KNITerview with Sophie of Cirque du bebe

Welcome Sophie of Cirque du bebe, our first KNITerviewee!


Sophie’s blog is a favorite of mine, and I especially adore the bright colors she chooses when sewing for her little bebe. I always crack up at the hilarious/awesome names she gives her projects. If you don’t read her blog yet, definitely add it to your list!

Here’s our interview about knits:

RAE: Did you ever FEAR knits? If so, do you remember a specific turning point?
SOPHIE: Knits WERE scary. The turning point was Dana’s 90 minute shirt tutorial. I had put it in the pile of ‘maybe one day I’ll be ready for knit fabric’ but then I decided to give it a go and was surprised by how smoothly it went. However, this also coincided with the purchase of a new sewing machine (instead of my mum’s 30 year old Elna) with a walking foot.

RAE: What types of projects do you usually sew with knit fabric?
SOPHIE: When sewing with knit fabric I love to re-fashion thrift store t-shirts into clothes for my boys. Its the print of the shirt that I pay most attention to so it often happens that I get them home and find that I’ve ended up with a variety of knit fabrics and just have to jump in. In this way I’ve learned how to manage the different knit fabric as I go.

This stripey shirt was a women’s casual top re-fashion and super stretchy. I was prepared for trouble but it gave none whatsoever, and I thought to add cotton stay tape to the should seams as a mere precaution for the wear and tear it was going to receive.

The knit fabric for ‘Monsieur Moustache‘ was slightly more stable to work with, but still stretchier than say a men’s t-shirt.

Head in the clouds‘ uses interlock cotton knit for the body of the hoodie, and is by far the easiest knit fabric to use because it behaves the most like woven fabric.

RAE: Do you prefer sewing with knits or sewing with wovens?
SOPHIE:  The love I have for sewing with knits is on par with woven, no dramas so far.

RAE: Do you have a preference for sewing with a particular type of knit?
SOPHIE:  I am yet to try sewing with Jersey. This is when the wheels might fall off the wagon. Up until now, I have mostly used more stable knit fabric like interlock, though have had success with cotton rib knit also.

RAE: Do you have a place where you usually buy knits?
SOPHIE:  I have found the most interesting knit fabric from thrift stores since the selection at my local fabric shop is usually uninspiring.

RAE: Any hints for buying knits online?
SOPHIE: The supply section of Etsy can turn up some inspiring knit fabrics when you’re looking for yardage.

RAE: What brand/model machine do you use primarily when you sew with knits? Do you recommend it?
SOPHIE: I sew with a two year old Janome DC2400 and she does knits like a dream.

RAE: Do you use a serger? Do you use it more/less/same as your machine when it comes to sewing knits?
SOPHIE: When sewing with knits I still only use my serger for finishing the edges. I did once attempt to just use the serger but it pulled the fabric, and the walking foot on my sewing machine lets the fabric through without dramas.

RAE: Do you have a “default setting” that you use when you’re sewing with knits? (I’m thinking stitch type, length, width here)
SOPHIE: I’ve often seen recommendations to use zig zag stitch, but I have had the most success by not changing anything at all, just a regular stitch, stitch length and cotton.

RAE: Walking foot? Yay or nay?
SOPHIE: I can attribute all success with sewing with knits to the walking foot.

RAE: Do you have a trick or tip for sewing with knits you’ve found helpful?
SOPHIE: Two invaluable hints for sewing with knits I’ve discovered along the way: When adding a button, I make the button hole slightly smaller than it should be to avoid inevitable button hole gape-age that can happen with knits. I do this by putting a slightly smaller button than the one I use in the button hole foot. I have also started using cotton stay tape (or sturdy linen ribbon) on the shoulder seams if the fabric is really stretchy, like a rib knit.

RAE: Thank you Sophie!!!

Today Sophie’s posting about her latest knit creation, this adorable cardigan! Be sure to hop over to Cirque du Bebe to check it out!



Go to Cirque du Bebe

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

13 thoughts on “KNITerview with Sophie of Cirque du bebe

  1. I’m going to check out her blog right now! I’ve thought about getting a walking foot, but I decided to wait a bit and make sure I would actually use it since they seem to be a little expensive.

    • Hi Kristen:
      YES, they can be expensive (especially if you have a Bernina like I do — I got a “deal” on mine but still paid $170 I think…ACK!!!) but I have seen people talking about a “universal” walking foot that’s more like $10. Worth looking into!

  2. Thanks for all your helpful information on sewing with knit fabrics! I look forward to the other kniterviews to inspire me to give knit fabrics a try!

  3. Inspired by the KNITerviews I dove in and made a tee-shirt for my son last night. An envelope tee from Growing Up Sew Liberated. There was some minor drama with a sewing machine jam during the hemming process that a walking foot might have prevented but otherwise it went pretty well. I’m so excited I’ve already cut some fabric out to make one for my daughter. Can’t wait to check out Sophie’s blog for more inspiration!

  4. Rae…I am loving the KNITterview….I am loving sewing knits so I love other expert advice!!! Thanks much…you do such a great job! Still trying to get more fun knits into our shop! (

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