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Sewing with knits, a two piece set

Knits form a large part of our wardrobe, from knickers to t'shirts, lounge wear to jumpers, knits are a go to for comfortable, easy wear garments. Sewing with them can be daunting though. There are a few easy things to keep in mind to make sewing with knits a breeze.

The first thing to consider is if the fabric you've chosen is suitable for your pattern. Some patterns will call for one way, two way, or even 4 way stretch, and you will need to source your fabric accordingly. The weight is also important. Are you looking for a stable knit, or one that drapes? This will be noted in the product listing.

For example, for this project I was after a knit with good two or four way stretch with nice drape. I went for our Henna floral printed jersey It has a lovely drape and great stretch. There is a great selection of knits currently on sale for $6 a metre that would work well for this project, you'll find them here

I used a tights pattern and knit top for this project. I hacked the pattern by cutting the legs of the pants straight down from the hip point to create a wide leg trouser. The top was also hacked, slicing down the front to create a v neck front opening. I went 3 sizes bigger in the top for a slouchy oversized look.

When sewing knits you need to be mindful of your needle selection. A jersey or ball point needle is required, the rounded tip of the needle slips between the knit fibres rather than through them, giving you nice, neat stitches.

The size needle will depend on the weight of your fabric as it does when sewing wovens. For this project I used a ballpoint 70

The overlocker is your friend when sewing knits!

You can run up whole garments on a 4 thread overlocker in minutes. That said, if you don't have an overlocker sewing with knits on a normal machine is great too.

A narrow zigzag is perfect for seams, I like to use a 1.5-2.5mm length and width.

You can also use a straight stitch on knits for topstitching and seams that don't need to stretch. You may find the addition of some stay tape helpful for these seams, you can also use clear elastic

Using fine, sharp pins when sewing knits avoids making large holes in your fabric that may be visible. I like these flower head pins

Be sure not to pull or stretch your fabric as you sew, let your machine feed the fabric through. Engaging the differential feed on your machine helps with feeding the fabric through smoothly

Don't be afraid to press your knits! You might be surprised how well they respond to a little heat and steam.

I hope this gives you the confidence to give sewing with knits a try. It's not as difficult as you might think, and the results are speedy and oh so satisfying!

Until next time, happy sewing

Julia x

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