Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Easy pattern...difficult knit

I just finished this Kwik Sew top out of a lovely sweater knit I purchased a year or so ago from emmaonesock.com. It's a fluid, chenille type of knit that looks like I could have handknit it. Yes I knit, so I could handknit something like this, but sewing the knit fabric was much faster.

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The pattern, KS3155, was easy but the knit made this a challenging project. I think I always had this kind of sweater knit in mind when I saw this pattern. In fact I bought a different sweater knit from emmaonesock first, specifically to make this sweater, but it wasn't exactly what I'd hoped for. Then the next month I bought the knit that I did end up using for this project. It only took two years to finally get around to sewing it!

Unfortunately the knit turned out to be a bit of a pain to work with. First, there was the issue with grain. I washed the knit and laid it out, matching one cut edge and the selvedge. But I got a big surprise when I got to the other end:

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Now that is seriously off grain! So I ran a thin piece of yarn through one line of knit stitches, approximately where I expected the center fold to be:

Then I attempted to get a clean cut-edge by cutting along one row, using the purl stitch on the wrong side as a guide.

I re-laid the fabric out and discovered that it wasn't actually off-grain but the piece must have been cut, very crookedly, from a larger piece. It would be impossible to machine-knit this with such wonky selvedges. I had to re-cut the selvedges to end up with a piece that I could work with, but in the process, my supposedly 58" wide piece of fabric lost a total 10 inches. The red thread shows where I had first thought the fold should be.

Fortunately I had enough fabric...just barely...to cut out the top.

The rest of the sewing went fairly well. The knit did want to unravel so I had to handle it very carefully. My sewing area is littered with little blue nubs of the fabric. This was a good pattern to use since there were very few details and no darts. I used a 3-thread overlock stitch on my serger for construction and a coverstitch for the hems.

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