Summer sew along week 1

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Time for the summer sew-along!

I was paging through an old issue of Sew Beautiful magazine, and there was an outfit with a long sleeved T as part of it.  They actually said something like, “If you don’t sew knits, use a purchased shirt”.  I thought…are you kidding me?  This magazine, now out of print, was for very advanced sewers that could smock, embroider, shape lace, etc. and they didn’t think their readers were all capable of sewing with knits??  Well, I won’t let that happen with my readers!  🙂  This year’s summer sew-along will be a step-by-step sewing school to build up your skills and make you confident about sewing knits.

The sew-along patterns start very easy and get a little harder, but should be do-able by even beginning sewers.  At the beginning, I want you to be able to focus on technique, not worry about how complicated pattern pieces fit together.  Your incentive for finishing the sew-along is a free pattern for an outfit that will put all your new sewing-with-knits knowledge to work and will only be available to participants that complete at least 4 of the 5 weeks!  More details to follow…

These patterns have been sized for AG/Maplelea.  This week an untested version for Sasha and 14″ dolls is also included, but I can’t promise that for every week, so if you have an AG/Maplelea, I’d suggest you use her as your model.

Last year, to keep you accountable, you had to submit a pic each week and email me to get the following week’s pattern.  It took FOREVER to compile each week’s list – time better spent sewing or enjoying your photos, in my opinion.  🙂  So this year, I’ll post each pattern on Thursday as usual, and then take it down over the weekend.  You’re responsible for downloading, sewing, then putting it in the group here:  https://www.flickr.com/groups/summersewalong/.  At the end, you’ll just need to submit one form with a link to your pix to receive the free pattern.

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16 responses »

  1. Please don’t discourage your sewers before they start!! That “more horrible” choice you show (the turquoise knit) is most likely cotton interlock–MY favorite fabric!! It is very easy to sew on. There are just a couple things you need to know: 1–use a brand new needle, “stretch” or “ball-point”, but “universal” works okay in my machine, too, and a size of about 75/11 or 80/12. 2–lengthen your straight stitch slightly (I use 3.0 mm.–you can also use a very narrow zigzag, but I prefer two rows of straight stitch, one on the seam line, and one 1/8″ inside it [on seam allowance]–I NEVER use my serger on knits–too much thread in the seam, IMO). 3–stretch your fabric SLIGHTLY as you sew it, then steam lightly when you are done.

    I have been sewing on knits since about 1970, and in the early 1980s I was a certified Stretch & Sew instructor at the S&S store in Lynnwood, WA. I have probably made hundreds of t-shirts (mostly out of cotton interlock), and the only one I ever had trouble with was a shell I made, using a Very. Old. Needle. After a few wearings, it developed little holes along the seam lines–obviously, there was a burr on that needle!! It made a good sample of what NOT to do when I was teaching those classes, though!! LOL

    I recently finished making cotton interlock t-shirts for all 5 of my Little Darlings, each one a different color, and all made with scraps from previous shirts for myself. I also made a coordinating plaid skirt for each girl. School outfits!! What fun!!

    (I also have been making my own lingerie for about 45 years, and I also make slacks, skirts, dresses, sleepwear, and [rarely, as I don’t have much need any more] swimsuits for myself. In addition, I did a great deal of sewing for my son when he was growing up, and now for my grandchildren and, occasionally, my husband–in addition to sewing for many of my dolls! I love to make garments, most especially if they are made of knit fabrics!)

    • You’re right, the stuff labeled “cotton interlock” at the fabric store is not difficult to sew, and looks similar but it’s different from the stretched out “ribby” turquoise fabric used here.

  2. This has come at a perfect time for me! My feed dog kept eating my knit fabric, so I gave up…that was last year! I’ve just commissioned someone to do a stripey t shirt for one of my dolls! I don’t mind that, but would like to be able to make my own! I have white fabric and will be going through all the old tee shirts I have that I never wear to find something suitable!

  3. I’m looking forward to this. Knits aren’t a challenge for me but I need something fun like this right now. I remember that SB article you referenced. I think sometimes sewing with knits is made out to be a greater challenge than it is. I felt the same way about machine heirloom sewing until I did it. For years I was afraid to sew performance fabrics being told it was too hard and challenging. After studying the dresses I’d purchased for my children I realized it was “just” sewing and I experimented and came up with ways to make it stress-free. Most of the dresses I sew using performance fabrics I do on a regular sewing machine too.

  4. I can’t wait to get started! I had so much fun last sew-along! I am hoping the green pattern size will fit the vintage fisher price my friend dolls.

  5. Thank you this will be my first sew along and I’m excited to get started.
    I used to have trouble with knits but I recently got a new sewing machine and they turn out great. I just sew as normal,no stablizers,no special needles etc. I do a lot of sewing and both of my machines are pricey brand names. The one sews knits effortlessly the other is an exercise in frustration. I’m looking forward to the projects and all the tips so I can hopefully finally conquer knits on the machine that gives me so much grief.

  6. Thanks for doing this again this year! My granddaughter has a new Julie who will appreciate anything I get made. I’m looking forward to getting better sewing knits. I do have a serger, but I need lots of practice using it.

  7. Saw your post right before I left for Joanns this AM, sooo I’m armed with a few knits and ready to learn to tackle them! 😉 Searched high & low for the exact stabilizer you showed, but they only had 3/4 yd left with a ‘blue’ label, but it’s #806 and appears to be the same.

  8. I wish I could join you in the sew-along this year but unfortunately for my sewing education I’m not going to be around enough to keep up. Thanks for the guidance on sewing with knits – finally I understand how to use tear-away stabiliser!

  9. Thank you for doing this sew-along class, Jennie. I’ve sewn woven fabrics since the ’70’s, but am a newbie with knits. I’ve tried several times to sew knits for my dolls and also for the granddaughters’ dolls, with very poor results. I love your patterns, purchased and free (sewn with woven fabric!), and am excited to learn how to correctly sew up knits. I’m also looking forward to joining with the other sewers who’ll be participating this summer. Going to JoAnn’s now to pick up that stabilizer.

  10. Sewed the ‘slim’ version for my Disney Princess & Me Tia (Tiana) doll, and it came out great ! . Used a t-shirt our son wrecked and outgrew at the same time, and some tearaway I tore away from an embroidery project. Finally, a way to use those scraps ! Photo soon – just wanted to say thanks for the pattern and the sew-along !

  11. Argh! I had a living room floor full of guests last week, and just found out that this year’s sew-along had started – a week late! I won’t be able to start sewing until the weekend – will I still be able to contribute photos and then access patterns, even though I’m starting late?

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