What Do You Prefer, a Stress Ball or a Sewing Pattern?

Life’s been a bit of a roller coaster ride ’round these parts lately. I’ll spare you the details, but in the past month I’ve lost a dear family member, another is in the fight of her life after undergoing an organ transplant, and much less importantly, that pesky government shutdown has affected my livelihood.  Part of my coping strategy has been to keep on knitting and sewing, since working with my hands and being focused on a project tends to calm my mind and keep me feeling okay. Maybe I’m really just distracting myself, but I figure at least it’s a healthy distraction, right? Anyway, here’s the product of my latest efforts at stress reduction: a new knit dress.

Simplicity 1754

I’m excited that I managed to make another knit garment!  This time, though, I took it easy on myself and used a nice stable ponte knit (or double knit).  It was soo much easier to work with than swimsuit lycra, ha!

The fabric is from my LA haul.  I got it at Michael Levine, and I’ve really enjoyed working with it.  I sewed it up like a woven, except I used a ball point needle.
Simplicity 1754

The pattern is Simplicity 1754.  It’s not necessarily meant for knit fabrics, but the fabric suggestions included double knits, so I gave it a shot.

Simplicity 1754

You will notice that the line drawings are a bit different from my finished garment.  It’s designed to have princess seams from the shoulders to waist, and then open into pleats.

Simplicity 1754
Simplicity 1754

I hated the way the pleats looked though.  They landed at the wrong place and were stiff and poofy in the most unattractive way.  So, I simply stitched the pleats closed all the way to the hem.  Problem solved!
Simplicity 1754
Because this fabric stretches, I didn’t have to worry about adding a back slit, which was nice.
Simplicity 1754

I couldn’t figure out how to ease in the sleeve caps with this fabric, so I opted to make a tiny pleat at the top of the sleeve instead.
Simplicity 1754

I did a lapped zipper, completely by machine.  This was a first for me.  (I’ve always handpicked them before.)  It turned out okay, but I really wish I had added interfacing (or tried some fancy fusible knit stay tape) because the lap turned out a little wavy.

Simplicity 1754

As for the insides, I didn’t bother finishing most of the seams because the fabric doesn’t fray.  Not the pretty insides I usually aim for, but that’s okay. Simplicity 1754
Simplicity 1754

Also, for some reason my back neck facings don’t match up. The right one is shorter, which I don’t understand because they were cut the exact same size.  My theory is that it has something to do with the lapped zipper.  But I really have no idea, and I don’t have the energy to figure it out.
Simplicity 1754

In sum, this dress is a winner for me.  It wasn’t too difficult to make, kept me occupied for a few evenings, and now I’ve got a dress that’s as comfy as pajamas.  So, how about you, do you sew or knit through stressful times?
Simplicity 1754


29 thoughts on “What Do You Prefer, a Stress Ball or a Sewing Pattern?

  1. Aw, I’m so sorry to hear of your recent losses and bad news. I do hope that you are able to find strength with loved ones and be able to keep your head above water. I can relate as I’ve also been having a trying month. But, your dress!! Your dress is absolutely beautiful! I am so going to have to look into this ponte knit that all the cool kids seem to be talking about. I just finished two Diane Von Furstenberg knit dresses and one of the knits was so TRYING to work with that I really wanted to set it on fire before it was completed. I did complete it (it’s up on the blog), but I won’t work with that knit again. The ponte also looks so elegant and sophisticated. I usually picture knit dresses to be more casual and hard to pull off for a dressy occasion but this one totally fits the bill. Great colour too! I like how you made the pleats into princess seams. Very smart!

  2. I’m sorry for all the stress you’ve been going through, does it ever end… a part of life I guess. 😦

    You did a great job with this dress, you look beautiful wearing it. Sewing is a great stress buster, knitting too. The thing I like more about knitting though is the portability of it! 🙂

    Take care, G

  3. Sorry to hear about all the recent sadness. The dress looks really good and I like your alterations. I particularly like and noticed the stitching on the shoulder seams. Do you always do that? I really like it.

  4. It’s a gorgeous colour on you. I’m going through similar life challenges and I just keep reminding myself that things will get better and it’s just a case of keeping my chin up and cracking on.

  5. I really hope that things start to become better for you…life sometimes….ugh. It’s wonderful that you have sewing to relieve some stress. This dress is great, I think sewing down those pleats was a good move! Beautiful Marrie!

  6. Life is full of ups and downs, I find sewing can be a great stress reliever. I will either sew or go to bed and cover my head. Hang in there, things will get better or at least level out. Your dress looks great, so well made, and the color is perfect.

  7. My knitting is a stress reliever at the mo, simply because I’m not doing anything too complicated. The sewing on the other hand is much more complicated for me, so I have to wait for my mum to come back from holiday and hold my hand otherwise it will simply stress me out even more! Love your stuff, as always. Comfy and stylish is a wining combo!

  8. I love to plan projects when I am stressed — it’s a total distraction. I might even start executing the project, and then abandon it when the stress eases. In consequence, my sewing room looks like a knacker’s midden. Sorry for your troubles! Here is my mantra during these times: “When you’re going through Hell, keep going.”

  9. I’m so sorry you’re going through such a difficult time. I hope things look up soon. I think it’s great that you have sewing and knitting to keep your mind occupied during stressful times – I do the same. Your dress is fantastic, as usual, even without the finishing you usually do on the inside. So figure-flattering!

  10. This is such a beautiful dress, and it fits you so perfectly! I hope you’re really proud of it– it’s such a special dress! I’m so sorry to hear that things have been so tough lately. Here’s hoping you can find some comfort (and that this stupid shutdown ends quickly so that stress is over for you).

  11. The dress looks lovely! Such a pretty color for fall. Hopefully it cheered you up a bit – it sounds like you’re going through quite a lot at once. I’m furloughed as well, and keeping busy with sewing projects has definitely helped keep me from going stir crazy.

  12. I’m really sorry to hear of your loss, and hope the family member who had an organ transplant is doing well. Sewing is a great stress reliever… Your new dress is really lovely – stable ponte is a joy to sew, isn’t it!

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