Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Loose grip

Peony vest and Odette shirt from The Sewing Workshop

I've just completed some small skirmishes with knits. Knits are like that for me. Perfect for travel. Great for 3 seasons of wear.  And I enjoy buying them. But sewing's always dicey.

Each type of knit behaves differently. Even the same type of knit varies from piece to piece. The drape, the amount of stretch, whether pressing is possible or useful, the stitch - so many variables. And unpredictable.

So I'm trying to loosen up a bit. After all - these are just clothes!

First up, 3 pairs of Helix knit pants: black, plum, and gray ponte knit. These were sort-of straight-forward and I made them in a quasi production mode. Darts, inseams, top-stitch inseams, outer seams, hems, and then crotch seams.

Helix pants - super easy to make

The only time I hold my breath with the Helix pants is when I attach the elastic waistband. It is attached by first sewing the 3 inch elastic into a circle. Then the top edge of the pants is lapped under the right side of the elastic circle and stitched in place. Because the elastic circle is a bit smaller than the top of the pants, a little stretch-and-sew is required. And the lapping wants to separate or the lapping grows too large. Pants #1 took about an hour on the waistband. Sheesh!!

I thought, maybe I should make a more conventional covered elastic waistline. I thought that until I tried on the finished Pants #1. I love the way that waistline looks and fits. A conventional elastic waistband is so much more bulky and looks more home-made, I think.

So Pants #2 and Pants #3 were finished with the same lapping technique as Pants #1. I tried to loosen my grip and pretend to be less of control freak. It worked!

Having warmed up with a stable knit, I was ready to work with a more challenging knit.

I had purchased a medium weight jersey at a tag sale a while back, so I'm uncertain of its content. It feels a lot like super soft rayon jersey. It curls a little - just a enough to tell the right side from the wrong . It has a slight tendency to get sucked into the sewing machine, though use of my walking foot fixed that problem. In fact, the walking foot seems to be the answer with knits, no matter the question.

Odette shirt from the Sewing Workshop

I made the Odette shirt from the Sewing Workshop, one I've made before. I like the result but I'm amazed at how much bigger it is than my previous Odette.

my new Odette
I reversed the pieces - it mirrors the older one below.

My older Odette
The new one is quite a bit larger than the older one. I think that both knits are rayon jersey but they feel, stretch and drape in very different ways. The white one is quite stable, almost like cotton.

I am not ready to give up on knits. In fact, I think I actually like knits. And I'll enjoy wearing the orange one. Here is how it works with my latest Peony vest:


  1. Love your new top!
    Yes, knits are quite a challenge. You just think that you have them all figured out, and then some new "problem" comes along.

  2. I love knits and I mostly love sewing with them, BUT, you are correct--they are all a bit different! I'd say you have success.

  3. Great makes! and you did a nice job with the knits...they can be finicky but I always feel so successful when they work for me! Love the white top...

  4. I love your dress style - casual but yet so unique and you look so comfortable in your clothes. An Inspiration to us all.

  5. I do love the Odette pattern and yours are both lovely - stylish and smart. It works really well with the Peony vest. This is a pattern I must investigate!

  6. I love that you are blogging more !!! Your recent tops are very, very stylish & I always appreciate the tips you give !

    fabric stores

  7. I just returned from Linda's workshop there at her studio in Topeka. We had so much fun. Instead of Sewing, I indulged in trying on her enormous stock of all sizes in all her patterns. I wanted to know how they fit my body, draped, where to alter,etc. She let me go to the basement and study the oop patterns. There were several I wish she would bring back. There were 12 of us, laughing, working, learning. She has lots of fabrics, so we got hands on with the blends to see how they react. Very informative and inspirational.