A Fashionable Stitch » sartorial sewing

Knitty

I’m showing you two things today that you haven’t yet seen. For starters, there’s my pencil skirt here. This is the self drafted skirt that I was raving on about back in July. It’s finally cool enough to really wear it. I’ll be going into more specifics about the drafting process and I’ve got a fresh tutorial for the lining with a back vent. It’s so much easier! That’s coming up very soon, so keep your eyes peeled.

I finished this knit top in a day, which is what the name of this post is referencing. OK, actually this is the 3rd try for this puppy. I’ll allow myself a little leeway on that since this is the first knit I’ve attempted for myself. Thank goodness I had hoards of this wool jersey. Ahem…

Specifics: I made this from Kwik Sew 3616 which I made a TON of alterations to. Actually, let’s start from the very beginning shall we? Remember this top from my little inspiration outfit board (which I’m totally aware I haven’t really discussed)? Yeah, its a vintage pattern and on the back it claims that I can whip out a top in jersey. Ummmmm….yeah. That doesn’t just work. I cut out the entire pattern from this lovely wool jersey (believe me, I made a muslin first) and guess what? It was a complete sack of potatoes. What a joke! Ha! So I turned to this Kwik Sew pattern I had instead, leaving Simplicity 3940 for a woven instead. I whipped it out and after a day of wearing it, I also found that it just didn’t have the right kind of fit. So they say that the 3rd time is the charm. Yup. I’ve blazed through 3 yards of wool jersey quite quickly. Kind makes me sick. Sigh…

Anyway, this is part of an outfit for my Clovers, which, I know, I’m not wearing here. But you get the idea, right? I’m pretty happy with this version. It is a little difficult, in my opinion, to sew with knits. And I totally feel foolish saying that because I read that everyone else has such a glamourous time with them. For me, knits are harder to fit and they are harder to handle too. Like, you have to make sure that they aren’t being stretched as you cut them out – I learned that the hard way. But I’m not giving up just yet. I’ll get the hang of them, don’t you worry.

Oh yes, this is a wool jersey by the way. And normally, wool is fairly itchy – even though its a favorite fiber of mine. But this jersey, is heaven sent. Extra soft merino, and sorry I can’t remember where I got it because it’s been so long since I bought it – but I have a faint inclination that it might be from Fashion Fabrics Club.

That’s about it here. How have you fared with knits? Ever ventured into that territory? What makes your experience easier? I could use a few secrets, I think.

xoxo,
Sunni

  • Karen - You look really AMAZING! I love it all, the color combos, the style of the clothing, the perfect fit. Great job.ReplyCancel

  • Laura - Nice design changes to the Kwik-Sew pattern! I really like how you’ve vintaged it up. One of my favoritest tricks for sewing with knits is to add lightweight elastic to the turned hems of necklines to avoid gaping. It takes some practice since you have to slightly stretch the elastic while stitching, but not the fabric you’re sewing it to, but once you have the hang of it, it’s a great stabilizer.ReplyCancel

  • Ginger - Eek! Love the skirt AND the top! Beautiful colors for both!

    Truth be told, I’m terrified of sewing with knits! I’ve never even tried it!ReplyCancel

  • Lauren - i love sewing with knits! i think they fit sooo much easier than wovens, mostly because you can eliminate darts & let the stretch handle everything. that being said, i admit i’ve never made a knit garment from a pattern – i make my own patterns. and i’m *not* a pattern-drafter. that’s how easy i think knits are lol.

    my advice for sewing knits is to use a serger. you have a serger, yes? or did i just make that up?

    my other advice is to just play around with then & get a feel for the stretch. every fabric is different, of course, but with practice you’ll develop a sixth sense for which fabrics need how much negative ease. when i sew knits, i tend to cut my pieces a little smaller than a need (like, negative ease + a little smaller) and then stretch them to fit each seam. it looks a little lumpy on the hanger, but the fit on the body is so ~smoooooth.

    that pencil skirt is gorgeous, by the way! what an amazing color!ReplyCancel

  • Andrea - Oh, Sunni, what a lovely outfit. I’m drooling over here. The skirt turned out just perfect and the colour is my favourite. And despite all your headaches with the top, it looks great from here. I haven’t worked a ton with knits but I’m attempting a knock off top (from a RTW top I saw recently) in wool jersey… hopefully it turns out ‘cause knits are tricky!ReplyCancel

  • Suzie - Beautiful. I love so much about this post! The colour combo of the fushia and the turquoise is so perfect. The pencil skirt is divine…and I’m super excited about your upcoming post on how to line with a vent because I’m a bit stumped on that at the moment. And your new knit top was totally worth going through three yards of knit – it fits perfectly. In fact…I really want to make this top!!ReplyCancel

  • Sigrid - First off, I have to say your color palette is just fabulous and I eagerly await your skirt drafting series. Knits? Yeah, I have sewn quite a lot of them. And I have to say that my biggest problem is that they all act so much differently, in terms of stability and stretch so that what works with one, doesn’t always translate to another. Lauren (above) seems to have developed that sense of how to work with them, which is just a matter of practice, I suppose. Negative ease is a necessity with really stretchy stuff, which is a weird concept if you’re used to wovens. I have a scary serger so I usually use the overcast stitch on my regular sewing machine for most seams and sew the hems with a double stretch needle. A roller foot or even the walking foot are also very helpful as is reducing the pressure on the presser foot. I’m still experimenting with stabilizing hems and shoulder seams, that’s my nemesis.

    Looks like you did a great job anyway!ReplyCancel

  • Erica - That skirt is gorgeous! I can’t wait to hear about it – RTW pencil skirts so rarely fit me. I completely agree with being intimidated by knits! I am about to start on some knit projects and have been trolling the interwebs for videos, but so many of the tutorials contradict each other.ReplyCancel

  • puu - 2 amazing colors for fall topped off with a perfect blazer. brilliant :-) ReplyCancel

  • Becky - I’m still learning, though I will say that having a serger makes it a bajillion times easier. My last garment was a knit dress, and based on that experience, I also learned that sometimes making things a size or two smaller than you normally would is probably the best way to go! Also, stay tape is incredibly helpful.ReplyCancel

  • Lavender - Those three yards were well worth it, because you look as smashing as ever. Your top looks pretty dead on to the pattern illustration, so I’m curious about the alterations. I’m no knit expert, but my last two projects in knit were pretty easy to sew… just ran a few swatches through to adjust tension & stitch length. Of course, I’m sure to be eating my words next time around :) R has some long underwear in a wool jersey, and I just love the feel of the fabric.ReplyCancel

  • Ali - Despite the two wadders, this looks fabulous!! Totally flattering and that skirt is gorgeous too. Look forward to reading more about it.ReplyCancel

  • zilredloh - Your outfit is so lovely! I haven’t tackled knits myself yet, so three times to perfect a shirt doesn’t seem terrible, since it’s all about learning.

    I can’t belive that knit is a woll jersey! It looks amazing. As always I love your color choices, and your skirt is no exception. The pink looks so lush and feminine!

    What an amazing stitcher you are! :) ReplyCancel

  • Katie - Beautiful!! Such an unexpected color combination, but it works oh so well. I have no super secret knit tricks, but I agree with the above posters that it is all about practice. Fortunately, knit garments tend to be simple, so it isn’t so painful to stitch up a bunch.

    Now I’m off to find that Kwik Sew pattern…ReplyCancel

  • Emily - What a lovely outfit!! :)

    I have sewn one knit shirt from a pattern that was supposed to be for knits, checked the stretch, cut out the piece properly blah blah blah and it looked like a sack of potatoes too!! I was so sad. :( The other times (luckily before using that pattern and after ha) I’ve made my own patterns using knit shirts I have that fit me and they’ve turned out much better. They’re not nearly as fancy as yours, but I’m happy with the way they turned out and they’ve boosted my confidence in knit sewing. :)

    As far as tips- I’ve heard you’re supposed to use a ball point needle, which I do when it’s something I care about. If I’m just experimenting, sometimes I don’t. I also try to cut out the pieces and sew them right away to minimize on the curling. You can also starch the edges and I actually finally remembered to buy starch but haven’t used it. And, as you said, not all knits are the same. I personally like the ones that have cotton in it and are a little bit heavier. I like to be able to touch the knits, feel their stretch, and see their drape. However I ordered some knit on fabric.com for the first time but it was sadly sold out. :( I also use my walking foot when sewing knits (if I remember) and it helps with the shifting. I don’t have a serger (yet, fingers crossed) so I can’t comment on that.ReplyCancel

  • CGCouture - I had that exact KS pattern in my hot little hand this morning and decided to put it back in the drawer because I wanted to look up reviews for it first. I love the outfit, and I think I’ll have to give the wool jersey a try.

    As far as sewing with knits go, I think you just have dive right in. Some fabrics are more of a pain than others, for example I have not so great luck with poly knits (ITY???) that have the cool prints because I get skipped stitches and they make me sweat. Look for knits with the required stretch that are a bit more “beefy” and have good recovery until you get more confidence. Rib knits for night/exercise/lounge wear are a good starting place.

    Again, a gorgeous outfit, and good luck! :-) ReplyCancel

  • Lizz - I agree with Lavender – three yards was definitely worth it!ReplyCancel

  • eunny - omg, this is lovely! All of it! I love your eye for color…just delicious!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda S. - These are both great pieces. I, too, was apprehensive about sewing with knits at first. I still do prefer wovens, but I’ve gotten use to knits and they don’t bother me like they use to. I’m glad you have such a make it work attitude! You will master them in time.ReplyCancel

  • Tilly - Sooooo pretty! Loving the colour combo.ReplyCancel

  • Abby - Your shirt looks wonderful on you! Do you have a serger, or did you sew it with your regular machine? I’m pretty apprehensive about knits, especially since I don’t have a serger or the mans to get one.ReplyCancel

  • Lindsay - I love the colors on this outfit! So pretty, and the fit is excellent! I would wear that skirt like it was my job.ReplyCancel

  • Wanett - You look great!! I love sewing with knits. I’ve made at least a half dozen totally different versions of the same BurdaStyle Lydia top. Once you’ve got the fit down, you can just crank ‘em out ;pReplyCancel

  • Alessa - I actually love sewing with knits, even though I don’t own a serger! My least favorite part about sewing is fiddling with the fit, and knits are just so forgiving! I usually go for the not-quite-difficult projects, though, and just copy well-fitting RTW garments. The only thing not to forget about that is to chose a fabric with a similar weight and drape to the one I want to copy. Apart from that, I guess it’s just a learning curve… :) ReplyCancel

  • Graca - I agree… love the colour combination! Both pieces look great.ReplyCancel

  • Gail - I LOVE this outfit. But you have made me cross with myself on two scores. 1) I didn’t buy a piece of beautiful cyclamen coloured Italian ponte when I could have, and 2) I have had this Kwiksew patter for years and never used it. Oh well, at least I can rectify my second mistake.ReplyCancel

  • Alicja Wigglesworth - I love the turquoise top – I’ve been working with jersey a bit myself, and now I’ve even ventured into sweater knits! It is definitely more challenging than non-stretch fabric, but the results are so lovely, and usually forgiving :)

    Check out my post on sewing my first sweater knit sweater: thelittleironpress.blogspot.comReplyCancel

  • Stacy - I must agree with everyone who has raved about your color combination. So unexpected, and so flattering on you! Now I want to raid my own closet and try some unusual combos.ReplyCancel

  • Reana Louise - Somehow I missed this outfit, which is just INSANE! Thank goodness I’m ‘friends’ with you on Burdastyle or I might have missed it forever. That fuscia is delicious! xxReplyCancel

  • Same Song, Second Verse, Just as Good as the First - [...] given the fact that this is a knit. I took Lauren’s advice for this from when I posted about my first attempt at knits. She warned that all knits are different and to stretch them to fit, which I did. The result took [...]ReplyCancel

  • Julia Bobbin - Oh oh OH!
    I don’t care if it’s yours and not mine I WANT IT!

    The colour combo, the fit the cut. I am suffering from extreme jealousy.ReplyCancel

  • Random Thoughts on Pattern Gathers - [...] has an excess amount of gathering (I feel) and one that I’ve sewn. The more I’ve worn this top, the more I’ve come to realize that it has alot of gathering at the bust and shoulder – [...]ReplyCancel