Oh, how I adore all the beautiful patterns by Violette Field Threads! They are timeless classics, however, most of the styles are made for woven fabrics. Often you need to include a lining, closures etc. With knit fabrics, you can omit all these extra steps because they stretch. This saves you a lot of time and requires considerably less fabric, too.
Today I would like to show you how you can make the bestselling VFT Luna dress with fewer steps and with just half a metre/yard of knit fabric (this works up to size 5). For this blog post, I used our pretty Cora's Dream Unicorns fabric. A premium Euro knit, it is very soft and has a beautiful drape. I am using the same size as I would for the original pattern in woven. If you have a petite child, choose one size down when working in knits. Let's get started!
#1 You will only need to cut out or trace three pattern pieces, the bodice front, back and pockets. The skirt pieces will be rectangular pieces, more on that in a minute. For this knit version we will work with a facing to achieve a neat neckline finish.
#2 The pattern pieces for the neckline facing are very easy to make. Simply take your bodice front and bodice back pieces and trace the facing onto another piece of paper. I used a width of 5cm/2" to make the facing.
#3 Time to cut out your fabric! Cut one bodice front, one bodice back on the fold, one of each neckline facings, two pockets and two skirt pieces. Knit fabrics gather differently than woven fabrics, they can be somewhat heavier when gathering. Hence I recommend reducing the width of the rectangular skirt pieces. A good rule of thumb is to multiply the bottom of the bodice front/back by 1.5. This will give you a decent gather for knit fabrics. If you are after a fuller look, multiply by 1.7 which I chose for this dress.
#4 Start with the construction of the bodice. Mark the centre of the bodice front, back and the two facings with a disappearing ink pen or a tiny notch.
#5 Close the shoulder seam of the front and back bodice with right sides facing. I will be using a seam allowance of 0.7cm (5/8") throughout the process as I am using an overlocker for my knit fabrics. The sleeve and skirt hem is done with a 1.5cm (1/2") seam allowance. Press the shoulder seam towards the back. Fold over the seam allowance (here 1.5cm) for what will be the sleeve hem, steam press.
#6 With right sides facing, sew up the short sides of the two facing pieces. Use a straight stitch on your regular sewing machine for this, seam allowance is 0.7cm (5/8") here too, because you need to match it to the bodice.
#7 Press open the seam to achieve a smooth finish. Overlock/serge all around the outer facing. When you reach one corner, do not clip the threads, just run a couple of centimetres longer, lift the presser foot and turn your fabric 90deg to continue along the next side. This way, you will get a continuous line. We secure the thread ends later, do not clip them off yet.
#8 Attach the facing to the bodice neckline, right sides facing. Make sure to align the centre markings and match up the shoulder seams of both pieces.
#9 To attach the facing to the neckline, it is best to use your regular sewing machine. Choose a stretch stitch like a small zig-zag and sew all around the neckline with the facing upwards. Use a 0.7cm seam allowance. The Luna pattern calls for a bigger seam allowance when sewing in woven because of the non-stretch nature of the fabric. However, I find especially for petite girls the neckline is too wide like this. Your call, depending on the head size of your little darling!
#10 Now comes a nifty little trick which you can apply to any kind of sewing where you need to achieve sharp corners! In every corner, sew a couple of straight stitches to soften the 90deg angle. Carefully clip a tiny notch into this corner without touching the stitches. This will help you turn the right sides out.
#11 Understitch the seam allowance to the facing to prevent the facing from rolling out. Steam press well.
#12 For a properly set facing that does not move about when playing, stitch down the facing to the bodice with wrong sides up. Use a slightly longer straight stitch as if you were top-stitching. Make sure to match the bobbin thread to the colour of your fabric. If you prefer not to do this, blind stitch within the shoulder seam to secure the facing to the bodice.
#13 The bodice looks like this now, almost done!
#14 Now it is time to close the side seams of the bodice. Turn it wrong side out and use some clips to align the two short sides.
#15 The side seams are too short to use the overlocker, so your regular machine will work best here. You can choose a small zig-zag stitch if you like, I opted for a "fake" overlock stitch here. Knit fabrics do not fray, so you do not have to worry about neatening the seam. That's it, your bodice is finished but for the sleeve hem. You can hem this now, I prefer to wait until I hem the skirt later.
#16 Time for the pockets! A very handy helper here is double-sided sewing tape, sometimes called wondertape. It will dissolve with the first wash. Using this makes applying the Luna pockets easy peasy! Place some tape all around the edges, it is flexible enough to mould around the pocket curve.
#17 Remove the wrapper and fold over once. Press down with your fingers first, press with your iron to keep it securely in place. It looks like this now.
#18 Stitch down the curved line of the pockets only at this point. I chose to use a decorative stitch to match my fabric. Use any stitch you like, except a straight stitch as it might pop if the young lady is tugging too much at her pockets.
#19 Out comes the wondertape again. Put it along the folded straight sides of the pockets. Remove the wrapper and carefully place it onto your front skirt rectangular piece, lining up the top and sides. Stitch them into place using the same stitch as for the curved sides.
#20 Gather the skirt rectangles to the width of the bodice. Do not gather at the pockets, just in between and toward the sides.
#21 Match up the skirt pieces right sides facing and overlock/serge the side seams.
#22 Time to attach the bodice to the skirt. Place the bodice inside the skirt, so that right sides are facing each other. Match up the centre front/ back and side seams. Secure with clips and overlock/serge all the way around.
#23 Turn the dress right side out and remove all the gathering threads. All that is left to do is to hem the sleeves and the skirt now. You can use a zig-zag stitch, a decorative stitch etc. For some more tips on how to hem knits, have a look at our Beginner's Guide. I am using my coverstitch machine for the hem.
#24 Voila, your Violette Fields Threads Luna in knit is finished!
I hope you liked this tutorial and found some helpful tips in here. I am contemplating turning this "How to make VFT xyz in knit" into a little series, what do you think? Leave me a comment below, and it would be fabulous if you would share this blog post 😊!