Up until 2 years ago I was scared to sew sweater knit fabrics. Sweater knit is really stretchy like regular sweaters. The edges fray like crazy and hemlines can be a challenge. Sizing can be a problem too.
My first knit dress was a total accident. I ordered knit fabric that said medium weight from a popular online store that I’ve named, “Throw Anything in a Box”. When I got my fabric it was anything but regular knit. It was loose weave scary sweater knit. It was supposed to be a cute little 1960s Jackie O suit. I decided I owned the fabric so I should go ahead and try and make something out of it.
I mostly used my serger for construction. If you do not have a serger it helps to have a walking foot and use a zig zag stitch.
To avoid those hems I cut strips and made bindings/casings.
My second project was to take ugly sweaters and make something out of them. On my serger with the differential feed turned up this was an easy fun practice. This is fearless when you have little investment.
My 3rd sweater knit dress I replicated another dress I owned. I was ready to tackle those hemlines. After serging to finish the edges I pressed hemlines with half inch stitch witchery or fusible binding. This stabilized the hem and held it together really well to give a crisp clean hemline. I also did this on the sleeve hems.
At this point I was starting to get creative. I realized I could make pieces double the widths, fold them in half and they would be lined. This dress was just 3 simple pieces, 2 rectangles folded in half and a circle. It is also a good idea to seam in stay tape or ribbon into parts that you do not want to continue to stretch such as shoulders and waistline seams.
This year I am all about the sweater knits. If you can find them woven with double sided prints they are a lot of fun to play with. This was all one fabric piece. I think I used a big box tank pattern, cut my pieces larger and longer to make my black stripe.
My first wool blend sweater knit. It had really loose looped fibers. It was a little tricky because the loops kept getting caught on the foot. You can use tissue paper under your foot or a clear water soluble facing if your fiber can get wet. The other draw back was it was really messy like using faux fur. Purple wool dust fibers were everywhere!
I saved the best for last, this sweater knit has a felt backing for warmth. It was not as stretchy as the other knits were. This also meant I needed to trouble shoot sizing. I decided to use Cashmerete’s wrap dress pattern size 12 to make this sweater. Usually that would be to big for a 32″ chest but her patterns are nice enough to put the finished measurements on them.
I admit I was lucky that it fit this well.
Behind the scenes~
Last week I was asked to be on WDTN Channel 2 News, Living Dayton.
Saturday was Rosewood’s Holiday Festival!
Thank you for reading,
Dream it, Sew it!
Latest posts by Tracy McElfresh (see all)
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