Friday, April 3, 2009

Stretch Assignment

In my sewing adventures, I haven't really worked with knit fabrics yet. Sure I've altered a few knit garments that I own, but I've been a bit intimidated about doing a full fledged knit project. So, to help me get over that hump, I bought Sewing with Knits, which many sewists regard it as the definitive guide to knits.
It hasn't been updated since 2000, so the styles are pretty dated. However, the advice is detailed, yet easy to grasp, and sound. Knits present some challenges: they stretch when you pull on them so it is easy to distort or stretch the fabric while cutting and sewing, seams have to stretch along with the fabric or they will break, and most knits don't hold a crease, so you can't turn and press a hem. However, on the plus side, knits are easy to fit since they have so much give, and their construction is usually pretty simple since they don't generally have structural elements like darts, or even zippers or buttons in many cases.

Anyway, I have some black jersey tucked away in my stash, but before I get to that I am going to take a page from 2BSewing's book and remake an oversize, boxy tee shirt into a more pleasing form as my first knit project. Here is my "before" tee shirt - it was given to me when I completed my scuba diving certification, inducting me into the KCD dive family. It's been sitting in a drawer since it's too boxy/baggy. I usually get rid of things that don't fit well, but if I could convert this into something that I could wear to the beach or on a dive boat, it would be fantastic.

A rectangle with sleeves. Um, yes... those are deodorant marks...

If this works out, Phineas may have to pad lock his teeshirt drawer. (My love, consider yourself forewarned.)


2BSewing: said...

That's an excellent book (& hard to find). It's my bible for working with knits. Makes for great late night reading. :)

Connie Long lives in MD and she often teaches a class at the G-Street Rockville store. Now that I have some time on my hands...I plan on taking one of her classes.

Don't forget those kinds of t-shirts (like your blue one) doesn't have much stretch in the fabric. I ended up using a size Medium pattern when I typically use a Small.

Also, knit patterns have negative ease built into them. My full bust measurement is around 36". For a "fitted" T-shirt (e.g. Cotton with Lycra), I can usually go with a finished garment bust of 33-34". As the finished garment bust gets closer to my 36" bust, the fit gets a bit looser.

My Medium t-shirt pattern (from my blog) has a finished bust of 39-1/2". So I end up with 3-1/2" of positive ease which I need for a non-stretch knit fabric.

I hope this helps. ;)

Clio said...

Thanks! Very helpful!

I found the book on - my go to place for out-of-print books.