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!
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?
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?
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!