Oliver + S

How Difficult is It?

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    Jane @jesims

    I have never sewn with knits. I desperately want to try but I’m very intimidated. I have seen so many cute hopscotch tops and dresses in the flickr group lately. I have some interlock to try it out. How difficult is this pattern as a first time knit sewer? Is there a better pattern to try? Are there any tips or tricks that I should know before starting? I have a serger but the one time I tried playing with knits it seemed like the seam wasn’t all that tight. When I turned the fabric over and pulled the two pieces apart, I could easily see about 1/4 inch of thread between the fabric. Is there a setting I should be changing? I generally have it set up for a 4 thread overlock stitch.

    Jane

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    Nicole @motherof5

    It is not difficult but if you have never sewn with knits take your time and read the instructions well.

    Take note of the narrower seam allowance and the fact that you cut the notches as ‘outies’ not ‘inies’.

    As for the overlocker having a loose stitch,that can be adjusted,if you take care.

    I will hunt through the forum as there have bee some tips posted.

    ~Nicole~

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    cybele727 @cybele727

    Hi Jane!

    Maybe I can help you find your courage! Here is why: I just completed 2 hopscotch dresses. I have NEVER EVER EVER sewn on knit before. Terrified. Intimidated. Scared S…less. Name the term, you got it. But I bought the hopscotch and had to take the plunge.

    I used a regular sewing machine with a regular foot. I have a stretch stitch overlock type function on my machine. Most newer machines do. I have a serger but have yet to learn to use it. Once I get lessons I look forward to it.

    So, let me share with you my first time knitter sewers blues/mistakes, learning curve….

    1) I forgot that knit needs to be a lower iron setting, but to get interfacing to stick you need a higher setting so, use a cloth napkin or other thin muslin/woven cotton material between your iron and the interfacing.

    2) I interfaced shoulder seams and I also did a thin strip (1/8-1/4 ” wide) at the top of the sleeve. It reduces “stretch” so sewing the inset sleeve has even less stretch.

    3) Using a medium interlock is nicely heavy and doesn’t stretch (as long as you aren’t pulling) while you sew. I just lightly rested my hands on either side of the fabric and set my speed to a medium low. The feed dogs really did do the rest. My hands guided the curves and I stopped and started where I knew I was changing directions so I could have better control.

    My solid color blocks were in a lighter jersey. That was harder to sew in. It had more stretch and I had to be even more gentle. So start out with a nice weight interlock.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/cybele727/7901847694/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/cybele727/7897369054/

    4) Get your ball point needle!

    5) Take a small piece to practice a few zig zag widths. I have a super nice feature of a zig zag that is about 1 mm for each zig. I used it as the hem top stitch because it gave me a bit of stretch in the stitch.

    6) Cut according to the grain instructions.

    7) For the hopscotch neckline binding the instructions say to stretch it to the ends of the bodice neckline. Well I did that in my first one (the purple) and then I had the raw end in front. (You can see where I tucked it back and tacked it down with a few stitches)

    On the second one, I stretched it further, like in the picture in the directions, so that when I sewed the bodice to the shirt/dress front it covered the raw ends which then became a part of the seam.

    And here is food for thought. I have never ever ever done knits. Never ever ever. Scaredy cat that I am. I made 2 hopscotch dresses in about 6 hours total of cutting and sewing. And my needle speed only got up to medium low from low when I did the hems. 🙂

    If I can do it, you can too! 🙂

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    Tamara @justsewit

    Yes I was going to say choose a needle suitable to withstand knits, ie, ball point or another one maybe recommended to you be your dealer (I use one’s that are specific to Janome). Make sure it is brand new.

    Don’t start your fabric right at the edge under your needle, instead start a little way in (within the 1/4 inch of course) as it will help you not to chew the fabric under the plate. You can use a little bit of stiff interfacing maybe to help this not happen (I used to do this all the time with my other machine but my latest one now has accufeed which eleviates the problem. Not every machine has this.)

    Go carefully and remember the seam allowances – this was a huge mistake I made when I did the hopscotch top for the first time and went with 1/2 inch seams – no wonder it turned out too small!.

    I think Cybele has just about covered everything I wanted to tell you so there is no point in repeating this very good information.

    Good luck! and here’s to sewing with knits! Cheers!

    Tamara

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    with love Heidi @with love Heidi

    For your ovelocker maybe try tightening the left needle thread. On both my over lockers this dial is the furtherest left and is a yellow dial. Maybe also check that all the threads are caught in the tension disks. Don’t forget that if the serger’s being a pain a zigzag or stretch stitch on the sewing machine will work just as well!

    This is a lovely pattern and I made on in 2 hours the other night.

    One more thing, a double needle might be helpful. I find that my hemming is much neater and not puckered when I use a stretch double needle. I just bought a 4mm one which has made my hems look great.

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    dubhels2003 @dubhels2003

    I have just started trying to sew the hopscotch dress which, like you Jane, will be my first time sewing with knits. I’ve found the tips very useful. I don’t have a serger and have been trying to use a twin needle on a special stretch stitch that my machine has, but with the smaller seam allowance the machine is constantly chewing up the fabric. Do you have ay tips – would I be better using the same stitch with a ball point needle so my sewing was further from the edge of the fabric and therefore less likely to get chewed up?

    Thank you!

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    Lightning McStitch @LightningMcStitch

    I think the twin needle is intended only for straight stitch sewing when you hem the dress and sleeves. For the sewing machine stretch stitch you’re right you should be using the single ballpoint.

    The hopscotch dress was my first knit sewing. Of course I didn’t plan or read ahead, so I cut big notches into my tiny seam allowances. Oops.

    Everyone’s covered all the tips. I read on the forum about the neck strip being a bit short, and it is easier to hide the raw end if you cut it a tiny bit longer. I love that with srwing with knits there are some nice short cuts: i don’t bother with gathering stitches at the sleeve cause they can just be pinned by stretching the shoulder a bit.

    I was a knit novice, and no speedster but I think I’ve made five of them now and it’s a reaaly fun little patter. Enjoy!

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    paula @paula

    Hi Jane!

    I just ventured into the world of knits a few months back. I took the ‘Sewing with Knits’ Craftsty course by Meg McElwee and highly recommend it if you have never sewn with knits before. Some complain that she is too boring, and the class is slow, but I think she was just nervous! I learned a lot from her and that class. I have made a sweatshirt, t-shirt, the hopscotch dress and have a few t-shirts and yoga shorts on deck. A few things I learned were:

    -Use a walking foot to help minimize stretch on the fabric

    -Use MaxiLock stretch thread in your bobbin (usually used in a serger)

    -Use a long, narrow zig zag stitch to keep some stretch in your seam

    -Use a stretch needle (it has a ball point tip)

    I also got ball point pins for pinning. One thing on the pattern that I didn’t do was gather the sleeves. Since you are using a knit, you just pin evenly around the arm hole, beginning at the middle, then each end. Then pin in between each pin. When you sew, you stretch the tighter fabric to even the length from pin to pin. Does that make sense? No need to gather!

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    Maggie @Maggie

    The only thing I would add is that practicing on old t shirts has really helped me. I bought some from the thrift store and stole a couple from my husband.

    It is nice to practice on something that didn’t cost much before you dive in to your new fabric. And if you cut them right, you can skip hemming by re-using the hems from the shirt.

    Knits are fun!

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    Jane @jesims

    I have registered for a Craftsy class for my serger but haven’t taken the time to go through the course yet. I will have to look in to the class for knits too. I still haven’t attempted to sew with them yet. :-/

    Jane

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