Friday, October 22, 2010

Notes On Knits And Another Kasia

I'm still on a mission to learn more about apparel fabrics. There is only one fabric store in town (I won't name it but I'm sure you can guess) and about the only thing you can get there is quilting cotton or fleece. There is the occasional higher quality linen or wool, but mainly cotton. I haven't ventured in to polyester territory at this point and not sure I will. I've used a lot of quilting cotton for clothing in the past and not all has been bad. Some cottons are softer and I firmly believe that a really cute print is a good enough reason to try and use a quilting cotton every now and then. I have a button down shirt from quilting cotton that I absolutely love. But really, those cotton prints are not the best for most patterns. So I'm learning- expanding my fabric horizons, if you will.

I can check linen and wool off my list. I've used linen several times and I know that I love it. I like the drape and that it is easy to sew with. I've used wool once and am using it again for my Lady Grey (and soon, silk for the lining- eek). Knits are a whole other story! I've made a few things with knits at this point and some have been good and some bad. I started with a Ponte knit when I made Simplicity 3833 which I count as a success. Thinking knits weren't so scary after all, I bought several cheapo knits and attempted other things-- none of which were successes. My pirate top was nice while it lasted-- but I've noticed that there are growing holes at every stitch. I used a ball point needle, but I think the knit was just really poor quality. Some other items I attempted from cheaper jersey type knit never made it to a finished product. I recently made a cardi wrap from a Ponte knit, but I used a straight stitch and there is not any give around the armholes. Still wearable, though.

But this, my knit Kasia, is done right! I shopped around online and ordered just a little bit of this Michael Miller interlock knit. I spent more per yard than I did on my wool for Lady Grey. I originally was going to make some sort of top, but after seeing the stripes and dots in person I was dreaming of a skirt- something I could get lots of wear out of. I wanted to use a pattern where I could do something interesting with the prints and thought about the Kasia pattern. I intentionally used my normal size instead of going down a size to accommodate for the stretch because I wanted it sit a little lower on my waist. I also flared the skirt slightly at the hem. I omitted the pocket and buttons and put the zipper in the back. It's self lined-- I guess that's what you'd say. I made a whole other skirt (but took out the gathers on the side yoke pieces) and sewed it in as a lining. It's top stitched together at the hem.
The knit is super soft and the double layer makes me feel like I'm wearing sweatpants. Very comfortable. I don't have a stretch stitch on my Singer (I have five stitches to choose from- think its time for an upgrade) so I used a zigzag stitch which made a difference. The seams have give and don't have that tight pull that I feel on other knit things I've sewn. And no, I'm not actually planning on wearing it with the vest in public, but my inner five year old likes the double polka dots :) It seems I have a thing for polka dots, or spots or whatever you call them.

My verdict on knits is to pay the money for the good stuff. The cheap ones just don't hold up. I also prefer a heavier knit (stable knit, is that what its called?) because it is easier to sew. Also, use a zigzag stitch so the seams can stretch a little. Hopefully one day I'll have a serger and none of this will matter..... I've been researching. Or a sewing machine with a few more options. Any suggestions for sergers or sewing machines? I'm saving up for something nice!


  1. Polyester can sometimes come in a form of knit which I find can be really helpful! Not too hard or complicated to sew either! xx

  2. Very nice! I really like what you've done with the contrast stripe pockets. I haven't been brave enough to sew with knits yet, but I will one day, honest!

  3. I love your skirt! It looks wonderful. I'm going to be buying better quality knits for my next projects, i have noticed holes around my stitches on a couple of things and they have only been worn a few times. Before i got my new sewing machine i checked out loads of reviews on Pattern Review. I got a Husqvarna and couldn't be happier with it.

  4. Love the skir. It looks very comfortable and playful.

  5. My bottom-end Janome (about $200 brand new three years ago) has normal and stretch versions of its 12 basic stitches (so I guess that's a total of 24 stitches) and has done really well for sewing knits... and pretty much everything else I've thrown at it, though it does get a bit balky at some of the really thick denim. You could also check kijiji or craiglist in your area, though... I've seen some very good deals on sergers around here.

    Skirt looks gorgeous, too! I love the horizontal stripes in the gathered hip yokes.

  6. Thanks! That Janome sounds like it's perfect-- in my price range, too.