I've been sewing! I made the new Tara by Serendipity Studio a couple of weeks ago and just love it! So, I decided to give it a try in a jersey ~ as opposed to the woven cotton, which was my 4th of July dress pictured two posts ago! Kay Whitt, the designer of this pattern just happened to include two bodice choices. My first dress had the cute bodice tucks parallel to center front, but in thinking through making this out of a knit, I decided that the tucks could potentially cause "problems". So, I choose the plain bodice, BUT I rotary cut 6 strips of my knit twice the length of the bodice front by 1". After running a gathering stitch down the center of each strip, I attached them to my bodice front (I chose an open zig zag stitch) before construction. This worked great - at least I think so! You'll see a close-up photo at the end of this post.
When you are studying your patterns trying to decide which one to use for a knit project, my advise is "keep it simple"! Naturally, you can go with patterns that indicate "Knits Only", but who wants to make it that easy! If I am using a regular pattern, I almost always cut out the next smaller size - because knits do stretch! Most of the time, I look for simplicity in the design lines. Next I figure out what changes need to be made to make the construction process the easiest possible for the most "professional" results!
If the pattern shows a zipper, I determine IF it is really necessary. If the fit is very close, then you will probably need the zipper. Next I look at facings. I really hate facings for knits, so I eliminate them and replace them with a lining - no more flippy facings! Keep in mind that the lining needs to have the same properties as the fashion fabric, so it also needs to stretch. Hold the two together to test their compatibility. First, trim your lining pieces along their seam allowances about 1/8". Next, sew up the side seams of the fashion fabric as well as the lining pieces. Now, with right sides facing each other, sew the outside to the lining going around the neckline and armhole openings ~ leave the top of the shoulder seam open. See my photos below for examples. After sewing, you will trim your seams closely, turn and press gently and then sew the shoulder seams (of the fashion fabric only!) You can slip stitch by hand the shoulder seams of the lining.
If you shy away from linings, then consider making your own "ribbing" as your finish for the neckline and sleeves. This is not difficult to do, but it requires a delicate touch:
- Cut out your strips with a rotary cutter (much easier!) It is not necessary to cut these on the bias and best you do not unless it is a knit that barely stretches.
- Measure them against the garment opening that you are "facing" and sew together to create a circle.
- Then press them in half width-wise - very carefully - do not to stretch it at all.
- Pin to the wrong side of your garments and sew slowly,
- Turn the "ribbing" to the right side of the garment.
One last thought, IF you need to interface your garment, say for example, the knit is very stretchy (we call this an "unstable knit") then you may want to interface your raw curved edges. That would be the neckline and armhole opening for sure. Your interfacing needs to stretch along with everything else, so be sure and use a fusible tricot interfacing. You will be very happy with the results.
Happy Sewing with your Knits!
I will be leading a two part class on sewing with knits in August. I believe that it is already on our website.