Today is our first “how to” article in a new planned teaching blog series!  This series will be an ongoing “how-to” where we share our library of tips and tricks (ones that we wish we had known when we started) that will change the way you sew! You know those “Ah-ha!” moments where it all clicks and your project comes together easily and effortlessly? Most of the time those well deserved moments come from putting in the time and doing the research, right? Well, we’re doing that for you. Because for most of us, sewing is a hobby, and it isn’t meant to be frustrating. Stay with us during this series, and you’ll have the know how to make your sewing easier, quicker and more enjoyable. Your end result will look spectacular. People will just assume you bought that. What?! You made that? Oh yes, yes I MADE THAT!

So we’ve been all about the knits here at Violette Field Threads lately. Last week Emily shared her Top 5 Reasons to Overcome your Fear of Knit.  This past weekend, the Gretchen Cardigan was our $5.00 special and we are pleased to say we have even more fun with knit planned for this week!!

Who doesn’t love a knit/woven dress combo? You get the best of both worlds; the comfort of a knit bodice and the gorgeous pleathera of prints available in woven. There’s only one issue. How to attach knit and woven and make it look GOOD.  Well, today is the day! We’re teaching you how to do it. That’s right, no more wobbly, wonky seams. No more lettuce curled edges. We are talking flat, professional seams. We’ll demonstrate this method by modifying two of our knit sewing patterns, Phoebe and Elise.

Elise PDF Pattern  Phoebe PDF Pattern

To start, you’ll want to choose either Phoebe or Elise to use as your base. You can choose either, but since you’re going to want to sew 10 of these for your child, we recommend sewing both. They’re both beginner friendly, easy to customize and just perfect for this project.  

Choose the Bodice Pattern:

 The Elise Top can be sewn with an optional bib and ruffle, which allows you to mix and match to create endless looks.  The bib can also be left off for a classic look. The sleeves available are long, short or even sleeveless. The neck features a scoop neck and there is an adorable easy key hole closure in the back.

Elise Bodice Detail

 The Phoebe Top has an optional gathered front bodice with a sweet boat-neck shape.  The sleeves are ¾ with gathered ruffle cuffs.  We love to use lace in place of the ruffles!

Phoebe Bodice Detail

 NOTE: To create a Phoebe that does not have a gathered front, simply use the bodice lining for both the main and the lining, it works perfect!!

 Now that you have chosen your pattern base, lets get started!

 Cutting the Skirt:

We have put together a chart of average skirt measurements to add to the knit bodices. These are averages, and you may find that you need to add or subtract an inch or so depending on your child.


 3/8 lightweight clear elastic 

*Dritz sells this elastic in a 5 yard pack that is labeled “Specialty”. Most commonly, it is used in swimwear/aerobic wear, but it is also very useful in stabilizing seams in knit garments. 

Prepare the Bodice:

1. Shorten the bodice. The bodice for both the Elise and Phoebe need to be shortened. The best way to know where to shorten them is to hold the bodice front pattern piece up to your child and measure down the side seam until you are right above the belly button and draw a line.  The raw edge of the bodice should hit right above the belly button. Cut the pattern piece off at this line.  Measure the bodice back by the same amount and cut.

2. Sew the bodice and sleeves together as instructed in the Elise or Phoebe tutorial.

Tutorial pic 1

3. You will now be using your elastic!  Open the package up and bring both the elastic and the bodice over to your serger or if you don’t have a serger, you can use your sewing machine.

tutorial pic 2

4. Working on the wrong side of the fabric, line up the clear elastic with the bottom raw edge of the bodice. Serge or zig-zag stitch the clear elastic to the bodice. Make sure the elastic and the bottom raw edge stay lined up all the way around and also make sure your blade is off if you are using your serger. Serge the elastic all the way around. Do not stretch the bodice or the elastic as you serge the two together. 

 tutorial pic 3  tutorial pic 4 

5. The bodice is now ready for the skirt to be attached, set aside.

Prepare the Skirt:

6. Place the skirt front and back together with the right sides touching and the raw edges lining up.  Pin together along the short side edges.  Sew along the pinned seams. For a professional look, serge or trim off ½ of the seam allowance and finish the seams with a zig-zag stitch. Iron the seams flat.

7. Hem the bottom raw edge.  Turn the bottom raw edge up ¼” and iron flat. Now turn it up another ½” and iron flat. Sew around the ironed hem.

8. Sew one row of gathering stitches along the top raw edge using a ¼” seam allowance. Gather the skirt up until it is the same width around as the bodice.

9. Place the bodice on top of the gathered skirt with the right sides touching. Line up the side seams, and adjust the gathers if necessary.  Pin or clip the skirt to the bodice.

10. Sew along the pinned seam using a 3/8” seam allowance. We typically use a ½” seam allowance, but you’ll need to use a smaller allowance since we won’t be trimming the seam allowance. The elastic is only 3/8” wide and we don’t want to trim any of it off! Finish the seam with a serger or finish with a zig-zag stitch. Iron the seam allowance up towards the bodice. 

tutorial pic 6You have created a strong and wobble free seam!  This method is just brilliant! It is so easy and now even with washing the seam will not weaken. 

 You can now either leave the seam as is or add a topstitch using either a double needle or stretch stitch.  We also love the look of sewing a sash onto the bodice.  You can sew the sash so that is ties in the back or on the front to the side as we did!

Phoebe Mashup 1 phoebe mashup 2

 Now is your chance to be creative!  Add hem ruffles, lace cuffs, waist sashes, crochet trims or decorative buttons.  These dresses are fun and addictive, plus kids LOVE knit bodice dresses.  They are perfect for the park, playground or even for dressing up.

Thank you so much to Megan Miles of Little Londyn for sharing her beautiful Elise dress with us!

Elise Mashup 1  Elise Mashup 2

Do you plan to make one?  Well stay tuned because starting tomorrow we will have a $5.00 weekend special to help get you started!  We would love to see your creations, so please share them with us on our Violette Field Threads FB Page!

Phoebe Mashup 4  phoebe mashup 5

Mashup Phoebe Knit landscape

Phoebe bunny fabric

Did you enjoy this article?  If so, please let us know below. Do you have an idea for a VFT Sewing Tips blog article, we would love to hear it below as well.


Ericka & Jessica

October 08, 2015 by Ericka Wright