Better than Basic Black Tee

Do you ever make up a sewing pattern in a knit even though it’s meant for woven, non-stretch fabrics? I have started to notice that I have a habit of doing that! (Here’s one example of where I did that in the past.) It has worked well for me, which must be why I keep doing it, but I find it’s a substitute that is best suited for certain types of knits and certain types of patterns. These are the guidelines that I generally follow:

  • Patterns: Most patterns can be adapted to work with a knit fabric, but I would not try to make a pattern that needs a lot of structure from a knit fabric. Also, you may need to make the pattern in a different, probably smaller, size than you normally would because you need less ease with knits.
  • Fabrics: I gravitate towards using medium to heavy weight knits, such as ponte and double knits, because they more closely mimic the way woven fabrics hold their shape.
  • Adaptations: It’s important to do a little advance planning when you decide to use a different fabric than what’s recommended. Often, it’s possible to leave off closures like zippers. Or it might be necessary to use a different type of interfacing or seam finishes than the pattern instructions recommend. It’s a good idea to test these things out first.

Here’s a recent project where making the switch from woven to knit fabric worked beautifully.


When I bought this black knit off the remnant table, I wasn’t sure what it would become, but I think I picked a good style for the drape and weight of this fabric. The pattern is Simplicity 1879, view B, from the Lisette collection. (If you’ve ever seen the Oliver & S pattern line design by Liesl Gibson, you should check out this line of patterns from Simplicity. I want to make them all!) I did have to shorten the sleeves because I was short on fabric, but other than that I made no changes. I made my usual size and followed all the instructions, which were well written. I love how the neckline yoke and the sleeves connect to the bodice. It’s very flattering.


Design/Pattern: Simplicity 1879, view B

Materials: black mystery knit, black bias tape, matching thread


  • serged seams
  • gathered bodice
  • double-stitched hems
  • raglan sleeves

Alterations/Changes: shortened the sleeve length


I’ve called this top “better than basic” because it’s just as comfortable and simple to throw on with anything as a black t-shirt is, but it’s got a more unique style. It goes great with jeans for an everyday, casual look or with a skirt and scarf for a more dressed up look. I’ve wanted to wear this top immediately after it’s been washed, which is a good sign it fits perfectly into my wardrobe. I’m looking forward to coming up with great outfits centered around this new black tee.


Red & White Medallions Dress

Summer break is here, which means a few things. First, I’ll have more time to sew and post projects and thoughts here. Second, it’s hot out. And third, it’s time for some new summer dresses! This one was a breeze to make up and to wear to a little shindig that kicked off the start of summer break.

There is very little shaping with this dress design. There are a few gathers at the neckline, but other than that it’s very straight and simple until you get to the flounce at the bottom. This shape is somewhat new for me. I tend to make dresses with some sort of shaping at the waist. However, I love this new dress and plan on making other dresses with a similar silhouette.

Design/Pattern: Simplicity 1879, view A (minus the sleeves and back yoke pieces)


  • red & white medallion printed cotton voile from JoAnn’s, part of the Lissette line
  • white cotton voile for lining
  • white double fold bias tape
  • matching thread


  • French seams
  • finished upper edges & made shoulder straps with double fold bias tape
  • machine rolled narrow hem


  • omit sleeves and back yoke from Simplicity 1879 pattern, view A
  • add a lining, for opacity

This is a grade A dress, I think. It fits nicely, is comfortable and is a unique new style for me. At first, I was afraid I had made it a size too small, but I think it was just the extreme heat we’re having that makes all clothing feel too tight. I’m sure I’ll wear it often throughout the summer. In my opinion, it’s perfect for everyday wear or for a fun summer date.