Yes, I've finally gotten around to writing another New Sewists Thursdays post! However, this post is a collection of information aimed at answering two specific questions. The first question is from Elizabeth,
Here are the links to the previous posts:
The series on how my TNT Dress Pattern came to be is in three parts - Part One, Part Two, Part Three
Would you please TNT with me? - is about the reasons to develop a TNT pattern
This post details the list with a brief description of each one of my TNT patterns - 12 on a Desert Island
Various garments are detailed in some of the posts that I've labeled TNT posts. You can scan through the search to read specific posts on construction or not! *LOL* I have to admit that TNT patterns are my thing! Everyone has some specific sewing techniques that they are good at...this is mine. Each person finds their own in their sewing journey but I believe that all sewists can develop a TNT pattern.
First, Claire who authors the blog, "clairekennedydesign.com" has written an amazing series of blog posts on fabrics which I think is a must read for anyone new to sewing or just getting back into sewing. You can read her posts here! They are detailed, include illustrations and should be bookmarked!
There are also several really good books that I would recommend you borrow or buy to learn how to work with fabrics and knits in particular. They are:
Specific to knits: The Stretch & Sew Guide to Sewing on Knits by Ann Person
and Sewing with Knits, Classic Stylish Garments from Swimsuits to Eveningwear by Connie Long
General fabric books: Claire Shaeffer's Fabric Sewing Guide and
Fabric Savvy and More Fabric Savvy by Sandra Betzina.
But Karen didn't ask about books did she...she wanted tips! And after Lindsay's post today...I'm sure more of you are wondering if you can make knits work?!
So my tips...because I've sewn quite a few knit garments...
1. Choose your knit fabric carefully.
I am really, really picky about what knit fabrics I work with...most of my garments are made from a knit with a little lycra in them...rayon/lycra knits being my favorite. Now this is for closer fitting garments. I've used more sweatery knits for cardigans.
2. Stabilize key seams
I always, always, always stabilize the shoulder seams with twill tape, rayon hem tape or the selvedge edge of a woven garment. I don't want them sagging from the pulling on and off or the day-to-day wearing.
3. Use the correct needle and thread for the garment
Both Claire and Sandra's books give detailed information on what type of needle, thread and length to set on your sewing machine to use with knits.
4. Learn to use the best techniques that you can!
Again I'm going to refer to the books referenced above. I read and sewed based upon the information gleamed from the books above. You will be amazed at how many little tips you pick up! Or if you are a more visual learner try Nancy's Notions..."Sew & Go Knits DVD". She offers her show online at Sewing with NancyTV. If you click Nancy's Favorites, there are two shows on Knits - Easy Fit, Easy Sew that you can watch at home at your convenience on your computer!
5. Keep working with the garment until you get the fit you want!
Oh drat there I go again not encouraging quick and fast results! *LOL* But seriously, how do you know what works for you if you don't experiment and then try again when something doesn't work? Remember my earlier analogy a marathon...not a sprint!
Now a few disclaimers...being a plus size girl and liking a looser more relaxed fit, I don't have some of the stretch and recovery issues that someone desiring a closer fit might have. My garments typically don't lay right against my skin as many of the tees and tops that most women/men sew. Let me emphasize again that this is my preference. I don't like overfitted, too tight tops or dresses...they make me uncomfortable, however, someone else may be more comfortable. So I tend to treat knits like wovens...the point is for them to glide over my body but have a little more stretch than a typical woven.
I also only sew a few types of knit garments...cardigans, loose fitting tees, tanks and dresses. You have yet to see me make a wrap dress...can't figure out how to make one without looking like there is a war going on beneath the dress in the back! I haven't made one of those wrapped/knotted front tops that are everywhere...another popular sew. My pieces are more classic in nature and I've been sewing them for years. BUT, I've had my share of disasters, oops and garbage pitches...again, you just have to get up dust yourself off and try something new. Or if you truly don't want to work with knits...let it go! There are so many other things to sew and adventures to have...it's a personal decision.
Can I also note here that I've been sewing since I was 11 years old and that I've learned much of what I know through books, TV series, videos and DVDs and from a few sewing classes that I've taken. The reason I emphasize books and sewing shows is because I've learned so much from them.
Sorry that this post has been more of an encouragement post than one chock full of information...but sometimes I think that's what we sewists need! A pat on the back...a word or two of encouragement, understanding and support...and a shove back into the game!
Please continue to send questions to me for future blog posts...and I will share my next finished project with you soon!