Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Sewing with Knits

 At the start of the year I said one of my goals for 2014 was to make more of my own clothes. I bought plenty of fabric the other week, so it was definitely time to make a start on my spring and summer wardrobe. The thing is though, 90% of what I wear is made with knitted fabric. So if this goal is to be achieved, I have to embrace sewing with knits!

I made my first foray into the world of knits last summer when I made a T shirt. I followed the Craftsy class Sewing with Knits. It's a great class, which I totally recommend, and I had no problems making my Tshirt at all. The problems were with the fit and my choice of fabric. I now know I don't like viscose jersey. I only like cotton jersey!! Also the scoop neck was too wide and low for my small frame and, to be honest, although I wore it a few times last year, I know it won't be part of my wardrobe this summer.

The fit issue is one I'm going to encounter regularly. I'm a have a very short waist and narrow shoulders  and always end up having to do considerable alteration to any pattern. I decided a few weeks ago that the solution was to learn how to draft my own patterns.
I purchased this book and with the help of my son's girlfriend, I took all the necessary measurements.

Add a roll of craft paper and a curvy roll and I was all set. The book gives very clear instructions on how to draft your own pattern and I soon had a basic T shirt front, back and sleeves.

I know I could have probably ended up at the same place by just drawing round a favourite shirt, but I want to understand the process so I can apply it to more complicated garments.

My first attempt at the sewing didn't go well. I used cheap jersey fabric and my overlocker. Apart from last summer's T shirt, I normally just use my overlocker to neaten seams. I don't really feel in control of it for tricky fabric or tight curves and I ended up getting fabric caught in the seam and chopped into by the blade! It is reparable, but for now it is sulking at the back of a cupboard.

So this is attempt no. 2 and all is going well so far.

I'm using a good quality jersey fabric. I'm also using the overlock stitch on my regular Bernina sewing machine rather than the overlocker. That way I can take it slow and it doesn't cut off the seam allowance, so I can unpick and re-sew if necessary.
It isn't finished yet, so there's plenty of time for more disasters, but Dolly is happy enough modelling it for me tonight. Yes, I've named my dress form Dolly, as in Dolly Daydream, because, you know what? that's all she does all day - day dream! She's been in my craft room about a month now, and she's not lifted a finger to help! - perhaps now she's got some clothes, she'll contribute to the proceedings a bit more
Here's hoping it's me wearing the T shirt soon, not her!

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  1. Glad to see your persevering! And I think you've done brilliantly to draft your own pattern. It will be worth it to have an accurate pattern. I think you need to put Dolly to work soon!!!

  2. Brilliant, Julie! Enjoy your new wardrobe.

  3. amazing Julie. A whole new world opens up to you :-)


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