Category Archives: Sewing With Knits

Make A Kinder Cardigan From “Beginner’s Guide To Sewing With Knitted Fabrics”

Beginners Guide to Sewing with KnitsAll images from “A Beginner’s Guide to Sewing With Knitted Fabrics” taken by Julian Ward Photography and © Cico

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First Copy of Beginner’s Guide to Sewing With Knitted Fabrics!!!

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How to Sew Stripes and Stripe Match Every Time

stripe matching tips

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Change the Width of Your Elastic – A Quick Fix

Have you ever found yourself mid-project, in need of some elastic of a specific width and only able to find something too wide in your stash?

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Sewing With Knits – A Shopping Checklist to Download for Free!

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If you already follow me, you’ll know what a fan I am of sewing with knits; they make easy to fit, quick, comfortable garments that even beginners can successfully make and a lot of my MIY Collection sewing patterns are designed specifically for knitted fabrics.

So it was only a matter of time before I wrote a book on the subject wasn’t it?! Over the last few months I’ve been slowly beavering away on “Sewing With Knits – Everything You Ever Needed to Know” and it’s tantalisingly close to completion!!  I’m publishing this one myself and to start with it will just be available as a PDF e-book.

Here’s just a bit of what it will cover:

  • how to get a great finish on knits without an overlocker
  • how to choose the right knit for your pattern
  • hot to identify different knits
  • understanding the effect fibre content has on your fabric choice
  • washing and shrinkage
  • how to cut out and prepare knits
  • tips and tricks for identifying right & wrong sides and grainlines
  • professional finishing techniques.

I’m hoping to have the book available in a couple of months, but in the meantime, in celebration of “Sewing With Knits” day in MIY March you can download a copy of my Shopping Checklist from the book and make sure that from now on, you always buy the best fabric for your pattern. What’s better, as it’s a download, you can print one out every time you start a new project!

To get your copy of the Sewing With Knits Shopping Checklist subscribe to my newsletter and follow the instructions, it will only take a few minutes and will only require your name and email address.

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In return you’ll be able to download the checklist and will occasionally receive the MIY Collection newsletter packed with sewing related goodness; news, links to interesting and useful things I’ve found online, subscriber-only special offers and the occasional competition.

What are you waiting for? I imagine you might be shopping for fabric over the easter holidays…..?!

If you’re a fan of online fabric shopping, have you seen my post on Where to Buy Stretch Knit Fabrics?

NOTE – loyal existing subscribers will be getting a copy of the checklist delivered straight to your inbox in the next few days.

Should I Pre-Wash My Fabric Before Sewing?

should i pre-wash fabric

Students often ask me if it really is necessary to pre-wash their fabric before cutting into it for a new project.

Most of the time the answer is yes! But, if you can’t or you forget and your fabric is natural fibre, you will have to hand wash your finished garment in cool water to avoid it shrinking.

Here are some things to remember about shrinkage in fabrics:

  • natural fibres can shrink up to 10%, allow for this when buying fabric as the fabric requirements in pattern instructions don’t allow for shrinkage
  • shrinkage tends to occur most along the length – especially on knits
  • knits tend to shrink more than wovens as there’s more movement in the structure of the fabric
  • ideally dry your fabrics flat – wovens can be hung on a line, but never knits as they will stretch, knits must be dried flat and not draped over anything that will poke into the fabric and distort it ie. chair back, banister.

When pre-washing your fabric, put it on a cycle appropriate to the fabric (check the washing instructions in the shop when you’re buying the fabric) and one that you’d like to be able to use on the finished garment.

Happy washing and sewing!

How to Sew Jersey Fabrics on a Domestic Sewing Machine – Part 2: Hems

As promised in my post on sewing seams in knits using a domestic sewing machine, here’s some tips on getting nice neat hems on your knits, all with the use of your sewing machine!

STITCH SETTINGS

As with seams in knits, you need to choose a way of hemming your knit garment that will stretch.  I’m going to show you my two favourite ways to hem knit fabrics on a sewing machine.

One of the stretchiest stitches to use on your sewing machine is the 3-step zig-zag (a stitch which even the most basic of sewing machines usually has):

3-step zig-zag hemming knit fabric on a sewing machine

hemming knit fabric on a sewing machineOn the right side of the garment you will have a line of zig-zag stitches.

hemming knit fabric on a sewing machine - D reverseTry to get the stitches just covering the cut edge of your fabric on the wrong side of the garment.

The second way of hemming a knit fabric, is one that most looks like the hems on shop bought knit garments that are finished with a coverstitch (a completely separate machine a bit like an overlocker).  Rather than rush out and buy a coverstitch machine try a bit of twin-needling on your sewing machine!

twinneedle

Twin needles are easily available and you can even get ballpoint twin needles – perfect for sewing knit fabrics without causing snags.  Most good sewing shops will sell twin needles and there is even a choice of what size gap you have between the needles.

Replace your normal needle with the twin needle which inserts into your machine in exactly the same way, then set up your machine like this:

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Then, sew as normal, but you must sew your hem from the right side of your garment so it’s a good idea to have your hem tacked first, then you can use your tacking stitches as a guide for your twin-needling to ensure you catch the hem on the wrong side.

hemsample-twinneedle-frontHere’s what your twin-needled hem will look like from the right side.  Pretty professional no?!

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hemsample-twinneedle-reverseAnd on the wrong side, the bobbin thread forms a sort of neat little zig-zag stitch.  If you position your stitching accurately, the stitches should just cover the cut edge of your hem on the inside of the garment as shown above.  It takes a bit of practice to get it that precise, but tacking your hem first helps!

TENSION

As with seams, the tension needs to be correct for the type of knit you’re sewing, but most lighter weight knit fabrics eg. t-shirt jersey and lighter need a looser tension of around 3.

WAVY EDGES?

Depending on your fabric and your machine, you might find your hemmed edge going a bit wavy.  First make sure you’re not stretching the fabric as you’re sewing!  If you’re being good and not stretching your fabric (well done!), then if your sewing machine has the facility to, adjust the presser foot pressure and this should solve the problem.  Read more about adjusting the preset foot pressurehere.

So, there you go, you now know how to sew seams and hems on your sewing machine so that they look neat and professional without the aid of an overlocker or coverstitch machine.

Enjoy sewing those lovely knit fabrics, you’ll wonder why you ever avoided them, I promise.  If you need some help finding nice knitted fabrics have a read of my guide here and my range of sewing patterns (most of which are designed for knit fabrics and are very easy to use!) are available to buy online here.