Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Sewing with Knits

Swing Tee (cotton knit) with Pencil Pants (ponte)
This is not my first choice for sewing. Knits are simultaneously intimidating and mind-numbing, IMO. I guess that says something about me. I love linen - so predictable, so obedient, just right for little details. But sometimes I find myself sewing with knits.

I subscribe to Sew Confident! which is an annual subscription service from the Sewing Workshop (TSW). As I've said before, I am a Sewing Workshop groupie. I have been since some time back in the 90s when I found this weird pattern called the cocoon coat in my local fabric shop. It was back when I really did have a local fabric shop about 3 miles from my home.

But I digress. It seems that knit garments form a significant portion of the Sew Confident! repertoire for 2018. I have fought this, as in making the Picasso top out of a woven fabric even though knits are recommended. It worked but when I finally made it out of a knit, I loved that one best.

The most recent edition of Sew Confident! includes modifications to the Swing Tee which was introduced in the January 2018 edition. I had skipped over that pattern for a variety of reasons including the fact that I have several basic tee patterns I like OK. When I saw the modifications, I decided I needed to make the original Swing Tee. So here it is.

And, yes, I love it.

My first Swing Tee goes perfectly with my first pair of Pencil Pants, another pattern I ignored initially. I knew I'd make the Pencil Pants eventually. At first I thought they were too similar to the Helix pants which I've used over and over again. However they have a slightly different shape - more narrow at the ankle - and I like the waistband finish much better.

Helix pants: uses wide elastic that is not covered, smooths nicely when worn
The waistband finish on the Helix wears beautifully but it's a bit of a pain to install. The waistband finish on the Pencil Pants is easier to finish, I think, and I like where it sits on my so-called waistline. These are made with a beefy navy blue ponte. I made them a little too large so I'll take them up before I fill them out!

Pencil Pants: elastic enclosed like a yoga pant, also smooths when worn
I have to admit that the Swing Tee is also quite nice. I like the tunic length, as well as the fit at the shoulders. I changed the neckline from a basic crew to a bateau neckline. I used the neckline in the Picasso top to create that. I lengthened the sleeves, one of the changes in the current issue of Sew Confident!

Because I chose a horizontal cotton stripe, I also changed the hemline. It is a lovely curve, but I wanted my stripes to go straight across. I added one pocket near the hem and a patch at the back shoulder. Horizontal stripes may not be my best look, but I've always loved a simple nautical navy and white stripe (*).

I'm happy with this!

* I think I'll open the side seams to create deep vents. Then I can angle the corner at a 45 degree angle which may be more slimming and less jarring than a curved hem. There's always time re-sew.


  1. Lovely top and kudos for working with knits! I'm still trying to figure out if I can finagle a Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater in a woven but I think I can modify a woven pattern to have that funnel neck. Merchant & Mills Top 64 maybe?
    Happy creating Martha!

  2. I love your modifications & ideas for modifications of the swing tee. Your tee is definitely a cut above the usual.

    I made that cocoon coat way back when. It heralded an exciting new era in sewing patterns.

  3. I have loved my Swing Tees this summer and am eager to do one with long sleeves. I'll be eager to see your angled hem modification-- that sounds very, very interesting and could just make this my favorite garment in my whole closet. You do such fine work! Thank you for sharing all this.

  4. I love your style so much! Everything you sew turns out so lovely!