For my first Cali & Co. Blog Sewing Project, I was challenged to find fabric that I didn’t already have in my stash! Seriously. I eventually chose this white cotton netting. It’s available in a few different colors – yellow, burgundy, purple, dark green, but I tend to buy green and purple often (my style icon is apparently the Riddler), so I went with white for a change. I decided to use a charcoal bamboo knit as a lining. (Side note: this bamboo knit is gorgeous. It is such high quality and I want more of it!)
The original plan was a maxi dress, something that looks great on those who can pull it off. I’m not one of them, but I always insist on trying. I used McCalls 7386, a “Learn to Sew for Fun!” pattern because I liked the fitted shape of the maxi. However, I came to my senses before I started cutting and ended up making the knee length version instead – yawn. So, it’s a basic tank dress, but I didn’t want to overwork the fabric seeing as how there were 2 layers and all.
The tank dress is underlined, so the charcoal knit and white netting are treated as a single layer of fabric. I even basted them together to make construction go smoothly.
The next question was how to finish the neckline and armholes. The pattern has you turn down and fold under, but I hate a turned-down finish on a neckline with a knit. I didn’t want to use a band because I wanted the netting to go to the edge, and it was too bulky to do a typical binding. What I ended up doing was just cut a long strip of the knit, serge it to the neckline, trimmed it, and turned it to the back and topstitched – like a binding but a single layer, not folded. It’s not quite as neat on the inside, but it turned out well on the outside, and it’s a knit so fraying isn’t an issue.
My serger handled this easily – all of the main seams are serged. Topstitching the neck and armholes was a little tricky on the machine, it helped to keep one hand sort of gently pulling the fabric along, because the netting has variable topography and it can get stuck at times. The hem is serged and turned under and stitched. And that’s it!
And I like it – I was worried I might look like a doily, or a sustainably-caught dolphin-safe tuna, but I think it’s cute!
Notes on the netting: it does have some stretch, however if you stretch it to its limits, you will distort the pattern, and that may not be the look you’re going for. Something to keep in mind.
Since I didn’t make a maxi, I had leftover fabric! I decided to make a lined pencil skirt. The pattern was Pamela’s Magic Pencil Skirt, which I’ve made at least a dozen times. I cut the gray lining version much shorter and left the netting long for a peekaboo look. The lining hangs freely inside, the two layers are serged together at the waistband to some 1 ½” Fantastic Elastic, and that’s basically it!
I had to cut the back with a center seam to make it all fit, and experimented briefly with how to finish the seams since they’d be visible in this version. In the end I preferred the look of the machine vs the serger, and I used a zig-zag stitch and trimmed the SA close to the stitching.
It’s not invisible, but I don’t care. If you’re close enough to see my seam allowances, you’re too close!! Bottom line, you could sew this fabric with or without a serger. The bottom edge of the netting is just trimmed, not finished – it doesn’t seem like it will fray.
This netting was fun and mildly challenging to work with! It would work as a beach cover-up, you could sew it into bell bottoms and wear them to Coachella….lot of options!