Monthly Archives: May 2019

Sewing with Stretch Knit Fabrics

Sewing with knit fabrics, making t-shirts and tank tops is not terribly difficult. I have made a number of them. However I am usually less than satisfied with the finished look, especially the hem and the neckline. The other day I was reading a post by Leanne at Devoted Quilter and she shared a pretty blue t-shirt she made. By using a double needle (or twin needle) she was able to achieve a nice finish at the hem and neckline.

These are available everywhere – Jo-Anns, Amazon, etc.

Some time back, I purchased a double needle, fully intending to try this. But for whatever reason, the needle landed in the drawer with lots of other needles and was forgotten. Leanne’s success gave me just the push I needed to give it a try. I looked on-line to see if there was anything special about threading my machine (Janome 6500) for this needle. My machine has two posts for thread which is mandatory. But threading it was nearly the same as using only one spool of thread. I didn’t want to buy two spools of the same color thread since this isn’t a color I will use often. Instead, I wound an extra bobbin and used it on the second post. This worked just fine.

Two very neat rows of topstitching forming the hem of the sleeve.

Sewing with a twin needle is interesting in that you must stitch from the right (or the top) side of the garment. The twin stitching shows on top and the bottom stitching has an interesting zig zag pattern achieved from the use on two needles on top and only one bobbin on the bottom.

This is how the back side looks.

This is the part I think is so magical. When I first tried using the needle and a a few scraps, I wasn’t at all sure what the bottom would look like as I didn’t really understand how one bobbin would deal with two threads.

Ok, here are a few details about this project. Using McCall’s M6957 and my thrifted stretch knit fabric, I made a very simple t-shirt dress. I cut the top at a size 12 and graded the waist and hip area to a 14 so it wouldn’t hug at the belly (because that isn’t a look I need to share with the world). 😉 The cut of this simple dress is really comfortable and the fact there are only three pieces to the pattern makes it a very easy project to put together.

I have had this green knit fabric in the drawer for about a year now. I picked it up at a garage sale from someone who was clearing out a lot of fabric. (That was a great sale and I was fortunate to purchase a large stack of knit fabric in good condition). I thought I would use this piece of fabric because if the fit wasn’t good there wasn’t a big loss since there was only a few dollars investment.

I got lucky though and the fit is great. I don’t have a picture of it on me because as I write this, I don’t have anyone to take a photo. Selfies are not my forte so I am not going to bother. Maybe I will post one later on. For now, you get the boring picture of it hanging from the door.

In my opinion the double needle makes all the difference. The hemline, hem of the sleeves and the topstitching of the neckline look so clean. It really elevates the finish of this dress. One thing to note, the pattern instructions told me to just fold the neckline in toward the wrong side and topstitch. I don’t like that method as it usually makes a wavy neckline and it allows too much stretch.

Instead, I attached single fold bias tape and then folded that to the inside and topstitched it. This way, I have a cotton strip creating shape to the neckline. It lays flat and looks really nice. I also reinforced the shoulder seams with bias tape so they wouldn’t stretch. After sewing the shoulder seams and checking the fit, I took a small piece of bias tape, laid it over the seam line and stitched it down. A very easy task and it will prevent the seams from stretching.

Now that I feel confident about the fit and look of this pattern, I want to make another one. I have lots of nice knits and look forward to using them. I think I will make a sleeveless version since we have such warm summers.

Hoping all of you enjoy the weekend. We will likely have a fairly quiet weekend. Julia is studying for finals. My husband wrenched his back and is limping around trying to let it heal. No big plans for the Kringel’s this weekend!

Linking to my usuals – check them out at the top of the page under Link Ups.

So Many Mercyful Quilts!

As many of you know, this month is a busy one for quilters participating in Hands2Help 2019 making donation quilts. This wonderful event is sponsored annually by Sarah of Confessions of a Fabric Addict. She coordinates the donations of hundreds of quilts to several organizations. This year Mercyful Quilts is one of the very fortunate recipients of these quilts.

Last month I received a number of gorgeous quilts. Some I shared on Instagram but haven’t shared them on the blog. I want to be sure everyone gets a chance to see the amazing works of art that have been donated to Mercy Hospital. I can’t show all of them because that would make for a very long post. But here are some that have arrived recently. (Just in case you are new to my blog, please read about the Mercyful Quilt drive posts – click here and here to get the general info on this project.)

Just a sampling of the quilts coming in.

It is fun to be the person receiving these quilts. I love seeing everyone’s work – so many fun colors, patterns, pretty fabrics, beautiful quilting. Really, I am so fortunate to be the organizer of this project. It is like Christmas when the UPS truck drives up the driveway!

Each one is so unique and all of them are beautifully made.

Stunning, right?

This quilt was completely hand quilted. I was so surprised! What a treasure.

So many stitches went into this. It is lovely!

Both of the quilts shown above came from the same quilter. I appreciate her choice to make one more traditional with colors that would appeal to a man or woman. The other quilt with the rainbow of modern blocks and the piano key border is striking and very different. When families choose from all of the quilts it is nice to have a selection to select from. I hope they pick one that is somehow representative of the loss they are dealing with. Maybe that will bring an extra level of comfort to the family.

Not all quilts come via the UPS truck. Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting up with a quilter from the Sacramento area. She emailed me to see if I had any plans to be in the area so she could give me the quilts personally. Heck yes! Any excuse to meet another quilter and have a cup of coffee with her.

Karrin blogs over at Karrin’s Crazy World and she donated three pretty quilts. Two are blue and yellow which is a fantastic color combination. The third one is a patriotic quilt which might just suit the family of a veteran. I am so happy to have these three quilts to add to the stack. The photos taken indoors don’t do them justice – the colors are more vibrant than shown.

Karrin and I had a nice long visit – Isn’t it crazy how two quilters who have never met can just sit down and start up a conversation? It comes easily and we really enjoyed ourselves. Karrin, I hope we can meet again to talk fabric, stippling, color preferences, batting and life in general! What a fun trip to Starbucks.

I am grateful for all of the quilts received thus far. I know more are on the way. Please know that once the Hands2Help event ends, the need for Mercyful quilts does not! I am happy to take quilts any time you want to donate one. The palliative care team over at Mercy Hospital is truly appreciative of these beautiful gifts you are making and sending to them. Thank you, thank you, thank you!