Tag Archives: sewing with knits

Me Made May

Do any of you follow, or get involved in, Me Made May each year?  This event is one to encourage garment sewing and was started years ago.  Now in its ninth year, it is a very popular sewing celebration that happens on many social media platforms. It is the creation of Zoe from So Zo, What Do You Know.  She is a sewist living in the UK and she often blogs about garment sewing and sustainable sewing.

Me Made May is a unique event in that each participant really sets up their own challenge.  Many, many of the sewists will challenge themselves to wear only their handmade clothing each day of the month (some even take it as far as handmade underwear, camisoles and/or bras).  Others may set a personal challenge to wear something handmade once each week.  Others might set out to create some handmade garments during the month.  There really isn’t a right or wrong way to go about it.  I also like that there is no judging, no voting, no huge prizes driving everyone. People share their makes, their sewing ideas and plans with each other – usually on Instagram #mmm18 or #memademay2018 or by blogging.  (Just to give some perspective on the size of this event, it began 6 days ago.  As of this writing on Sunday afternoon, there are over 4,000 posts in#memademay2018.) It celebrates a mutual love of sewing – be it incredibly intricate and fitted garments, or a basic t-shirt.

blanc t-shirt

Which is exactly what I made last week!

Several months ago, I thrifted a bolt (yep, I have a lot of it) of this mauve stretch knit fabric.  I had no idea what I would do with it at the time but I figured I would think of something.  The fabric in general is in great condition.  There are a few spots on the selvage that have a small hole which don’t really cause any issue since they are on the selvage. Thinking I wanted to make a t-shirt, I scouted the internet and posed the question on Facebook, asking for pattern recommendations. One pattern designer that was recommended is Blank Slate Patterns. I liked both the look and simplicity of the Blanc T Shirt.  You can buy the pattern, or if you are a member of their Facebook group, it is a free download.

blanc t-shirt

The pattern has two pieces. Well actually, it is a pdf download and there are 20 pages to print. But 16 of those pages create two pattern pieces. It is sized from XS to XL.  Really, this is a simple process – just takes a little bit of tape and scissors. Not a big deal.

I decided this first round would be a practice session.  I purposely cut it out as a size large because it is easier to size down than up. Plus I was hoping for a loose, kind of flowy look?  Is flowy a word?  Probably not but you know what I mean.

It takes no time to sew front to back. Once I tried it on and decided I liked the fit, I ran a loose zig zag stitch over each seam to finish it off.  Really I should have set up the serger to do this and get a nice finish but you know… it was in the closet…. the sewing table was a mess…. it just seemed like to much work. Maybe next time.

After finishing the seams, all that was left was a bit of finish works. Hemming the bottom and the sleeves came next.  Finally I finished the neckline with purchased bias tape. The only hiccup in the project was the bottom hem.  I ran two lines of stitching and there are several wobbles in the second line.  I am not sure why it happened.  It doesn’t bother me enough to rip it out though. If I were to want a double stitched line I think I would try using a double needle.  I bought one a long time ago but have not yet practiced with it.

blanc t-shirt

I love these little projects because of the quick finish. It is really satisfying to cut out a couple of pieces and then have a t-shirt to wear the next day.  I am going to make one more in this pretty black knit that I bought.  My plan after that is to make something a bit more challenging. I have two patterns sitting out that I keep looking at and debating which to try first.  Stay tuned for more in Me Made May!

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Five Reasons to Repeat a Pattern

I don’t know that I have ever made the same quilt twice. Wait, maybe that isn’t entirely true. I have definitely made the same quilty gifts in multiples. Like the Christmas table runners I made for my family one year. Or the zip pouches I made for gifts last year.  But not full quilts. Those have always been different. There are so many amazing quilt designs out there and I haven’t yet repeated one.

Clothing patterns? Those I will repeat. Time after time after time. When my kiddos were tiny I would make flannel pj’s for them, using the same pattern until the pieces were so pin marked I would have to tape them together. My Washi dress? Just repeated that one and I am so glad I did. Here are my thoughts on why.

  1. The first time I use a pattern I have to learn the pattern. Even though I have been sewing for so many years (44-ish years?) it takes a minute to just look at the pieces, read the directions and figure out the process.  Using the pattern a second (or third, or fourth) time that process is complete and doesn’t need to happen again.
  2. Of course, the cost of the pattern. I think I paid about $12 for the Washi pattern, I am not sure. So why not distribute that across a few garments? Kind of like dollar cost averaging in the stock market. 😉 Make it once and you have spent $12 plus the cost of fabric and notions for the one garment. Make it three times and you are at $4 plus fabric and notions for each garment. Might as well get as much bang for your buck as possible.
  3. My confidence level increases with each garment. Going in the second time, I knew where the problem areas might be and already had solutions for those. For instance, in the first Washi dress, I found that the elastic bobbin used while shirring the back would need to be reloaded with each stripe of shirring. I still don’t understand why but at least, this time, I didn’t have to fool around to figure out a solution. It makes for a more peaceful sewing experience.
  4.  With the extra confidence in the pattern, I can challenge myself in other ways. For this dress, I chose a knit fabric. I wasn’t sure what it would mean to make a pattern designed for woven fabrics with a knit but I felt good about trying it because I was already familiar with the pattern and how it fit me. I would not have done this the first time using the pattern because I wouldn’t have felt confident in the result.
  5. There are so many variations to be had. For the second dress, I chose not to cut the dip in the neckline. I was concerned that with a heavier fabric (knit vs cotton) the neckline would not lie flat with that cut out. I used the scoop neck version instead. Also, I tried it without the sleeve cap, didn’t like it and put the little sleeve on in the end.

Here is the finished Washi, version two!

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Just as I hoped, it is very comfortable. (For me the goal is almost always comfort.) The knit washes well. (I did prewash it as knits have a strong tendency to shrink.)

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The drape is very soft. After washing and drying it, there was no issue with wrinkling.

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The shirring wasn’t as tight with this version. I suppose that has to do with the knit vs cotton issue but I am not sure? If I make it again with a knit, I would play with the stitch size a bit while shirring it. Also, with the stretchiness of the knit it feels a bit too big. So if I do a repeat, I will cut it down a bit, especially in the bodice.

I also learned a bit more about sewing with knits. I wasn’t sure how to finish the seams since I don’t have a serger machine. Looking through some great garment sewing websites, I found one that instructed me to use a tiny zigzag stitch on all of the straight seams (like the side seams.) This sort of intimidated me but it worked out wonderfully.

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This tiny zigzag stitch made a big difference in how the dress hung. The seams didn’t get wavy because the zigzag stitch allows for some movement with the stretch of the knit. Also, I sprayed the hemline with starch before hemming it. Adding that extra structure made for a nice flat hem.

Besides finishing up the dress, I also finished painting the caps of the deck railings. I am so happy because it is supposed to really heat up over the next week or so.

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Lots and lots of painting!

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For now, the painting project is a finish and it looks so much better. Don’t you love checking something off the list? Especially something you really didn’t want to do in the first place?? Me too.

Have a good weekend everyone. Stay cool during this oh-so-hot part of July.

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christmas-in-july

In case you are wondering what is going on at Craftsy this weekend, here is the latest. It is Christmas in July at Craftsy and they are offering great deals (up to 60% off!) on kits and supplies so you are able to start working on holiday gift items ahead of schedule. You’ll be ready when the season rolls around. Sale begins today, 7/22/16 and runs through Sunday, July 24th. Check it out!

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