Learning to Love Knits

I used to hate working with knits. I felt like no matter what I did the needle would always shove pieces into my sewing machine, the “stretch stitch” was never stretchy enough and the thread would always break, my surger is VERY old and doesn’t sew a seam tight enough on it’s own, and the knits I found were always to bulky or only came in solid colors. So I chose to just stay away.

But thanks to my new sewing machine, a few great tips, and Girl Charlee Fabrics I spent the weekend HAPPILY sewing with knit.

My first project was for the baby. I have had this green and brown polka dot fabric on hand since my nephew was born. I had attempted to make something for him and it turned out to be a complete disaster. So, holding a grudge against the fabric, I let it sit in my stash for three years. But after taking a class to learn how to use my new machine and seeing how easy it was to sew with knits, I decided to pull this fabric back out and tackle it once again.

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I found this pattern for footed pajamas from Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop and knew I had to have it. I bought some soft brown knit to accent the main fabric and got to work. I had said that I wasn’t going to make much for this baby just yet, cuz Grandma has that more than under control…. but after making this cute jammie I just might break down and make a few more!

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I loved how easy it was to use my machine and had extra brown fabric, so I decided to make a cute beanie to match. I used this tutorial from Make It & Love It. It was super easy and didn’t take long at all.

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But of course I couldn’t put a flower on a hat for our baby boy, so I took her suggestion to make an applique. At my machine class I had just learned all the different ways my machine could stitch around an applique so I thought this would be perfect practice. I based my design off an elephant I had seen on this quilt pattern.

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I am so excited with how cute this turned out that I will definitely be making a few more!

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So if you are scared of sewing with knit here are a few things I learned:

1. A machine with an over-lock stitch is a life saver! If your machine doesn’t have this setting and you don’t have a surger (or yours is very old like mine) try using a stretch stitch. Most machines have this stitch, it looks like a lightning bolt. You can also use a basic zig-zag or a double needle.

2. Do not stretch your fabric as you sew! The fabric is already stretchy enough and stretching it as you go leaves your fabric looking bunchy and wavy. It also increases the likelihood of your thread breaking.

3. Steam press your seams after you sew them. This helps set the seams and helps the knit shrink back since it tends to stretch a bit as you sew. This will help the seams lay neat and flat.

4. Use nice fabric. Although the fabric I used for the baby outfit wasn’t from Girl Charlee Fabrics (I think it was just from JoAnn’s) it was still a soft cotton and wasn’t super bulky.

Keep your eye out for posts throughout the week of the other projects I made with great knits from Girl Charlee Fabrics!

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