I just finished a big project in the last few days, which has lead to my mind wandering around thinking of what to start next. Often at the end of a big slow project I like a quick win as a little pick-me-up to get the engines firing. And I think I am heading to some knit sewing. So I thought I'd share with you why I think sewing with knit fabric is so awesome.
I have been involved in crafty circles for a long time and am often talking about sewing/knitting/quilting. And what I hear is that many other crafters say knit fabric makes them nervous as it looks kinda tricky or that they don't have the right equipment (eg. overlocker) to do it properly. To that I say piffle - one of the main things I love about it is it's simplicity. I agree there is a little bit of an art to making it look great rather than super homemade (which is where Sophie's Sewing with Knits class comes in) but I guess I want to show you just what you can do if you take the time (or class) to learn a few basics.
In the interests of full disclosure I should say upfront that I have never owned a working overlocker nor do I have a coverstitch machine. And also that my mum was a Knitwit sewing teacher when I was little which is why I don't have the "sewing with knits" fear. It's not because I am naturally fearless.
So again with the lists....
Why I love sewing with knits
1. It is so easy and quick
Knit sewing means that you don't have to finish your seams as the fabric doesn't fray. It means that you don't have to hem if you don't want to. I generally also don't bother to pin unless I am working with a curve. All this saves so much time!
Based on some of the photo's I have posted on this blog you might be thinking I am a careful seamstress. Knit sewing is where I let it all go. Slapdash is a word that could often be applied to my knit sewing - however the great thing about it is that it is really hard to tell.
2. Knit sewing is great for kid clothes
Kids like to be comfortable. Leggings, tshirts, shorts, pyjamas - all of these can be made incredibly quickly using knit fabric. A kid's tee takes about an hour's sewing time....
3. Knit sewing is flexible and forgiving - fudge away people!
To state the obvious - because the fabric is stretch then there is more flexibility in the fit. I made my small boy shorts that have fitted him from when he was 3 till now - he is 7. I got four years out of 20 minutes work. The last tee I made for me - when I realised it was a bit big I just took in the sides until I was happy and cut off the excess. Not something you can easily do with woven fabrics.
A great example of how forgiving stretch sewing can be would be the last pair of knit kids shorts I made for my little fella to wear to school. I generally make these out of my partners old tshirts and they involve four seams in total - FOUR seams!! One for each leg, one joining the two legs and then the fourth seam is to make the casing for the elastic. I don't even bother to hem them which means that they take 30minutes total to make. And while I can hear you saying "what a laaazy crafter", I would shoot back a "they only last a couple of months before he has put another hole in them therefore hemming seems like overkill".....y'know?
Anyway back to my story. Last pair of shorts I accidentally sewed the two legs pieces together in totally the wrong way. Because it was stretch fabric, and it only had a 1cm seam, rather than unpicking I just cut off the seam. And it made no difference at all.
4. You can make things that fit you in fabrics you really like.
I often find that tshirts and tops I buy from the shops stretch out of shape as the quality of the fabric isn't that great, even from good stores. With stores like Tessuti and the Fabric Store in our capital cities, some great local fabric stores, and online shops like Kelani**, all stocking stunning knit fabrics, you can make something you will love in beautiful good quality fabric. And you can make it to fit. In the time it takes to go to the shops to look for the perfect striped tshirt you need, you can have whipped one up.
**Elissa has got the most gorgeous organic knit fabric in at the moment!!
5. Once you have the basics there is nothing to it.
It is simple sewing at it's best. The kind for when you need a quick win or you only have an hour or your girl child desperately needs a new skirt by tomorrow in red for her special day at school.
I thought I would finish up with some resources and an idea....
There are great patterns for women. These are just a small sample.
- Darling Ranges Briar
- Tessuti's new Boat Neck tee*** plus their old school freestyle tee
- Tessuti's Anita Ponti Pant
- Grainline's Hemlock tee
- Sewaholic's Renfrew top
- Kitschy Coo's Lady Skater Dress
- Skirt As A Top's Scoop Neck Tee
And for kids have a look at these.
***while you are there have a look at their other patterns. I love their new Suzy Pant - such a great shape.
An Idea for Monday
I really want you to get how easy this type of sewing is. So I've come up with an idea - as I have a science degree I thought we could do a little experiment. I have an hour or two on Monday so I thought I would make the Grainline Hemlock tee in a piece of gorgeous Tessuti stretch cotton and give you "live" photo updates on instagram and facebook as I did it. Just so you could see how quick it is to whip up your own knit garments.
I've already mentioned it in the post but just in case you didn't hear the shameless plug I thought I would let you know that there is still some space in Sophie's Sewing with Knits class. If you fancy coming to a weekend crafting retreat that is. At the end of the class you would be able to tackle ANY of the patterns I mention above with confidence and come out with a great looking garment. Yeah Sophie!
Any other suggestions for patterns or fabric resources?