So to continue I’ve made my disclaimer. I’m not a self-proclaimed or otherwise recognized expert. I’m just a sewist who loves sewing knits; thinks knits are easy to sew and one of the most rewarding projects. I’m sharing what I’ve learned and know, hoping you will change your mind about knits and be an accomplished sewist of knits too. In the first Devils post, I confessed my Fabric buying habits and that I have wadders. But now I’d like to continue my story by detailing steps to success. Let’s start with:
Pattern: My decision to sew (rather than just buy) is stimulated in a couple of ways. I’ll see something I like in the magazine or mall and want to make that but in my colors. Or maybe it’s 6PAC sewing time again, so I plan a seasonal collection of 6 pieces. Or I want to wear something, but can’t make an outfit because I’m missing a piece. (I’ll make the missing piece.) From time to time, I buy a piece of fabric and can’t wait to sew it. I mean I get it at the store or in the mail and the next day I”m cutting. My point is, that usually my sewing is stimulated by something else which determines the color, type of garment and even shape that I want to create. Sometimes I’m thinking of shape, sometimes color. That’s important. Because if I’m thinking shape I look at patterns first and then shop my stash for fabric. If I’m thinking color, I shop the stash first and then look at patterns.
Either way at some point I’m looking at patterns to see if they are appropriate for the fabric. I have quite a collection of patterns which is very helpful. (So quit regretting your own huge collection.) But I am very particular at this point. If I’ve decided to sew a knit fabric, I look for patterns designed for knit fabrics. I also compare the stretch of the fabric with the stretch guide on the back of the pattern. If I’ve picked a pattern (because of the shape I want), I check to see which fabrics are recommended. I rarely choose a fabric other than recommended. If you are having problems with knits, I urge that you use one the fabrics specifically listed on the back of the pattern.
I’ve read and heard others say, “You can use a woven pattern with a knit. Just go down a size. Or fold out some of the ease in the shoulder area.” Nope not for me. You either, if you’ll take the time to see why. Take out a Tshirt designed for a woven and compare it with a Tshirt designed for a knit. You could choose a pants pattern or something else, but the Tshirt is small enough to get most pieces on the table at the same time. The first thing you notice is that the knit pattern is smaller overall than the pattern for a woven fabric. But if the *pattern was designed for a knit, you’ll also see differences in the shape and depth of the curves as well as the length of the shoulder and over all width. These differences are significant in the fit of the final garment. All knits are not created equal. If you choose a pattern for a 30% stretch knit and your knit has 60% stretch, the garment will not fit as you expect. These things are important. You might be able to “make it work”. Yes I’ve seen those garments at SG that turned out wonderfully well and completely contradict what I have to write here. I’ve even made a few (i.e. the purple drape front cardigan). But I wouldn’t guarantee success and don’t encourage you, especially if you are already having problems with knits.
Bottom line for pattern selection is :
Choose a pattern designed for knits with the same amount of stretch as your knit
Choose a fabric with the same amount of stretch as called for by your pattern.
Ahh I think that’s too many words for one post. Shall we continue tomorrow?
*Some patterns sold for use with knits were not designed for knits. They will look exactly or almost exactly like pattern designed for wovens