The next two subjects that I would like to talk about are the stitch type and length that you choose for project as well as the choice between facings and linings.
I like to take a "scrap" of my chosen fabric, put in a new stretch or ball point needle, and run some sample stitches to see what works best. There are many weights of knits: some are "thinner" or "slinkier" that others, so it is a good idea to preview your stitches. Sometimes the foot pressure may seem to heavy, however, I have found that if the knit seems to drag through the feed dogs, all you need to do is lengthen the stitch length a little. I know that machines now come with built in stitches for knits, but I still test to see which is going to give me the best finish. On the rayon jersey knit pictured to the left I chose to use a regular straight stitch setting of 2.5 for my seams and a zig zag stitch (W=2.5;L=3) for my hem. These two settings allowed my fabric to lie flat with no stretching issues. I just finished a Maxi skirt with the fabric shown here and it hangs beautifully! I call this my "15 Minute Skirt". I will go over this in detail in an upcoming class on sewing with knits at the shop. It will be a two part class with the first being a "Prep" class (in which I will also share my pattern and techniques for this skirt); the second part will be a workshop where you choose between 3 or 4 pattern suggestions and we make a dress!
Now, for the discussion of Facings Versus Linings.
Most patterns for garments include facings rather
than a lining as it might seem an easier way to finish off the neckline and possible sleeves. This method does use less fabric, but when you are working with knits, you either need to bind the neck opening and sleeveless armhole openings or just line the entire bodice. To me, lining the bodice is by far easier! All you do is cut another bodice front and back out of a lining fabric. Pretty easy! Of course, the issue becomes finding the right lining. A sheer lightweight knit is the best choice and, of course, Sew It Up does stock this in white and natural at this time. See how this drapes ----
Perfect for knits because it IS a knit. It will stretch along with the rest of the dress and lays beautifully inside your garment without any puckering!
In our next installment I will cover interfacing for a garment using a knit fabric as well as pattern and fabric choices as well as how to cut it out!