Tuesday, June 2, 2015

5 tips for sewing with knit and my beginner pattern recommendations

I'm part of an amazing sewing group on Facebook. I recently asked what crafty/sewing skill we would all like to conquer. Given the diverse skills in the group, we all said different things. For me it was mastering free motion quilting which I'm doing a Craftsy class with Leah Day but honestly I think I need a few hours to just give it a go.

A couple of people mentioned they wanted to try sewing with knit. That was a challenge of gave myself a couple of years ago and I'm so glad I did. 

Ananda Pants

So I thought I would, share my top tips and also some of the patterns I have made for the kids.

1. Needles
You need to buy some stretch needles or ball point needles. I've bought some amazing all purpose needles from my Janome store and I absolutely love them. I don't have to worry about changing them back and forth. It took me a while before I tried using a double needle and I wish I had earlier. It gives such a professional finish to garments.

2. Overlocker / Serger
There are so many patterns that you can do with an overlocker and don't need to even pull out your machine. 

3. Stretch stitch
I'm fortunate to have a specific stitch on my machine - it's kinda link a lightening bolt. It allows for your knit material to stretch and come back. If you use a straight stitch it will break when you pull it over your head. An alternative is to use a narrow zig zag - or use your overlocker!

4. Starch and iron
If your knit fabric is curling at the edges there are a couple of things you can do. Using a good spray starch and ironing is a start. I have heard a trick with using hemming tape on hems or shoulder seams too. 

5. Give it a go
Finally - just do it. I've kinda just thrown myself at the knit caper. Bought different types of fabric and worked out what is best. Bought ribbing for cuffs and tried that. Then tried the same knit for narrow binding on necklines and so on. I've learnt so much from just giving it a go and also from trying  all different patterns. I seem to pick up something new from each indie pattern designer. 

I think my first ever knit garment!

I'm no expert but here is a few pattern reviews from clothes I've made that you might like to try. 

  • Twirl skirt - this was the first one I ever made if you are making for a little girl or yourself! 
  • Janey jumparound dress - not only do I love the name but this one is a freebie. I think there is actually a basic tshirt as an alternative too.
  • I've made a couple of Tumble Tees - both shirt and dress versions. Must update these for my growing girl. So great layered too.
  • Ananda pants - gosh I love these pants. Must make some more. I wish they came in an adult size!
  • Alex and Anna winter (and summer!) pjs - seriously the pattern I've made the most and due to make some more. My kids love them. 
  • The Treeclimber Hoodie and the Varsity Cowl are two great ones for winter and for boys!
  • Vintage vneck tshirt is a great one
  • While not strictly a knit pattern, you could use it for the commuter cowl or something similar. 
I have a few more I've used which I need to make again and take photos to share. I also have a few on my to-do list. Thanks goodness I have some holidays coming up!

I hope that has helped a little.
PJs - seriously how could you not love to make them!


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