Friday, July 9, 2010

Lessons Learned

I have been putting off sewing with knits for a long time. They really scared me. I had heard (and read) so many crazy things about how tricky they can be and how it took a super-experienced sewer to work with them. Hearing these things, coupled with the fact that I always had custom orders piled up to work on, I just never got around to even trying.

A couple weeks ago I was cruising the sale aisle of my local Joann Fabrics and I found a ton of knits that were on sale for $1 a yard! Um, what crafter in their right mind can pass that up? So, I snagged up all that they had left telling myself that this would be my "practice stash". Now that I had the fabric, I had no excuse not to dive in.

All this for $10!

Before starting on anything, I looked around online for all the best tips I could find for beginning with knits. Here is a highlight of the most useful tips:

  • If you have a walking foot for your sewing machine, use it.
  • Make sure to use ballpoint needles. These go through the fabric without snagging it.
  • Pull the fabric slightly from the front and back while you are feeding it through the machine.
  • If you will be finishing seams with a serger, just use the machine on its regular settings. If you will be finishing seams with a standard sewing machine, change the settings to a zig zag stitch with a width of 2mm or smaller (the higher the width, the more stretch) and a length of 2-3mm.
Since I am very pregnant, I thought the first thing I would experiment with would be something for the baby. So, I picked up this pattern at Hobby Lobby when it was on sale for $.99.

As I was using this pattern, I made sure that I followed all the tips that I had read and went very slowly. Let me tell you something...It was so easy! Knits are not scary at all!

Here is the finished sleep sack that I made for our little man. I changed the pattern slightly and went with an elastic casing instead of ribbon, but other than that it worked out great. (Please excuse the pitiful "a" on the gown. I was being too lazy to trace a pretty letter and cut this one free-hand).

Next, I wanted to try something for my daughter. How could I leave her out of the fun? So, I took my Kinley pants pattern and shortened the legs to make a capri length pant. I added a couple rows of ruffles for fun and this is what I came up with.

Not bad, huh?

Emerson is wearing her "comfy" pants today and I will try to get a picture of them. They are super cute on and perfect for just playing around the house.

Now that I have conquered my fear of knits, I have big plans. I have scoped out several tutorials and patterns that look so fun and I am planning on working through my practice stash soon (several of the tutorials are linked on the "projects" page of the blog). Emerson has already asked for more "comfy" pants, so that is certainly on the project list too. (Maybe I will even write a knit-specific pattern for the "comfy pants").



bethany said...

That sleep sack is to die for!! I love it!! And those pants...I want some.

I have been pretty wary of knits (and too busy to attempt anything) but I bought an adorable pattern at the beginning of the summer that I want to try and you've convinced me that maybe I can do it!!

gina suther said...

ugh - i'm totally terrified of them too! but the sleep sack and "comfy pants" look perhaps too cute to pass up. i love, LOVE sleep sacks - especially at 2 am when you have to change and feed!

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