The Wonderful World of Knits

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!

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.

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The December Darlings

I am so excited about this quilt. It is an adult size blanket, using baby onesies. 32 onesies to be exact, that came from 30 awesome women (plus myself). The story behind this quilt began over 2 years ago…

Social media plays a huge role in our lives. What you may not know is that sites like Baby Center and The Bump serve not only as online resources for new mothers, but as a community of women. There are groups for everything from pregnancy, to motherhood, those struggling to conceive, dealing with a loss, and everything in between.

I found out I was pregnant with my son, March 30, 2011. I was already a member of the Baby Center online community, so I searched for a due date group to join. I had no idea then the impact that decision would have on my life. The group was called “The December Darlings,” and was a private board for women due December 1-10, 2011. People shared every aspect of pregnancy- the good, the bad, and the ugly. We grieved together as some women suffered miscarriages, prayed together as some (myself included) received troubling news, and rejoiced as our babies were born.

As the year drew to a close, our group dwindled. What was once close to 200 women was now 73. Anyone who’s had a newborn knows that sitting down at the computer can be a challenge, so most of us accessed Internet through our phones (especially those up nursing a baby at 2 am). For convenience, we decided to move our group over to Facebook. Not everyone made the move, but for the ones who did, our bond grew stronger.

We’ve supported each other through the loss of parents, miscarriages, deployments, sick children, and spouses with cancer. We’ve celebrated as our babies reached milestones, new pregnancies and the birth of younger siblings, homecomings, and more. Somewhere along the line we started sending gifts, and that’s where the idea for the quilt came to be. How cool would it be to have a blanket made up with something from each of us… I was eager to take on this project, and after weeks of nagging, I got enough onesies to make the quilt.

I’ll spare you the details, and focus on the highlights. What started off as women with one thing in common (motherhood), and over the past 2 years we’ve become great friends. Our group consists of 36 women, spread out over 23 states. We range in age from 22-42. Some of us are first time moms, others have 7 children. Many of us have had the opportunity to meet one another; I’ve been fortunate enough to meet 3 of my fellow darlings (pictures below). As a group, our dream is for all 36 of us to meet with our babies. Anyone out there with the power and funds to make that happen- my contact info is available on the blog.

I think our story is powerful. Support comes in all forms. These women, most of whom I’ve never met, I consider my closest friends. I truly don’t know how I would have made it through the past 2 years without them. In an online arena, there is no shame in asking the kinds of questions new mothers have. In our group, sometimes we jokingly wonder how our ‘real world’ friends get answers to their personal questions.These women are my sounding board for everything, and I’m so so thankful for that decision I made, back in the spring of 2011, to join this group.

If you read through this, thank you! For those here for the quilt, this blanket consists of 32 onesies and 32 flannel squares, each measuring 7″. The teal border is 2.5″ and the snowflake border is 4″. The finished blanket measures 69″ square, and its backed with pale grey anti-pill fleece. We plan to “share” this blanket, sending it to those in need when they need it. I’m hoping nobody “needs” it soon because I’m not ready to part with it.

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