Sunday, 2 March 2014

I'm Learning to Sew with "Knits"! (You know, t-shirts and stuff)

T-shirt sewed by Cicely Ingleside

This is a post I had originally planned last August - I'm kind of behind on my posting. For whatever reason, I had a hard time getting decent photos of these t-shirts, even though I had at least two photo sessions. So you will see photos taken randomly over the course of the last 8 months. So, no my kids have not been growing at weirdly fast rates or anything. Just to clarify.

I decided last summer to try sewing with "knits" - that is, stretchy t-shirt material.  (This is different than non-stretchy wovens, like quilting cotton.) I was nervous about this, as it is supposed to be trickier, and I read a lot of blog posts with tips on sewing with knits. Although I haven't found it too much more difficult so far. (Definitely easier than sewing with slippery satiny fabrics.) What the advice basically boils down to is:
1) Use a 'ball-point' or 'stretch' needle in your machine
2) Sew with a zig-zag stitch on your machine, or use a serger.

If you are looking for more detailed advice, you can check out my Pinterest board here, which has links to a number of blog posts that involve tips on sewing with knits. (There is a lot of other stuff on that Pinterest board too; just check out the ones that mention knits.)

Here is the first knit thing I sewed:
T-shirt sewed by Cicely Ingleside

The super-cute polka dot cotton jersey is from the Etsy shop Land of Oh. I have bought from them a few times now and am always impressed. The prints are cute and the material is good quality. I'm not a big fan of synthetics, and they have a good selection of cotton knits.

The pattern I used was the popular Flashback Skinny T by Made by Rae. I think I may have extended the short arm option by adding cuffs.  Now, the pattern calls for using ribbed knit material for the collar and cuffs, but I wanted to use the contrasting polka dot material I had, which was not  ribbed. It didn't occur to me that a rib knit would have some more stretch and the collar measurement would therefore be smaller. I realised the hard way after sewing on my material that if I don't use a rib, I will need to lengthen the piece. Okay, so now I know that.

Next I sewed this:
T-shirt sewed by Cicely Ingleside

The (very flourescent!) orange striped material is also from Land of Oh. The pattern I used was the Go To Signature Dress by Go To Patterns, cut to the tunic option. It is a very versatile pattern, with many options. This version has shirring at the back with elastic thread. Yes, she is wearing shorts underneath. I told you I had trouble getting good pictures.

Next, I sewed some Recess Raglans (pattern by See Kate Sew). And I learned that a raglan shoulder is angled like a baseball-style T, while a traditional t-shirt (like the Flashback Skinny T above) shoulder is straight up and down.

T-shirt sewed by Cicely Ingleside
Mr. N. in a Recess Raglan
I really like this style. The cute adorable raindrop fabric is from Kitschy Coo. It is an organic cotton by Lillestoff, as is the floral cotton for my daughter's raglan (below). The cuffs and collar of both shirts are made with a cotton rib knit from Land of Oh. So, yes, I went and bought some rib knit. Very glad I did.

T-shirt sewed by Cicely Ingleside
And finally, I have for you more cute Lillestoff fabric, made into a dress using Kitschy Coo's Skater Dress pattern:

Snow White Skater dress sewed by Cicely Ingleside

For this dress, I got up the courage to try my "double needle".  This can be used to sew two straight lines on the front of your fabric whie it zigzags on the back, so can be used for hemming knits instead of a zig zag stitich. Look how much better it looks: (At least on my machine, which has a quite ugly and non-width-adjustable zig-zag stitch.)

T-shirt sewed by Cicely Ingleside
Ugly zig-zag stitch at neck

Snow White Skater dress sewed by Cicely Ingleside
Nice red double lines from the double needle

It turned out not to be hard to use the double needle at all. I watched this 3 minute tutorial that my sister sent me. All you do is put the double needle into your machine like a regular needle, then put two spools of thread on top, thread them through the machine as if they were one, until you get to the needles where you put one thread in each needle. Super simple.

Overall, I am very happy I tried sewing with knits and will definitely be doing much more. It's easy, and makes comfortable, practical clothes.

One last shot of the Snow White Skater Dress:
Snow White Skater dress sewed by Cicely Ingleside

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