Sunday, November 15, 2015

Learning to sew with Knit fabric

Up until now, I've only ever made one knit garment. That was a year ago, and the end result was not so wearable. It was due entirely to myself, my impatience to figure out where things went wrong sewing with knits, and finally, the fact that I had all those lovely patterns using woven fabrics waiting for me.

So now, a year later, with more sewing experience under my belt as well as spending the time to research and understand what I need to do to sew successfully with knits, I was chomping at the bit. I had stashed up a few pieces of knit fabric that I got on sale through the year so I decided to dive in and had 4 projects cut out. Here are the results:

The first one is the Lark Tee by Grainline Studio.  This is the boatneck version. This was definitely a good first knit garment to attempt - no neck binding! You just turn it over and stitch it down. It fits well and I wore it for two days straight after making it. (I'm wearing it now as I type this!)

The second is another Lark tee but with a scoop neck.  The neckband binding came into play here and it turned out OK! It looks good on the outside. I'm still trying to figure out how to neaten it up more on the inside. 
The third one is the Linden sweatshirt (View B) from Grainline Studio as well. 
All three tops fit really well. I can always trust Jen to get it right!  The only thing I changed for the Lark tees was to shorten the length of the body by about 4 inches.  I just like my tee shirts on the shorter side.

The last one is the Weekend Doris Dress by Jeanette of the Lazy Seamstress.  It is a very mod-ish style and really cute and comfy.

The width at the elbows is tight so I will probably end up making it into a short sleeve, without the cuff. I'll make it wider next time as well as lengthening the dress by a few inches. Right now it's more a tunic. I really like it though.

Overall, I am really pleased how things turned out this time and am somewhat in love with how comfy knits are! The knit fabrics I am using are all Art Gallery knits and they are quite yummy.

Here are the things I learned that helped me this time around sewing with knits:
  • I used an overlocker/serger to do all the seaming except for anything in the round (e.g. neckline). I found I needed to adjust the differential feed in order to get a seam that would lie flat instead of wavy. (I didn't do this last time.)
  • I used the sewing machine to do the neckband. I don't know how to sew "in the round" on the serger. Also, the sewing machine gives me more control in smaller areas. I played with different specialty stitches but at the end of the day, a narrow zig zag seemed to do the job just fine.
  • I used all-purpose thread this time for my sewing machine when sewing with knits.
  • [edited to add] Almost forgot - most important is the walking foot attachment for my sewing machine!
I have a few more knit garments I want to sew, a long sleeve Linden sweatshirt being one of them! It's getting chilly here!

If you have any additional tips for sewing with knits, I would love to hear about them. Thanks for stopping by!

11 comments:

  1. They all look great! I'm so impressed that you can sew knits now. That's a real skill!

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    1. Thanks Margaret! Little by little I'm learning more sewing skills! Hope to do that with knitting soon.

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  2. Congratulations - you have finally entered the wonderful world of sewing with knits! I like all your garments especially the mod Doris dress. You are now ready to sew a Coco!

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    1. Thanks Caroline, that was exactly what I was thinking - a Coco! I did drop by a local store to look for a paper pattern but they were out of it. Will wait a bit longer for one.

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  3. A useful book to have is Sew U Home Stretch (Guide to Sewing Knit Fabrics) by Wendy Mullin.

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    1. Ahh, good to know. I shall check that out at the library. Thanks!

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  4. They all look lovely, I especially like the arrow print! Overlocking in the round is just a case of going round until you meet the beginning and then overlapping slightly before tailing off. I always use a zig zag stitch for top stitching, as it never causes trouble and looks pretty neat! I like to go for the no fuss option with knits ;-)

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    1. Thanks for the tips, Marilla. I guess it's the usual case of practicing and getting comfortable with new techniques!

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  5. I always wondered if sewing on knit fabrics was a lot different than regular cotton fabric, Melissa. Whatever you did, they all look great! Sounds like you've found a new "favorite shirt" in that first finish :)

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  6. Well done , these are so much better than my first attempts at knit fabric. As you have found yourself practice makes perfect. I feel reasonably confident with knits now. I agree with the walking foot being a must especially if the fabric is delicate. I also lower the pressure on the presser foot too.

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  7. Sewing with knit fabric is something that I have always avoided after a failed attempt. But back then I only had an old sewing machine without walking foot. And no overlock machine. You were doing great trying again and the results are fantastic.

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