Thalia

    The outfit is adorable! My question for you: for those of us who look like we are smuggling squirrels when we wear snug knit skirts – is something like this possible for me? Is the secret in the snug gauge and A-line?

    Reply
  16. Bad Hippie

    Holy cow, that is amazing! Would you consider writing up a formal pattern for us newbies who are a bit scared to wing it?

    If I could finish something like that, it would be my coup de grace. I’d wear it every week – and then demand to be buried in it.

    AMAZING!!

    Reply
  17. Seanna Lea

    Beautiful! It looks like it would also work with the Bamboo yarn from SWTC as well. Maybe after I’ve finished something else.

    Reply
  18. Emy

    Coming in very late to post…this dress is inspiring and definitely a simple project that I can get the gals started on! :)

    Reply

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