Monday, June 30, 2014

Adventures in sewing with knits!

I've been trying to learn how to sew with knits for a while now. I've had quite a few complete disasters which is totally disheartening, especially since that type of thing never really happened when I learned to sew with wovens.

I've bought and cut up and subsequently thrown away quite a few yards of knit fabric. Always hoping  that 'this time' it will work!!! Sadly the only thing I've successfully created was this:

This fun reversible double knit was supposed to become a T for me, but all that was salvageable after I messed it up was enough to make these tiny leggings. 

The one good thing to come out of this mess up was that I had time to learn how to use the serger I have been holding on to for a friend and also the best settings on my machine for the double needle. The tiny hems on these pants were pretty easy and aren't puckering at all. 

And so when Crafterhours announced her Friday Fiver was the Union St Tee by Hey June, I pounced. I bought the pattern thinking the bits of knit I had leftover from my latest disaster would be enough to try a first one.

I immediately printed the pattern and tiled it up only to find I was missing a vital page in the PDF. SO instead of sewing that first day I went in search of cheap knits to cut up. I found a $3 men's XXL T-shirt at target and when I received the corrected pattern the next day, I proceeded to cut it up. Based on the measurements in the pattern I cut out a small. I decided to start with the scoop neck with the wide neck band and got to work. About an hour and a little swearing later I had this:

It's a totally wearable T-shirt. Granted I cheated a bit and kept the original sleeve and bottom hem when I cut up the shirt, it made it a little easier and less daunting for a first try. Being cut from the stripe, the neckband looks a little weird since the white is right at the edge, but hey for $3 I'll call it a win. I almost even got the stripes to line up on the sides. 

Try two, although wearable was less successful in my mind. But mostly that is my fault for choosing this fabric and for my finishing. 

This is a cotton knit from Joann's. It's soft and I made another pair of those tiny leggings with it a while back, but for a T-shirt for me it's a bit heavy. No drape at all. Plus I was lazy or not thinking or whatever the reason, but I used white thread in my double needle for the hems and it doesn't look great. not only does it scream 'handmade' but it makes it painfully obvious that I am still learning  how to sew a straight line on knit fabric. Oh well, I have worn and washed it a couple of times and I don't think anyone else really sees the mistakes. 

And so I feel excited to continue on my journey to sew the perfect T-shirt. This pattern comes with many other options for sleeve length and also a v-neck opening that I am excited to try. I have learned also that I should probably cut out an XS  next time as on both of the above T's I re-serged the side seams to take it in a touch and they are still looser than my usual T's. I'd love to be able to make all my own T's from now on. With my long torso I always find store bought T's to be a little bit on the short side and I'd love to not have to tug at my hems every day! 

This set up worked well for sewing with knits, I only wish I had some real understanding of how this serger works so I could utilize it to it's potential. So far it's all been trial by error. Maybe that's the universe's way to nudging me to buy my own serger… 

Hold on a second… first things first… a new sewing machine gets first priority!! Happy Sewing!

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