How to Sew Knits

This easy to make dress is a great way to learn to sew with knit fabrics. 

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How to Sew Knits, Tips and Tricks for success

31 Days of Sewing: Day 12

At long last, this knit dress is complete. I have had many obstacles recently, too many to list. It disappoints me that my progress on this 31 Day challenge is a fraction of what it should be.

I will continue nevertheless, but it may be fall by the time I have completed it.

Better late than never as they say.

This dress is Vogue pattern #V8972. I have decided I have a love/hate relationship with it.

I love the style of it.

The color fabric is great.

 

How to Sew Knits|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

Pattern Notes

The dress was easy to fit with the custom fit pattern options (Using your bra cup size).

I hate that the pattern says you can use woven fabrics or knits for this dress. I can’t imagine sewing this pattern with any woven fabric, it wouldn’t work well.

(I chose a Ponte Knit.)

The pattern directions are geared for sewing only a woven dress, not a knit one. (They don’t tell you this.)

So, I realized this too late, after I couldn’t change my mind on how to construct it. (I am slow sometimes.) I am not happy.

Sewing knits isn’t difficult, but it is considerably different than sewing a woven item. I dislike that they don’t include knit sewing directions with this pattern.

How to Sew Knits|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

Here are my tips for sewing knits:

•Use a stretch stitch for sewing the seams. Most machines have one, consult your users manual if you aren’t sure which one it is.

•Don’t bother topstitching the seams. Single needle top stitching doesn’t stretch. It makes no sense to topstitch a stretchy seam with a non-stretchy one. (I realized this too late, my seams were stretched more than they should have been by the topstitching.)

•ou really don’t have to stay stitch anything. The fabric will stretch with or without the stay stitching, it doesn’t really help.

•Eliminate lining the garment. This dress was supposed to be lined, traditional lining doesn’t stretch and therefore doesn’t work well with the knit. Also my Ponte knit was very heavy and I just didn’t think it was necessary.

•Eliminate the back zipper. Stretch knits are easy to pull on without a zipper, plus single needle topstitching the zipper on a knit just doesn’t work that well. It will save you time, headaches and money to not have to install the zipper.

How to Sew Knits|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

•I changed the construction a bit because I didn’t use a lining. I contemplated cutting a neck facing to finish the neckline (which would give this dress a more tailored look, but decided against it. Have I mentioned I dislike facings?

Instead, I decided to take advantage of a Cover Stitch option that I have on my Singer Sewing machine for finishing the seam edges.

•Here’s how it works: I turned down the marked seam allowance at the neck, sleeve hem and dress hem.

•Then I basted them in place with a 3.0 stitch length.

Using a Cover Stitch

From the right side, I went over the first line of stitching with the Cover Stitch. You can do it from the wrong side as well if you choose. The idea is that the cover stitch completely covers the raw edge of the fabric, along with the basting and creates a sporty look on the right side. It is a very durable stitch and stretches nicely with the knit.

How to Sew Knits|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

This technique is usually found on t-shirts and active sportswear. I thought it would be a nice casual touch for this dress.

You can see the topstitching on the bodice seam is a bit stretched out of shape at the shoulder, I don’t care for it and wouldn’t do that again if I remake this dress. Topstitching works great on wovens, just not so well on knits.

Perhaps I am too picky. I can’t help it.

How to Sew Knits|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

I used the same cover stitching on the hem of the dress. Not sure that I love it as much here, the machine didn’t fare well running over those thick side seams.  Alternatively,  I would hand stitch the dress hem in place if you don’t have a cover stitch option.

How to Sew Knits|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

The scarf was one I found at a thrift store. Overall, I think I am going to love this dress with a pair of boots for just about any occasion.

Time to move on to the next project!

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