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Guestpost: Sewing with Knits

Are you scared of knits? Shani will help you with this blogpost….. Do not forget to read untill the end for a surprise…..

For this guest post I will be talking about sewing with knits. Most people are intimidated by knit fabric but there is no need to be. You must challenge yourself and start off slowly just as we do with anything new in the world of sewing. Any new technique or fabric that is introduced to you is scary, but the strength to test yourself is what will lead you to become a great seamstress, sewer, dressmaker, whatever you may call yourself.

My name is Shani and I have been sewing for about 5 years now. I started off as another novice, learning to sew on my own with the help of books, the internet, and other seamstresses. I found myself needing to sewing, wanting to sew because I had my first child. She is a tall and skinny little princess that just couldn’t fit in store bought clothing. My second child is no different. I now believe myself to be an expert seamstress and have grown into having a true addiction to sewing children’s clothing. I write for the blog Shani Sews.

For this post we will review the Omni Tempore Children’s pattern from Sofilantjes. This little garment comes with options. You can construct the garment using an overlapping collar or hoodie, a front pocket, and short or long sleeves, cuffed or hemmed. The pattern is available in sizes 12 months to 14 years old, and even comes in an adult version.

For this blog we will be focusing on the fabric itself. I will help you get over the fear of working with this versatile textile. Below are some bullet points to remember anytime you are sewing with knits:

  • Use a walking foot; this foot allows the layers of fabric to glide as you sew. (a teflon foot also helps, but a i prefer a walking foot)

    This is what a walking foot looks like in the machine. These can be purchased online or through your local hobby store.

  • Take your time tracing the pattern pieces; knits are very very flexible and even the end of a pen, pencil, or chalk can shift and tug the fabric. (I use large hardware washers to weigh done the pattern onto the fabric and it helps prevent any shifting)
  • Use the proper needle for jersey and stretch fabrics. (using the incorrect needle can damage the fabric and riddle it with holes)

  • Start stitching SLOWLY
  • There are multiple stitch types you can use for knits. If you do not have a serger (most beginners) use a zigzag stitch or a straight stitch at a larger length to sew. I recommend setting the straight stitch length to 4.0 or larger.

  • DO NOT STRETCH the fabric as you sew, unless you are instructed to do so (i.e. collars, cuffs, waistbands)
  • ***pay attention to the stretch direction indicated by the pattern pieces. This will ensure that the garment will fit correctly (some designs need you fabric to stretch in one direction and not another)
  • ***Note what type of stretch fabric is recommended for the specific garment, as well as percentage of stretch. Different knits drape, stretch, and bounce back differently.
  • Use lots of pins

  • ***I recommend that if this is your first time sewing a garment in knit fabric to start with a medium or medium to heavy weight knit like french terry or sweatshirt knit (not sweater knit). Thinner fabrics like ITY and light-weight jersey knits roll and may be too much to handle as a beginner.

I made my children’s Omni Tempore in size 5 for my tall princess using a lightweight sweatshirt knit. I got this beautiful fabric from a source I found on a social media site. This fabric is gorgeous. It is a nice weight, perfect for a sweater. It is not too heavy so it will not make my little one feel stuffy and not to light so it will serve it’s purpose as a sweater. (Refer to page 3 for fabric recommendations.)

I chose to make the Omni Tempore with a hood and long sleeves but no pocket. If I made it with the pocket I probably would have doubled the layers for the pocket to make it more stable because my daughter fills her pockets all the time. When adding the sleeves, sleeve cuffs, and waistband you will have to ease the sleeves, cuffs, and waistband out a bit. That means you will have to stretch them just a bit and pin in place. Do not stretch the bodice of the garment. What I do for these steps is pin the center sides of the sleeves, cuffs, and waistband to the garment centers and side, then I ease (stretch slightly) the spaces between the pins and add more pins. I use a straight stitch with the length set to 4.5 to sew the garment up first. This allows me to obey the seam allowance set in the pattern. I then go through a finish the seams with my serger to give it a clean and professional look. (Refer to page 6 for stitch recommendations.)

 

Visit my blog Shani Sews to view my recent blog posts for a chart defining the differences in knit fabrics and sources I use for Knit Fabrics.

Please visit the Sofilantjes Blog page to read other Guest Blog posts following the schedule below.

October 7: Understitching

Adventures with Bubba and Bug
October 19: How to add pockets to a dress

Heart made by Suzy

November 2: How to adjust to skinny or plus size

Boutique Birdie

November 16: Shirring

Shani Sews

December 7: How to mash up patterns

Tales of a Tester

December 21: Sewing with knits

Shani Sews

January 8: Sewing on the perfect binding

Droomstoffen

January 14: How to make your on bias tape

Boevenbende

Febuary 1: French seams

Winingwife

Feburary 14: Handstitching the right way

Sprouting Jube Jube

March 7: How to alter a pattern

Deka Wear

Thank you again for a great post Shani!

Would you like to sew the Omni Tempore pattern? Enter the Giveaway and win!

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6 thoughts on “Guestpost: Sewing with Knits

  1. Thank you so much for the great tips! I’ve been sewing for 33 years, and learn new things all the time!

  2. I am new to sewing with knits. Attempted the hemlock t shirt by Grainline studios last week on my new serger and ended up with something that is not even fit for using as a dust cloth!!!
    As you suggested I think I will sew with my machine and then just finish the seams with the serger. Might end up with a few less holes!
    Iain.ross30 at gmail dot com

  3. I sew with knits from time to time. It is a very love/hate relationship depending on the project. I am getting better with practice though

  4. Great post. I have been sewing with knits for years and love them.

  5. I love knits but can never handle them in a nice way.
    I do have a walking foot; will try play around with next time I do knits 🙂

  6. Thank you for wonderful tips on sewing knits!

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