I have several friends who also sew, and one thing I’ve heard over and over is how terrified people are to sew with knits. Raise your hand if this is you… It used to be me too, but not anymore. I LOVE knit fabric, and the possibilities are endless as to what you can create. I haven’t sewn with knits for long, but in the past 6 months I’ve learned a lot and want to share it with you.
Don’t be afraid!
Seriously, if you can sew with cotton fabric, you can sew with knit. I recommend (if you haven’t already), invest in a quality cutting mat, rotary cutter, and straight edge. These are really musts for anybody who sews, but especially with knits. Depending on what I’m making, I need to change my rotary blade often, and that’s OK. I love my serger for sewing with knits, but it isn’t a must. I promise, it’s addicting and you won’t regret purchasing one. I have the Brother 1034D, and it was less than $200 on Amazon. Prime shipping will get one to your door in 48 hours or less. 😉
Different types of knits
Jersey knit is sort of a generic term for the stretchy fabric that t-shirts and leggings are made out of, but there are different types of knits and they’re used for different things.
- Cotton/Lycra blend- often called 95/5 (95% cotton, 5% lycra or spandex) is my favorite. It has excellent stretch and recovery and I use it whenever possible. It is great for pants for kids and grownups too.
- Sweatshirt Fleece- just what it sounds like. It’s fuzzy on the back and is what sweatshirts and sweatpants are made out of.
- Hacci Sweater Knit- unlike the sweatshirt knit, this is not like a typical sweater fabric. It’s thin and silky. I’ve used it for children’s clothing before, but it’s great for scarves or women’s tops.
- Interlock- a variation of rib knit construction. Double knit constructions makes it a thicker fabric with a tight weave. It’s a great fabric to start with if knits make you nervous.
Quality fabric is worth the price
I’ve sewn with a lot of different types of fabrics from a lot of different suppliers, and the one thing I learned is that there is a reason cheap fabric is cheap. Something else to remember when buying any type of knit fabric is that you get a lot more per yard than typical fabrics, so take that into consideration when looking at the price. Normal jersey fabric is 58″ to 60″ wide. When making children’s pants, I can usually get 4 pairs of pants out of a yard of fabric, so it goes a long way.
The secret world of custom fabric
I’m part of several Facebook groups that pertain to sewing and embroidery. I was always seeing people post pictures of children’s items they crated with super cute fabrics that I could not find in stores. I recently unlocked the secret, and today I’m sharing that secret with you. There are Facebook groups for custom knit fabrics. I’m a member of at least a dozen, probably more, and then there are B/S/T (buy, sell, trade) groups for those groups too. These groups offer pre-sales of fabrics, offering them at usually $20 a yard. Once the pre-sale closes, the fabrics are printed, and then in 6-8 weeks they show up at your door. Don’t want to wait that long? That’s where the B/S/T groups come into play, BUT you will pay more for these fabrics later. I’ve seen some fabrics going as high as $100 a yard, but usually there is a 25% to 50% markup. The great thing about the B/S/T pages is that people offer FHs (FH stands for fat half, and it’s a half yard cut longways, so approximately 30″ by 36″), and you can get great fabrics for cheaper prices. A great place to start is the Knit Destash group on Facebook. Go check it out!
Working with a pattern
I love making clothes for my son. Trust me when I say that it’s worth it to pay money for a great pattern. Here are some of my favorite pattern shops!
- Max and Meena
- Brindle & Twig
- Peekaboo Pattern Shop– she also sells custom knit fabrics and they are fabulous!
I hope that this was helpful and inspires you to take the plunge. Here is a pic of Zac with his new Big Hero 6 pajamas. Shirt is raglan tee pattern from Brindle & Twig, pants are maxaloones, and the fabric is from Sew Cute Fabrics on Facebook.