KNITerview with Sascha of Piccoli Piselli

Please welcome today’s KNITerviewee, Sascha of Piccoli Piselli!

Sascha has some mad knit-sewing skills, and I’m thrilled she was able to contribute to our series today! Her blog is chock full of great projects that she’s made for her kids and herself. You may also remember her and the amazing Lego/chalkboard table that she contributed to the Celebrate the BOY series last year. She often repurposes knits, and recently has begun to wander into the fascinating realm of sewing unmentionables, which is pretty much the grad school of knits, in my opinion. One of the best things about Sascha’s blog though is her fantastic personality; she is down-to-earth and irreverently hilarious. If you don’t read Piccoli Piselli yet, definitely check it out!

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Here’s our interview about knits:

SASCHA: First of all thank you Rae for inviting me. I probably don’t sew half as well as most of your readers, but I can say I sew with confidence and that making mistakes is a part of what teaches me for the next project. I started sewing at about 6 years old, but I know fellow bloggers that have been sewing for 2 years that blow my mind with their skill.

RAE: Did you ever fear knits?

SASCHA: Luckily my mom introduced me to sewing with knits at a young age so I’m happy to say I never knew to fear knits.  There seems to be a lot of fear of sewing with knits out there, but believe me, I’m no sewing-with-knits genius and I am making it work. I’ve actually learned quite a lot about sewing with knits from sewing blogs. Since I now know sewing with knits can be a little daunting I decided my daughter’s first garment sewing project would be with knits. I would like for her to think knit fabric is the same as woven, just a bit more “testy”.

{A-line knit skirt sewn by Luca age 6}

RAE: What types of projects do you typically sew with knits?

SASCHA: I definitely sew the most for my youngest since knits are such a wonderful fabric for babies/toddlers. I love sewing both raglan and lap tees paired with a legging style pant. I also try to “upcycle” knits from old t-shirts and leggings from my older kids.

I have actually taken a t-shirt from my 9 year old and made part of it into a dress for my 8 year old to later cut it up one more time for my 2 year old!

RAE: Do you prefer sewing with knit or with wovens?

SASCHA: I hands down prefer knits. I will tell you that if you put fear aside, knit fabric is more forgiving than woven. When you sew a seam with woven fabric and you have cut the pattern slightly off, you cannot stretch that woven to fit into place. With a stretch you can pull one layer to “match it up” and likely after washing it will fall into place (not major stretching obviously). I have had wonky seams in woven come out of the washer/dryer looking as bad as it did going in, but with knits I sometimes have a hard time finding the bad seam.

RAE: Do you have a favorite type of knit?

SASCHA: I actually love to sew with a 2×1 rib knit best. It is what I use for neck and cuff binding and it really gives a finished look to to home made knit garments.

Here is an example of 2 x 1 rib knit on the cuff and neckline.  I have the hardest time finding this knit and when I do I buy at least one yard per color. I’ve been able to find 2 x 1 rib knit at JoAnn’s fabrics these past few years.

RAE: Where do you usually buy your knits?

SASCHA: I wish designers of woven fabrics would put out more lines of knit. I think I am not alone in saying that if Heather Ross would release a line of quality knit fabric we would all be purchasing like mad. The fabric stores previously listed in the Kniterview series are all places I have shopped, but  here are my favorites for knit fabric…

fashionfabricsclub.com
Nature’s Fabrics
Print Knits Studio
Fabric Fairy

and I buy a a lot from Etsy sellers. I just type in cotton knit fabric and go from there.

My favorite source for knits is “upcycling” old t-shirts and sweaters.

Thrift stores are a great source for funky t-shirts and wool and cashmere sweaters. I buy a lot of sweaters from Resweater. The above pants and pixie hat are made from cashmere sweaters. I pre-washed the sweaters and dried them in the dryer so the finished garments are totally baby friendly and the snuggliest baby clothes ever!

RAE: What brand/model machine do you use for sewing knits primarily?

I know a great deal of you have found the machine you love. The one you are willing to give a name. The one that will never say no to a stitch no matter how many layers. I have yet to commit to such a machine. I learned to sew on industrial machines so I never knew what to look for in a home sewing machine. Where I live there are no sewing machine dealers so when I found myself in need of a machine it was either drive 1 1/2 hours to a dealer or to stop at my local Sears for an off the shelf Kenmore. Since I felt like sewing THAT DAY I have a Kenmore 19110.

RAE: Do you use a serger? More/less the same amount as using your machine when sewing knits?

SASCHA: Not only do I use one, I love it! I love sewing exposed seams on a garment with a serger.  I also love the way the rib binding on necklines and armholes look when stitched with a serger. I have a hand-me-down Huskylock 905 and a super old Babylock (model unknown). I use the Husky for all my sewing and can’t imagine sewing without one.

RAE: What’s your default setting on your machine for sewing with knits?

SASCHA: I like to lengthen the stitch length in straight stitch to a 2.8 – 3.0 on my machine so there is a little more give in the stitch. I also love using the zig zag stitch for hem lines and sleeve hems.

RAE: Double needle, your thoughts?

SASCHA: I do use a double needle and I like the results most of the time. I occasionally get skipped stitches using a double needle but mostly it works fine.  Again, I use a longer stitch length with double needles. When I’m feeling extra motivated by a project I’ll take the time to switch out my straight stitch and serger thread to Maxi Lock Stretch thread. On my straight stitch I use stretch thread in the bobbin only and on my serger I switch out all the cones. I’m a terribly lazy sewer and generally skip a lot of these extra steps.

RAE: Walking foot?

SASCHA: I actually own a walking foot but have not tried it on knits (love it for velvet). I think it can be a great option for slinky knits that want to play slip and slide. Again, I am actually quite lazy with sewing and a walking foot is just one more added step that gets in the way of a completed garment.

RAE: Do you have a trick or tip for sewing with knits you’ve found helpful?

SASCHA: I’m not sure it’s a trick or tip, but I just make sure that when I am sewing side seams, shoulder seams and armholes that I do not stretch the fabric and I let the fabric feed evenly into the sewing machine.  When attaching neck binding I stretch the rib knit while letting the main fabric feed evenly into the machine. I also use tear away stabilizer for buttonholes. If the fabric doesn’t have good stretch recovery (ie: doesn’t have any Lycra) I like to size the buttonhole down a tad also. Finally, I would say the best bet is to start with a simple pattern like a raglan tee, legging or skirt.

RAE: Thanks so much Sascha!!!

You can visit Sascha over at her blog, Piccoli Piselli. To see all of the KNITerviews and other posts in this series, click here!

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Someone call the Fashion Police

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{fleece hat \ polka-dot top \ green pants \ yellow jacket \ backpack }

Wearing handmade isn’t always fashionable. Especially when your mother never bothered to “Gymboree-it-all-up” so everything matches.

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And this is what happens when she picks her own outfits (which is pretty much every day now):

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Bonus points to the first person who can correctly identify that thing tied around her neck.

I’m sure many of you have even better pictures of your self-dressed children hanging around!

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The Poncho

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I’m a guest judge on Project Run and Play this week, and this week the theme is “Outerwear.” As part of our judge-ly duties, the guest judges are asked to do a post relating to the theme, and so at first I was like what tha heck do I know about Outerwear? but then as I started to look around I realized that no, it’s totally cool, I’ve made two coats for my kids this year and one of my free tutorials is a fleece hat. So I put together a little roundup of some of the outerwear-ey projects I have put together over the last couple of years over at Project Run and Play so go over and take a look!

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Being the over-acheiver slash procrastinator that I am, I also whipped up this little fleece poncho for Clementine thinking I would put it up as a tutorial or pattern or something for the post. But of course when you start something like this two days before it’s due, and you’re also working overtime trying to get a skinny tee pattern completed by the end of the month, that’s unlikely to happen. So I’m letting that go for now, with the thought that maybe it can happen soon, we’ll see.

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I’m not completely happy with the Minnie Mouse bow: it was supposed to be more huge and over-the-top but instead it ended up just looking super-girly. The overall effect is still ridiculously cute though. After my kids were in bed the other night, I kept staring at these pictures trying to figure out how this little person can look so fetching and sweet and still spend what seems like an entire day whining and crying at me until I want to pull my hair out. That’s what being two is all about I guess. And being a mom, too, really. I still love her so much it hurts.

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KNITerview with Meg of Elsie Marley

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Please welcome today’s KNITerviewee, Meg of Elsie Marley!

I love Meg’s thrifted-modern style and her sense of humor. It’s hard to explain, but her voice is so different and refreshing from anything else out there, making her blog a must-read for me. Meg invented the fantastic Kids Clothes Week Challenges online that so many of us have come to love and anticipate over the last few years. Another thing I love about Meg is that she is never afraid to try new things, and even better, she is always brutally honest and hilarious when things don’t work out. I love the eclectic feel her blog has, everything from crochet to kids room decor to sewing. Be sure to check Elsie Marley out if you haven’t already!

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Here’s our interview about knits:

RAE: Did you ever FEAR knits?

MEG: Yes! I thought you couldn’t sew knits successfully on a regular sewing machine at all. I was so excited when I got my serger, I immediately drafted a t-shirt pattern from one of my favorite tees. Then I grabbed some random knit fabric I had and sewed the sucker up. I do believe there has never been a more sad, potato sack of a shirt. Oh, the shirt was so bad. I didn’t know there was such a range of knit fabrics, which is silly because it’s most of what I wear. Interlock doesn’t behave the same way jersey does, duh. It’s the same with wovens: different kinds are suited to different projects.

RAE: Do you remember a specific turning point?

MEG: When I realized I need to find the right material for the right project. Then things just work. Honestly, I think this is true for any sewing project–woven or knit. Quilting cottons can be super cute, but they make crap pants.

RAE: What types of projects do you usually sew with knit fabric?

MEG: I use a lot of old t-shirts. They have been washed over and over again, so I have a sense of how the fabric actually behaves.

RAE: Do you prefer sewing with knits or wovens?

MEG: I don’t know. Again, if the fabric is right for the project, then I’m probably having a good time.

RAE: Do you have a preference for sewing with a particular type of knit?

MEG: I use most of them. I haven’t made a swimsuit yet or tackled my favorite knit material of all–that super thin tissue-y stuff that the extra expensive t-shirts are made of. I mean it’s got to be like sewing with kleenex!

RAE: Where do you usually buy your knits?

MEG: I get the t-shirts I use at this bizarre place called the Dig & Save. There are vats–really vats–of all kinds of clothes and you, well, dig through them. Then you pay for whatever you’ve got by the pound (half price Wednesday!). The fabric is so cheap I don’t feel that awful pressure not to screw up when I’m sewing with them.

RAE: Any hints for buying knits online?

MEG: I don’t buy a lot of fabric online in general, but I have bought knits from one place online: Girl Charlee Fabrics. They have a huge selection of many different kinds of knit fabrics. And many have pretty fantastic prints on them too.

RAE: What brand/model machine do you use primarily when you sew with knits? Do you recommend it?

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MEG: My sewing machine is a super duper basic model by Kenmore, which is made by Janome. I recommend it without reservations. It doesn’t do a lot, but everything I’ve sewn I’ve sewn with it.

RAE: Do you use a serger? Do you use it more/less/same as your machine when it comes to sewing knits?

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MEG: A few years ago our local sewing machine shop was going out of business and unbeknownst to me, my lovely husband bought the last floor model in the shop (Bernina 700D). The serger looks a little sad–there was a part that kept falling off, so I glued it, and glued it again, and finally had to tie it on with a scrap of fabric. Classy, right? But it sews like a dream.

When I first got a serger I used it for everything, but I found that a lot of my seams on knit garments were tearing after a while–especially on my kids’ clothes–so now I sew all seams with my sewing machine and finished everything off with the serger.

RAE: Do you have a “default setting” that you use when you’re sewing with knits?

MEG: I think I maybe set my stitch length a bit longer on my sewing machine, but otherwise everything is much the same.

RAE: Walking foot?

MEG: If I have it on then I’ll use it, but I probably won’t get it out unless I am extra nervous.

RAE: Do you have a trick or tip for sewing with knits you’ve found helpful?

MEG: I usually trace my patterns on to freezer paper when I’m sewing with knits. Pinning is a pain, but especially with knits. You iron freezer paper on, so there is no pinning, and it can be used again and again. Make sure your scissors are nice and sharp because cutting knits can be tricky–knits are shifty suckers. Whenever I am feeling intimidated by a fabric or a project I go back and read this post about learning how to sew by Sooz. Makes me feel better every time.

RAE: Thanks so much Meg!

You can visit Meg over at her blog, Elsie Marley. And hey look, today Meg posted about the undies she just made. With KNITS! So head over

To see all of the KNITerviews and other posts in this series, click here!

Posted in knits
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Whale skinny tee

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Here’s what I made with my new whale knit from Spoonflower, a little skinny tee for Clementine:

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There’s something really fun about a skinny tee — it’s retro and hip and can be varied in so many ways. This particular tee is one in a series of skinny tees I’ve made for my kids over the last couple of weeks to test the pattern, which I plan to release in the very near future (so stay tuned for that, YAY!). It’s become a bit of an obsession as I’ve made no less than eight (!) versions in an effort to get the fit just right. It’s been great practice for trying out some new knit techniques too!

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The green pants are also a recent finish. I actually made a pair for both kids (I’ll show you Elliot’s some other time) and it is pretty hilarious when they wear them at the same time. The pattern came from the lovely Deborah of Whipstitch’s Sewing for Kids eCourse last spring (ooh, just looked and she’s offering it again this year!!). She calls it “The Perfect Pant” and if my children’s preferences are any indication, the fact that they both wear their green pants nearly every day means they agree. Seriously, Elliot pulled his green pants out again this morning for the THIRD DAY IN A ROW and I was like, DUDE, can we wear a different pair of pants today, PLEASE? Don’t get me wrong, I love me some bright green pants, but let’s mix it up a little bit here, child.

For some reason they always look radioactive when I photograph them by themselves:

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Elliot used to be the one who put up a fight when he got dressed in the morning, and Clementine was so easy, she would just put anything on without argument. Now that she’s dressing herself and Elliot’s mellowed out (a little) with age, the roles have totally reversed: Clementine’s suddenly got a serious opinion about everything in her closet, and Elliot is like, “whatever, sure.” I need to start remembering some of the tricks I used with Elliot for Clementine though, because otherwise some of her clothes are never going to see the light of day. I can’t even remember what her objection to this whale tee was now, but it took a bit of coaxing to get it on her, little stinker.

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KNITerview with Dana of MADE

Please welcome today’s KNITerviewee, Dana of MADE!

I’m excited to introduce you to our “knit expert” of the day, Dana Willard! Dana’s blog, MADE, is full of inspiration and is one of the most popular DIY sites in the blogosphere. Dana loves the bold colors (yay!), has an amazing eye for photography, and plenty of mad sewing/crafting/cooking skills. I love that she approaches knits with the same “make it as simple as possible” approach she’s taken with everything she does, one of the many reasons her blog has been such a huge success. Her 90-minute shirt tutorial (introduced for our very first Celebrate the BOY series a couple years ago) was an instant hit and turned so many people on to sewing knits, which I think is downright fantastic!

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Here’s our interview about knits:

RAE: Did you ever FEAR knits?

DANA: You know, not really.  I remember sewing with some stable knits (non-stretchy) back when I was a teenager to make simple tops.  So I think I’ve always just lumped knits in with all the other fabrics. It wasn’t until I started blogging/sharing projects that I often heard readers say, “I’m so scared to sew with knits!!  Do you have any pointers??!” And I was kind of surprised….maybe because my approach to sewing is to just jump in and try something.  When a fabric catches my eye (especially if it’s a fiber I’ve never used before), I can’t wait to try it out and see what it does. What’s the worse than can happen?  Your machine munches it up into a bazillion ruffles and you have to toss it in the can? Yea, that kind of sucks. But really it’s just fabric. So go for it! If you’re never sewn with knits, put aside any preconceived notions you’ve heard and try it!  Play naive. Pretend no one’s told you “knits are scary” (cause they’re not). Toss it under your machine and start sewing.

Okay, sorry for the pep talk. I just think no one should be afraid of sewing. Think of it more as an adventure.

RAE: What types of projects do you usually sew with knit fabric?

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{ShortieSprinkle Shirts : Hobo Sack}
{90 min shirtRuched LeggingsErnie and Bert Shirts }

I love to use knits for kids’ shirts, lounging pants, blankets, small bags, bedding, leggings, dresses, blah, blah, blah.  And I always keep the scraps on-hand to use for T-shirt appliques.  You never know when you’ll need a smidgen of red for Ernie’s nose.

RAE: Do you prefer sewing with knits or sewing with wovens?

DANA: I love them both equally.  But since I prefer simple patterns on fabric, I’m often drawn to the stripes, dots, and solids that knits typically come in.  And sometimes I like to mix knits and wovens together:

If I had to break it into percentages though, I probably sew with knits 1/3 of the time and wovens 2/3 of the time.

RAE: Do you have a preference for sewing with a particular type of knit?

DANA: I really love all types of knits. And guess what (shameless plug)….there’s an entire section in my new book dedicated to knit fabrics, their properties, and tips for sewing with them:

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{Fabrics A to Z }

But here’s the cliff notes version:
Jersey (the standard t-shirt fabric) is used for my kid’s shirts and pants
Jersey with spandex has fantastic stretch and can be a bit slinky.  I used some for my beach cover-up this summer:


Interlock is a bit thicker than Jersey and has less stretch but is great for blankets and lightweight jackets/cardigans
Fleece can be used for so many things…blankets, vests, jackets, pillows, scarves, hats, embellishments.  I love fleece.


Ribbing is used for the cuffs and collars on my kids shirts.  I always love to have a variety of colors on-hand so whenever it’s on sale at the store I buy a 1/2 yard of my favorite shades
Lycra/Spandex is wonderful for swimsuits.


And though you might think it sounds scary…just go for it!  The first time I made a swimsuit I sort of made it up as I went.  And it was really fun!

RAE: Where do you usually buy knits?

DANA:
Thrift Shops: T-shirts from the thrift shop are a fantastic place to find cool prints for kid’s projects
Large Retail sotres: Joanns, Hobby Lobby, etc often have a decent selection of solid interlocks and some jerseys (little by little they’re getting more)
Online stores: Hartsfabric.com and other large shops carry some knits
LA fabric district: This is where I’ve found the most inexpensive place and interesting looking knits.  The Michael Levine store and the FIDM scholarship shop have a good selection and I love being able to touch/see the fabrics before buying/  Check out my detailed post about fabric shopping and the LA fabric district here:FAQ: Fabric Shopping
Swimsuit Fabric: Spandex World is an online shop with tons of options

RAE: What brand/model machine do you use primarily when you sew with knits? Do you recommend it? Are there things you still wish it could do?

DANA: I use a Bernina sewing machine and serger.  My machine is nothing fancy, in fact it’s not even digital!  But it’s sturdy, all-metal, and a good workhorse.  In my opinion all you really need when it comes to sewing (unless you’re into quilting and embroidery) is a standard stitch, zigzag stitch, and button hole options.

RAE: Do you use a serger? Do you use it more/less/same as your machine when it comes to sewing knits?

DANA: Yes, but mostly to finish off the edges of my projects. I actually sew my knit projects with a standard machine. People often ask why I don’t sew exclusively with the serger and skip the machine step all together. The reasoning is this….
When you sew with a serger, the results are pretty final.  There’s a small knife in the machine that cuts and trims the edge of the fabric as you go.  So if you make a mistake, A) it’s much harder to pick out an overlock stitch (which uses 3-4 threads) and B) once the fabric edge is cut, there’s no going back or letting out the fabric.  So I like to sew with my standard machine first–even for knits!–and when I have the project where I’d like it, I serge off the edges for a nice, polished look. You see, you don’t even need a serger to get started with knits…especially since the edges of the fabric won’t fray or look messy.

RAE: Do you have a “default setting” that you use when you’re sewing with knits? (I’m thinking stitch type, length, width here)

DANA: Not really. Again, I’m a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants sewer. I’m supposed to tell you fancy things like use a ball needle or a walking foot but I don’t do either. I just sew with a normal needle, normal sewing machine, standard foot, and get going. And it works!

MY BEST ADVICE though for sewing with knits is NOT to tug on the fabric as you go.  Let the fabric feed itself through the machine.  If you tug it, the fabric will stretch and pucker (unless that’s the look you’re going for).  When using knits as applique (such as the ernie shirt or leaf pillows or knee pads), sew slowly and stop every so often to lift the presser foot and allow the fabric underneath to relax and bounce back in place.  If you try to sew a circle of knit in one big swoop you’ll end up with a wonky looking project.

RAE: Double needle: your thoughts.

DANA: I have one; I’ve never used it (because I hate taking extra steps to do stuff). But I do LOVE the look of a double needle stitch–it looks professional, like retail clothing. So, I just fake it. When finishing off hems on pants and shirts, I sew my first line of the hem then I line the presser foot up about 1/4/ inch over from the first line and sew a second line.  It’s fast; it works.
And that’s about it!

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RAE: Thanks so much Dana for all of your fantastic tips. I love your keep-it-simple philosophy!!

DANA: Thanks Rae for having me! And good luck everyone with your knits! Actually, I take that back. No luck needed. You can do it! Start sewing!

You can find Dana over at her blog, MADE. For the rest of the KNITerview posts in this series, click here!

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KNITerview with Kristin of skirt as top

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Please welcome today’s KNITerviewee, Kristin of skirt as top!

I was flabbergasted to discover the other day as I read Kristin’s year-end 2011 wrap-up post that she’s been blogging for less than a year! WHA?? After I got over my shock, I was super-impressed. Kristin’s already proven that she’s a skilled and prolific seamstress and is incredibly creative when it comes to sewing for her littles (if you want to see all of her projects from 2011, that wrap-up post is a fun read, this jacket is also a favorite of mine). And you also may have noticed that Kristin’s one of the current Project Run and Play contestants, so be sure to follow her blog and the competition to see more exciting things from her!

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Here’s our interview about knits:

RAE: Did you ever FEAR knits?

KRISTIN: Probably not as much as I should! I seem to have a “trial and error” approach to knit sewing, unlike my normal approach to sewing which is to follow patterns and the “proper” way to do things much more precisely the first time.  With knits, I’ve been content to learn as I go – which is likely a testament to how forgiving knits actually are, though there were some wonky hems and popped seams along the way!

RAE: Do you remember a specific turning point?

KRISTIN: Getting my serger finally threaded and running was a big turning point in sewing with knits more often – it’s so easy to whip something up when the seams are sewn and finished all in one pass, and it feels like I’m doing things “the right way” now.

RAE: What types of projects do you usually sew with knit fabric?

I started by adding appliqué to onesies (a good way to “dip my toe in” with knit sewing), but now have sewn kid shirts, sweatshirts, skirts, winter hats, and pajamas. Kid’s clothes are the perfect chance to sew with knits since they’re stretchy and comfy, and I think pajamas are great to practice on since they’re (usually) not (often) worn out of the house!

RAE: Do you prefer sewing with knits or sewing with wovens?

I prefer wovens for the wider selection of prints and the fact that it’s easier to get a cleaner, more professional-looking finish on a woven hem. It’s sometimes difficult to hem knits without them looking wonky.  I think I’m actually more critical of stray threads and irregular stitches on my home-sewn clothes than storebought ones, so I want to make sure I can get a nice finish on my garments.  I often use existing factory hems when I sew with upcycled knits – aside from saving time, the finish looks great.

RAE: Do you have a preference for sewing with a particular type of knit?

I prefer interlock for its heavier weight and ease of sewing, but jersey isn’t as frustrating since I fired up my serger.  You’ve gotta use lots of pins on knits in general and especially on fleece, but I love it for its coziness and warmth.

RAE: Do you have a place where you usually buy knits?

KRISTIN: BY FAR my biggest source of knit fabric is repurposed men’s sweaters and shirts. My husband has old sweaters and t-shirts that have lost their shape over time, get a hole or a stain, or fall out of favor for some reason, and I consider these gold! He’s given me a few heavyweight brushed cotton interlock sweaters that are especially wonderful to sew with.

If I don’t have sweaters/shirts of my husband’s to cannibalize, I check out the Old Navy or Target sale section (online, too!). I can get an XXXL men’s t-shirt or sweater for $5 or less, and it’s more than enough fabric to make a garment for a baby/preschooler. I bet you could even squeeze a ladies’ size top out of one, if you try. Buy the biggest size shirt you can! It costs no more, but gets you maximum yardage.

I also have trouble finding good prints (especially boy prints) of knit fabric at fabric stores, but can find nice basic stripes or other “boy-friendly” prints on men’s t-shirts and sweatshirts.

RAE: What brand/model machine do you use primarily when you sew with knits? Do you recommend it? Are there things you still wish it could do?

KRISTIN: My sewing machine is an almost 3 year old Brother CS6000i. It gets the job done fine. A ballpoint needle is a must, as is reinforcing seams. You’d think that you should be able to skip that step with knits, but I’ve found that the garment lasts a lot longer if I zigzag seams together, especially on a lighter-weight knit fabric like a t-shirt jersey.

RAE: Do you use a serger? Do you use it more/less/same as your machine when it comes to sewing knits?

KRISTIN: YES! I loooove my serger for sewing with knits – it’s so fast and feels so finished. My serger is a Brother 1034D. I had it for about a year before I finally had space in my sewing room and worked up the nerve to thread it, and now I wonder why I waited so long! Definitely a great birthday/Christmas wish list item.  Positioning them right next to each other is very helpful.

RAE: Do you have a “default setting” that you use when you’re sewing with knits?

KRISTIN: I sometimes lengthen the stitch length to 3.0 or 3.5, but not always. I actually don’t like zigzags showing because I want my knit hems to look like a coverstitch machine did them, so I use a straight stitch on the outside of my garments. The insides are a different story.  Serger all the way!

RAE: Walking foot: yes or no?

KRISTIN: I’ve never used a walking foot for knits – my regular foot works for me.

RAE: Double needle: your thoughts.

KRISTIN: I’ve never used one, but I’d like to try someday. I tend to sew a second line of stitching 1/8” from my first one for a “mock coverstitch” look on hems.

RAE: Do you have a trick or tip for sewing with knits you’ve found helpful?

KRISTIN: The biggest lesson when learning to sew with knits is to just let the machine do the work. There’s a temptation to pull or stretch the fabric as you sew, and this is generally a bad idea (unless the pattern specifically calls for it!).

I think adding strips of fusible interfacing on the wrong side of the fabric before you sew buttonholes is a smart way to avoid stretching.  The Oliver + S sailboat top pattern called for that in the instructions, and the buttonholes turned out great.

I also like either using facings/linings to finish the sleeves and hems, or adding cuffs. Cuffs on knits are so easy to add, and give you a finished garment that looks store-bought (especially on pajamas).  Check out the left sidebar of Piccoli Piselli for a simple tutorial on adding cuffs.

RAE: Thanks for being here today, Kristin, and for all the great tips!

KRISTIN: Thanks so much for KNITerviewing me, Rae!

Visit Kristin at skirt as top today for a project she sewed especially for this KNITerview:
“… an Oliver + S Hopscotch Dress (nightgown) with elephant applique for my elephant-loving girl!  I made it from a sale rack men’s t-shirt and a promotional energy drink tank top.  I took some photos of my process as I made it and I share some additional tips for cutting your pattern on that wily jersey knit and preserving those factory hems!”

{Click on the image above to head over to skirt as top!}

To see all of the KNITerviews and other posts in this series, click here!

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KNIT project: Little Yellow Fleece Jacket

Have you noticed I’ve been sneaking alot of random posts (ie not-related-to-knits) in lately? Yeah, I didn’t think anyone would really care. But also, it’s really hard for me to only post about just one topic. I also cannot help it if I am suddenly addicted to knitting and crochet. BUT!!! I do want to say that we still have MORE awesome KNITerviews coming up this week and next week. I also have some knit technique posts up my sleeve. In summary: KNIT’s not over yet!

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[Also, can I just say that I think it is hilarious that there were more comments on the laundry chute post than on all of the KNIT-erview posts combined so far? This is not completely unprecedented (guest and tutorial posts don't usually get as many comments) but I sincerely hope that means that people are clicking over to our guests' blogs to check them out. Possibly the KNIT-erviews just don't leave you with much to say? Or you just really want to talk about your laundry chute!!!]

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Although I’ve produced little evidence to show for it, I really have been sewing lots of knit stuff lately and can’t wait to show you it all and talk about some of my knit tricks, etc, etc. The pictures in this post (if not the words) are of one of my recent knit project, a fleece jacket for Miss C, which as you can see coordinates swimmingly with her new crochet hat.

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Fleece IS technically a knit fabric (woven fleece also exists but the poly-stuff you buy at Joann is knit), although it almost belongs in its own category. Still, some of the same rules apply to fleece as to knits: a walking foot on your machine helps keep the layers from sliding past each other and a stretch needle is also important. I think it’s a nice place to start if you’re a beginner and you want to break into knits gently.

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The pattern is from Sewing for Boys by Karen and Shelly, the former Patterns by Figgys gals. I’ve talked about this book already here and here and here, but this is my first “girl project” from the book. This particular pattern is called the “2-in-1 jacket” (here’s a picture of the boy version) because it’s supposed to be reversible, but I still haven’t hand-sewn the hole on the inside of the lining that I used to turn it right-side-out shut yet, so let’s just say the solid side will probably never see the light of day. Hee. Anyway, it’s a great pattern, simple to sew, and super cute!

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One last thing. I would like to casually mention that our Christmas Tree is still up. I mentioned on Facebook last week that I was going to OUTLAST ALL OF YOU and I just needed to remind everyone, just in case anyone thought I had given in. That is all.

Stop by tomorrow for another fantastic KNITerview!

Dear Knitting, I’ve been cheating on you.

I know we’ve been spending alot of time together lately. We even made big plans. But I need to be honest: there’s a new love in my life:

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CROCHET.

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I’m hooked.

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I still think you’re really swell. Can we just be friends???

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xoxo, Rae.

PS. If you need sometone to blame, blame this book, Meg for tempting me with all her crochet posts, or my Crochet Board. I feel strongly that all are equally culpible.

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(someone really needed to do a little chalk drawing himself after he saw me drawing those hearts)