Overcoming My Fear of Knits

I decided now was the time to finally overcome my fear of knits. I’ve been sewing on and off for over 20 years, but I have avoided knits like the plague. There is really no rational reason for this fear. I’ve been deconstructing t-shirts, which are technically knits, for years. But the thought of actually piecing together a garment from a stretch knit sends shivers of terror down my spine. I’d rather sew zippers. My old stand-by excuse is that I don’t have a serger. I know it’s possible to sew knits without a serger, but it sounded like a good excuse to me.

KnitTop

Since I’ve come to the realization that a serger is not in my near future, I decided that I just needed to confront my fear and try a new challenge. I feel incredibly foolish for not having done this sooner. I’ll admit, I would rather sew wovens, but this knit top I made a few days ago wasn’t such a bad time.

Before I started on this project, I did some reading up on sewing with knits. I found this big list of tips very helpful. Be sure to read the comments on this post too, because some of them are just as helpful as the article itself.

Then I chose a few patterns and decided to start with McCall’s M6356. It said it was “easy” on the pattern envelope. I also really liked the style and draping of the top.

I chose a nice jersey knit in red, because I promised my husband I would start making more colorful clothing. My go-to color is usually black. But I like red too. And red looks really good with black.

It was a pretty easy pattern. I had a few bumps along the way, but overall the top came together fairly quickly. I learned a few things though. I’m an imperfect seamstress. Or maybe the better way to look at it is that I’m a “good-enough” seamstress. I hate pins, so I rarely use them except for matching seams, and I don’t measure hems and stuff like that. I often wing it. If it looks even when I look in the mirror, and everything fits comfortably, then it’s good enough for me. It’s worked out so far because, except for the obvious t-shirt deconstruction, people rarely know that a lot of my clothing is made-by-me.  I found with knits though, you have to be a little more precise and careful than with wovens, knits are harder to unpick (they snag easier), pins are your friends, and measuring is important – you don’t want your seams stretching at wonky angles, and since knits tend to cling more to your body, one wonky seam becomes an obvious distraction.

I didn’t have any stay tape for the shoulder seams, and I couldn’t find any locally, so I just used single fold bias tape. I read somewhere that bias tape was an acceptable substitute. It seemed to work. I’ve ordered some stay tape online though for my next project.

The top is not perfect, but it’s “good-enough”. I think I’ll be giving knits another go. I have two more tops and a skirt cut out. I’m just waiting for the mailman to deliver my stay tape.

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2 thoughts on “Overcoming My Fear of Knits

  1. Good job! That’s a really pretty top. I have an irrational fear of knits, too. The knits available at my local fabric store seem pretty shoddy quality – like they’re just going to stretch out of shape, so they’re not worth the effort. I saw so many beautiful knits on a recent trip to NY though and had a twinge that I was missing out, but didn’t buy any because I thought I’d screw up the beautiful fabric – my own catch 22!

  2. Thanks! Have you looked online? I’ve bought some nice fabric at fabricmartfabrics.com. They have nicer quality fabrics than my local store and their prices aren’t too bad. And I know exactly how you feel about “screwing up the beautiful fabric”. I bought a length of Vera Wang knit fabric that I envisioned turning into a dress or top 2 years ago. It has been sitting in my stash pile for that very reason. I keep pulling it out and imagining sewing something beautiful with it and then I chicken out and put it away.

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