The Spoonflower blog has been graced lately by virtual visits from some extremely talented guest posters. Among them, and up this week, is Dana Willard of the Made blog and author of Fabrics A to Z (called The Fabric Selector if you're UK-based). Dana has kindly offered to share her experience sewing with knit fabrics here on the blog today in conjunction with a generous giveaway of THREE copies of Fabrics A to Z. Even if you consider yourself somewhat experienced with knits, you may learn a thing or two from Dana–I know I did!
Read on for some pointers on knits and details of her book giveaway, and do remember to check out the Spoonflower blog this Monday when Dana will return to share an adorable tutorial using fat quarters of Spoonflower's organic cotton interlock knit. Enjoy!
Spoonflower friends, I'm Dana from the DIY/Sewing/Design site MADE. Like
most of you, I love browsing the Spoonflower vault for interesting patterns and prints. But I only recently
discovered that fabrics can be purchased in interlock knit form!
Did you know that? It
made me smile, because we all love knit fabrics!
fussy, they stretch, they're unpretentious, and they’re just plain comfortable. I'm pretty sure that 75% of our family wardrobe is
made up of knit tops and comfy shirts. But just as much as we love
the textile, many of us are scared to sew with knits. If you fall into that category, it's time to put fear aside and embrace the adventure!
At least that's how I look at sewing.
It's always an experiment,
often fun, sometimes frustrating, but mostly exciting. And when you
sew with knits and it works?!…you'll want to jump for joy and laugh
at how mysterious store-bought T-shirts used to seem.
Last year I
wrote a book called Fabrics
A to Z,
which outlines over 150 fabric types, how to sew with them, wash
them, press them, which needles to use, all the nitty gritty. The fabrics are categorized by fiber content and also by the methods
in which they were created: either knit or woven.
are created in much the same way as a hand-knitted scarf, with
needles that link yarns together in connecting loops. But the
yarns used in knit fabrics are much more narrow than those used to
create a sweater. Look closely at a T-shirt and you’ll see
the small tiny loops and ribs I'm referring to. All these
tiny connecting loops are what make knit fabrics stretchy (and the
reason why we love them). But there are a few knits that have
very little stretch, such as double-knit fabric. These are
referred to as “stable knits”.
knits are called “unstable knits” and can be categorized even
further into two-way
stretch, depending on how many directions the fabric will stretch.
Spandex has amazing 4-way stretch and can be pulled up to seven times
its length then bounces right back to its original shape.
Knit fabric types
goes into much more detail about the different types of knits, but here's a quick breakdown of the most
common knits you'll come across:
is the standard t-shirt fabric. It's lightweight to medium-weight and
can be used for most knit garments.
with Spandex has fantastic
stretch and can feel a bit slinky. I recently used some for the
cover-up and loved it.
is a bit thicker than jersey and is great for blankets, skirts,
shirts, and lightweight jackets/cardigans, (and a secret project I'm
sharing here on Spoonflower next week). The knits sold here on
Spoonflower are organic cotton interlock and are absolutely
wonderful, soft, and dreamy.
can be used for so many things…vests, jackets, pillows, blankets,
scarves, hats, embellishments. Fleece comes in varying weights
and fibers. Some pill, some don't. They're a forgiving
fabric, easily hiding mistakes under the fluffy surface.
is used for the cuffs and collars on most shirts. I always love
to have a variety of colors on-hand. Whenever it's on sale at
the store I buy a 1/2 yard of my favorite shades.
is wonderful for swimsuits and leotards. And though it might
sound scary to sew one…just go for it! The first time I made
a swimsuit I sort of made it up as I went and it was really
sewing Do's and Dont's
before I get technical, let's not get technical. I’m a
fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants sewer. I’m supposed to tell you
fancy things like use a ball needle or a walking foot but I don’t
do either. I just sew with a normal needle, normal sewing
machine, standard foot, and get going. And it works!
But if you're a bullet points
kind of person, here you go….
Let the fabric feed itself through the machine. If you tug it,
the fabric will stretch and pucker (unless that’s the look you’re
• Use a ball needle so it doesn't snag the
fabric as you go (but note above that I just use what I have
• When using knits as an applique, sew slowly and stop
every so often to lift the presser foot and allow the fabric
underneath to relax and bounce back in place. If you try to sew
a circle shape of knit fabric in one big swoop you’ll end up with a
wonky looking project.
Be scared. What's the worst that can happen? Your machine eats
a piece of fabric and you toss it in the can? Totally worth it since
next time you’ll be more armed and more skilled to create what you
originally had in mind.
Knits 101, in a nutshell. Do you feel ready to jump in with two
feet? Let's do it! To get you started, today we're giving
away three copies of my book Fabrics A to Z! And for a
whole slew of sewing of ideas, check out my tutorials page here.
Thanks, Dana! If you'd like to be entered into the drawing to win one of three copies of Dana Willard's book, Fabrics A to Z, just leave your comment below or on the corresponding Facebook post and do include your Spoonflower screen name so that we can track you down if you're our winner. Entries will close next Tuesday, 10/23 and we'll announce a winner on 10/24. Good luck, fabric enthusiasts!
Last week, we gave three winners their choice of the top ten designs in our Zombie Plush Toy Fabric of the Week contest. The winners are Baily Witwer, Mashca Slot, and Sue Clearfield. Congratulations to the three of you, and we'll be in touch soon!