KNITerview with Jess of Craftiness is not Optional


Let’s welcome Jess of Craftiness is not Optional for the second installment of the KNITerview series! I love Jess’ blog; I admire how prolific she is; she’s a machine when it comes to making and blogging adorable outfits for her three ridiculously cute daughters, and her photography and color choices are downright gorgeous. She’s sewn many knit garments this past year, so I knew she’d be a great person to ask about sewing with knits. Jess also sells PDF sewing patterns for children, with her Nessie Top for knits being the latest release. Welcome Jess!!!


RAE: What’s your favorite thing to sew with knit fabrics?
JESS: Definitely t-shirts! I love the wardrobe versatility they provide for my girls, and they’re so easy to customize. Also, leggings. My girls pretty much live in leggings, so I am always needing to whip up more.

RAE: Do you have a favorite pattern for knit fabrics that you keep coming back to?

JESS: Yes-this sounds totally self-serving, but honestly, my Nessie top pattern is quite a staple around here lately. I’ve made more than a dozen of them and have a bunch more variations floating around in my head just waiting to be sewn! (in fact, I have a tutorial up on my blog today showing how to add a cute bow to it or any tee pattern!) I also love the Skater dress pattern, and have been meaning to make a whole slew of Bimaas.

bow topped Nessie top sewn by craftiness is not optional

RAE: What kind of knit fabric do you like best?

I prefer ponte de roma lately-it’s super soft and has a nice weight that makes it easy to sew. Plus it washes up well! I tend to steer clear of the tissue weight jerseys-that’s just a bunch of grey hairs waiting to happen. I also like to upcycle shirts-either by thrifting them or stealing them from my own closet. The fabric is already pre shrunk for you, and you can re use the hems! This tee below is upcycled and it’s my very favorite upcycle of all the upcycles. (I’m starting to think upcycle is not a word)

kniterview-craftiness is not optional

RAE: Where do you get your knit fabric?

JESS: I get most of my knit fabric from Girl Charlee, Fabricworm, and various shops on Etsy. I also love to carve stamps and print fun designs on solid fabric with fabric paint!

kniterview-craftiness is not optional

delish fabric

RAE: What kind of sewing machine do you have? and do you recommend your machine for knits?

JESS: I have a Bernina 330 and it is great with knits! I used a Brother SE-350 for years and it worked fine…but when I got my Bernina it was like my sewing went to a whole new level.

RAE: What’s the most useful trick in your knit-sewing-toolbag?

JESS: My walking foot-I haven’t used it much with my Bernina but with my Brother I swore up and down and backwards by it. It made feeding the fabric through SO much easier.

RAE: Do you use a serger? Which make/model? Do you recommend it?

JESS: I do-I have the sewing blogger special (haha)-the Brother 1034D. I mainly use it for finishing seams, on wovens and knits alike. I have not had success with sewing things only on my serger-I find that the stitches tend to pull a little and show from the right side…not great when you’re trying to pass something off as professionally made. 🙂 But it’s a great machine for what it does and I haven’t had any problems with it. (knock on wood!)

RAE: Did you find it difficult to learn how to use a serger?

JESS: Not at all. It’s so easy, even I could do it. So that’s saying something, ’cause me and figuring-out-how-things-work don’t always get along. I also serge standing up-is that strange?

RAE: What’s different on your sewing machine when you sew knits vs wovens, in other words — how do you set up your machine to sew knits?

I switch my needle to a ballpoint needle, and sometimes my foot to the walking foot. I don’t use different thread generally…I love using a double needle for hems (and topstitching)-it’s fantastic for that! I sew most of my seams with a zig zag stitch, and finish up with the serger and it looks quite profresh, from the inside. I have a double needle tutorial and sewing with knit tips on my blog!

RAE: Thanks so much for joining in, Jess!

You check out Jess’ patterns and other creations over at Craftiness is Not Optional. Today Jess is posting a bow tutorial for knits that you won’t want to miss, so head on over!

kniterview-craftiness is not optional

kniterview-craftiness is not optional

This is the second of this season’s KNITerviews! You can find the first KNITerview featuring Vanessa of LBG Studio HERE.

And you can find all the posts from the last series HERE.

5 thoughts on “KNITerview with Jess of Craftiness is not Optional

  1. I also serge, and usually sew, standing up! I can easily move to and from the ironing board. My wish is for a chaise in my sewing room for leisurely hand sewing. You gotta have a dream.

  2. This is really making me want to bust out some knits and sew right now! Thanks for a fun interview and inspiring photos, ladies. 🙂

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