|Handling Tricky Knits
I've been sewing on some knit fabrics that present challenges, here are some ways I workaround them.
This linen knit shown here is gorgeous, has a fabulous drape and a very appealing pure linen texture. It is also semi sheer, light weight, has some rolling at the cut edge and the biggest problem is that it does not have good recovery, which means that when stitched on the cross grain it stretches easily. The lengthwise grain is not such a problem. I chose a design that had a lot of crossgrain seaming.
I used this fabric for a future Vogue pattern, so can't show the garment, but I can share what I learned. Taking my own advise, I made a test seam to see what would happen and it was NOT a pretty picture. It stretched, puckered and pressing did not redeem things. Meh, I wanted to abandon the project.
Then I had an aha moment....Totally Stable made this into a non-problem! I'm using it with many other tricky knits like thin tissue knits and slippery knits too.
While you can use tissue paper or even computer paper, Totally Stable works like a charm because it is designed as a tear-away for machine embroiderers. It is a fusible too, but I ignore that entirely. One side has a light fusible and is slightly shiny, the other is matte. It comes in white and black.
It does not matter which side is up. I cut it into 1" strips, and on a long seam, just overlap the strips. It tears away easily, does not get caught in the stitching, even tiny stitches.
|I cut the strips in 1" widths, place on top of the area to be sewn and stitch away. Easy. Even works on curves....the Totally Stable is soft and a bit malleable.|
|Tear it away, it sort of dissolves. If some remains in the stitches it is easy to pull out....which is not the case with other papers.|
|The seam with the Totally Stable removed, before being pressed....it is perfect!|
|I used the Totally Stable to make French seams, found it an aid in trimming the seam to an even width. Trimmed first, then pulled away the stabilizer. ...SWEET AND EASY!!!|
|Cutting Tricky Knits
While I was in the midst of sewing this project, I received an e-mail from my friend Jan, who was encountering her own challenges with a soft rayon knit.
Today I'm cutting out the Japanese Patchwork knit for another Vogue 8817This fabric is so soft and luxurious - will be like wearing my favorite PJs, but laying it out is a nightmare! I wondered what you would think of doing a piece in your newsletter giving your readers a few hints and tips for laying out knits. Of course, the more stable knits are not much different from wovens, but I sure could have used a sewing elf on my shoulder this morning giving me some guidance.
I'm guessing these are some issues:
- fabric sticks together
- where is the grain?
- fabric moves around before, during and after cutting
- rolls at the cut edge
Put a layer of paper on the cutting table. (surgical table paper, patternmaking paper). Tape together as needed so you have one sheet. Lay the fabric on top of this. Get it as smooth as you can, eyeballing the straight of grain...then I use my metal yard stick to smooth it out more, to slip in between the layers.
With knits, I place the straight of grain marking along a rib of the knit (rather than measuring from the fold or selvedge). Eyeball this, getting as close as you can.
I usually cut double layers if I can. cut through all the layers, never mind that it might dull your scissors a bit, it is worth it. The paper holds the fabric in place both while cutting and allows you to move the pattern pieces around once you've cut.
|Sewing Tricky Knits
See an earlier tutorial: Tips on Designing and Sewing With Knitsfor more info on handling those pesky rolling edges!