We've been receiving gorgeous knits to the shop this month, along with some great patterns to use with them. These Robert Kauffman knits feel even better than they look!
Vanessa Christenson was here on Saturday, and I've been racking my brain trying to come up with something cute to make to wear to the workshop. Obviously, I wanted to feature V & Co. fabric. Of course, I didn't come up with a bright idea until the last minute. The Penelope Top, made by Sew Liberated! I used some creamy Robert Kaufman Laguna Jersy Knit, and for the woven fabric background - Vanessa' grey ombre chevron. It's absolutely perfect.
All of this has inspired us to share some tips about working with knits. They can be intimidating to work with if you don't have the right tools and experience. Nothing is worse than a tee shirt that looks homemade. The knit can buckle and wave, and it's just not pretty. However, use some of these simple tips and you'll end up with professional results!
First of all - sergers. You will have the easiest experience working with knits if you have a serger. Sergers cut and sew at the same time, which yield the beautiful finished seams in the top you are wearing currently. With a serger, you have to ability to change the feed, which makes working with stretchy materials a snap. If you don't have a serger, you can still work with knits. It will be more tricky - but it is possible. There is a fabulous book put out by Colette with all the know how you need to get through a knit fabric project.
- Use ballpoint needles, which are made to work with knit fabrics. Always, always, always use the appropriate needle style and size to match your fabric.
- Turn down your presser foot pressure to reduce the amount of push the presser foot puts down on the fabric. The last thing you want to do is stretch the fabric as you're sewing it - that will result in puckering.
- If you don't have a coverhem machine, a twin needle works really well!
- For Bernina lovers, use the #2/#2A overlock foot with the vari-overlock stitch (stitch #3 on most of the machines in my shop!) for seaming.
- Avoid using a standard straight stitch, it doesn't stretch with your fabric. Instead, try a zigzag, a stretch stitch, or the vari-overlock.
- Use a walking foot, or dual feed if you machine has it!
- Slow and steady! Take your time, sew slowly. If you have FHS on your machine, take advantage of it to reposition your fabric (make sure your needle is anchored in it!).
- Always do a test before you jump into your project. Make sure all of these elements are working together correctly, you don't want to find out you need to make an adjustment when you're halfway down your seam!
- Knit fabrics don't fray, and I know we've all see unfinished knit at Anthropologie - if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me.