Friday, March 19, 2010

sewing trouble

I had a ‘challenging’ sewing / pattern cutting day yesterday. .I’ve psyched myself out by choosing fabric that is too far beyond me. I’m hoping that someone reading this may have had some experience sewing knits and could give me some guidance or (encouragement). Interestingly the last project I tried making with knits was a long sleeve wrap dress from 2003 which still isn’t finished. I’m hoping if I can get pass this maybe I could return to that dress as I still like it.

Firstly I’ve only used an overlocker (serger) to finish edges. In fact I haven’t used it for years. I’ve just had it serviced and brought new thread. Now I’m trying to learn how to use it for a seam. My biggest problem is that my seam seems to gape when stretched so that you can see the seam. Now I understand that the point of a overlocked seam is because it keeps the elasticity but I’m not sure this looks right.

Secondly I went and made it even more complicated by choosing a stripe. The pattern is also directional so I have to ensure the big hearts face up.

First I folded the fabric so that the pattern matches up. I find the fabric easily stretches which distorts the lines.
After a lot of thinking I worked out that I would need to match the sides along the sewing line not the cutting line. I matched the side seams of the cut front panel and the back template. Then rolled the front panel over 1.5cm so that I could see where the dress seam would lie.

I cut this out and sewed it and realised that though the colours match, the pattern is disrupted at the seam. Straight lines would probably have been easier. After a lot of playing, I realised that because the side of the dress is not perpendicular to the pattern I would have to lie the back piece on an angle rather than along the grain. This would cause three problems
  • pattern would be on a diagonal
  • pattern wouldn’t match on other side seam
  • fabric wouldn’t stretch correctly with movement.
Next I went to cut the shoulders and realised because they go out over the shoulders before dropping to the wrist that I can’t match the coloured stripes at the shoulder and along the length of the arm. I’ve tried to for the length but am unsure how this will look.

Then when I had a go at sewing up I realised the instructions actually started on the previous page and I had started from the third step. I’m kind of ready to bundle it all back on my sewing table.

PS I don’t even know if I like this fabric (especially for a winter dress) and it was expensive by my stingy habits!


  1. I've been too scared to try sewing with a knit fabric so I can't help you I'm afraid. But I can try to be encouraging - from the sounds of it you're learning lots even if the result doesn't look (yet) like you want it to. If you don't really like the fabric that's even better - it's not so heartbreaking if it doesn't work out. Hmm. Not the greatest encouragement I know, but be strong!

  2. Wow, I'm confused just reading your post...that's probably why I don't attempt anything on the sewing machine that's not a straight for encouragement, i can do that...the fact that you understand all the problems you are going to have with that dress shows you really know what you are doing! I think you are doing an incredible job and besides whatever mistakes you do this time you won't make again!

  3. I love knits but I avoid stripes like the plague! Make sure you have the stripes straight and don't worry too much about lining them up - your arms cover the side seams so it isn't that important, as you've discovered it isn't really possible. I think I know what you mean on the overlocker, it sounds like a tension problem. Make sure all your threads are firmly under the tension discs, sometimes they just wrap around and don't go in properly. Then try adjusting your stitch tension.