Thursday, 1 August 2013

sewing with Knits

 Finally, I have had a go at sewing with knits. I've been dressmaking as long as I can remember - dresses, skirts, shorts, even my own wedding dress!, but I've never sewn with knits before.
Sometime last year I bought the Craftsy class Sewing with Knits

I've watched it several times over, but never actually practised what I watched......until now. The trigger was a visit to Stratford upon Avon with a friend, where we came upon a lovely little sewing shop Sew Me Something. It's only tiny, and we didn't have long to browse, but  low down in a corner I spotted some organic cotton knit jersey. How wonderful! I bought 2 metres on the spot without any idea of what I was going to make with it, and made a good mental note of what colours they had for future reference.
So now it was time to put the class viewing into practise.
I didn't want to use my precious organic cotton for my first attempt so I found some knit jersey with the right amount of stretch in my local John Lewis.
It isn't cotton though, it's viscose, and I have to say I wouldn't buy viscose again. It was slippery to work with and I don't really like the feel of it against my skin.
I made the scoop neck T shirt, which is the second project in the class.
I had to buy a few new tools or notions that were recommended.
First, some ballpoint pins:

Regular pins would make holes in the knit fabric. These were easy to find.They stocked them in John Lewis and I also saw them in Sew Me Something in Stratford.

Also I needed some transparent elastic to reinforce the shoulder seams.

I managed to find this, but it was slightly wider than recommended. I shall continue to look for some that is a little narrower.

Finally, I needed a twin needle for sewing machine in order to get the nice double row of stretch stitching along the bottom and sleeve hems.

This I managed to find online from a Bernina sewing machine specialist.
I thoroughly enjoyed following the class.  Cutting out the fabric was probably the hardest part because it was so slippery. It took a long time to make sure the pattern pieces were exactly along the line of the wales in the fabric, but it was worth the effort.
I have an overlocker machine, so sewing the seams was easy. Yes, I have to confess, I've had it for several years, and only used it for neatening seams. (I'm sure I'm not alone in that!).
Sewing the neck band in place was not quite so easy. At the first attempt I decided it was a teeny bit too loose, so I shortened it and then it puckered very slightly, right at the front of the scoop.

It doesn't really show when I'm wearing it, but I've learned not to meddle too much next time!!

Having now made a basic T shirt, I feel confident enough to use my organic cotton and start adding my own design elements to future T shirt makes. I'm think cuffs and button tabs on the sleeves, raw edge rolled finishes on the neck band, pockets and cotton lace inserts.

It certainly isn't cheaper to make your own T, but it's a lot more fun!!

I totally recommend this class if you are considering branching out into sewing with knits. Meg McElwee is a lovely teacher. She fills you with confidence and inspires you to have a go. The detailed stages are easy to follow and I learned a lot about the different types of knit fabrics that are available.
I shall definitely be buying a lot more knit fabric (hopefully organic!) in the future.

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  1. Your T shirt is lovely! I agree.....sometimes it's just more fun to make something rather than buy it!

  2. Nice work! I'm impressed, and a little scared, by that twin needle!

  3. Very well made. I bought a similar pattern recently and found some lovely material. Now I just have to use both at the same time.....!!

  4. You are soooooo clever, Julie - lovely work :)


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