Saturday, February 28, 2009

I Have Met Thy Enemy, The Jersey Knit

I have always been a woven kinda gal, but I have seen some gorgeous tops and dresses made from knits, and I wanted in on this action. I read over a lot of reviews on and other blogs before making the plunge. I saw people who 'said' they never sewed with knits before do bang up jobs, even without a serger, so I figured I could do this.


Armed with a lovely ITY black and red jersey from, New Look 6753, a brand new pack of ballpoint needles and my trusty Pfaff 7570 I headed into battle!

And a battle it was, right from the beginning. How and the heck do you cut and sew this stuff neatly? It is slippery than a Chicago politician ( I know, I'm a Chicago native)! And marking, let's not go there. Wax-free tracing paper, tailor's chalk, chalk pencils, soapstone marker....nothing stuck to this fabric. I was tempted to try a Sharpie, but just gave up.

Let's move on to sewing the evil knit. I tested my Pfaff's stretch stitch and a regular straight stitch on swatches of the jersey and chose the stretch. It still puckered a little so I kept playing with the tension and got it the best I could. Keeping my seams straight was nearly impossible, I felt like a drunk, always verging off the road. I could not get the neckband and seam allowance to lie flat, so decided to topstitch on the outside as they suggested. BIG MISTAKE! I tested the straight stitch on my swatches with the appropriate layers of fabric and it looked okay. But, of course, when I did it for real on the garment I couldn't keep the vehicle on the road! This fabric just had a mind of it's own. My top stitch looks like quilt stippling. So, I've read where several people have made mistakes on knits and ripped out the stitches and fixed it.


Fat chance, those stitches were buried in like ticks on my dog's a**! They weren't going anywhere.

Let's talk armholes. Stitch, stretching band to fit. Okay, did that, but it stayed stretched. If I had Hulk arms it would be great, but I don't. Not very becoming.

At this point I was going to toss it, but I really like the print. It would go so well with my new capris I just made. So I turned the hem up and zigzag stitched it down.......making a nice little ruffled edge.....instead of a nice flat hem as intended. So here it is:

If I apply the quilting theorem "if it looks good from a galloping horse", then it's not bad. But I don't think I can apply that here. I am totally disappointed. I'm not sure why I had so much trouble. Maybe the jersey isn't the best knit to start with, maybe a serger would have helped but really I don't think so. I have a cotton knit, ottoman knit and 2 more jersey fabrics in my arsenal. I may have lost this battle, but I will win the war on knits.

60th Birthday Meal

The Husband made himself a wonderful meal for his 60th birthday (you really didn't think I was going to cook, did you!!??).

Herb-crusted rack of lamb, sauteed leeks, rosemary roasted tomatoes with a rosemary portwine reduction and (underneath in the center where you can't see very well) a mushroom and bacon bread pudding that was out of this world! He really outdid himself, this meal was fantastic!!

TeenagerI think of Lily as my teenage dog, I have to go and wake her up in the morning. I have never had a dog that loves to sleep in like this.............


  1. First, thank you Chris for your comment on my blog. Now about that knit. It is so pretty . I just don't know what to say about the problems you had. I don't like sewing with knits as much as wovens and I've had my problems with them but not to this extent.Sometimes I find that I get skipped stittches but... Did you try a teflon foot?In desparation ,I've tried using tissue paper both on top and against the feeddogs and that helps on some fabrics. I have a feeling it was the fabric, it was a loser???Better luck next time. And you should try again. Good luck.

  2. I thought about the tissue paper but many books said a walking foot would help, my Pfaff has a built-in one, but I still had problems. The fabric really stretched too, so maybe it was the fabric, but I'm pretty sure it was me. I will try again, with the cotton knit or ottoman. Thanks!

  3. Hi Chris, I just found you by way of your comment on Diana's blog. I'm going to go to the beginning now and start from there.

    I love the print on this top ! I just made my first knit t-shirt last week. I really had to psych myself up for it, but have been collecting knits for awhile now and figured I'd better learn to sew 'em up :-)

    It wasn't too bad, it did fit - bonus ! My knit was a cotton rolled but not too badly and I did everything VERY (& I do mean VERY) slowly, laying it out, pinning, marking, sewing 'everything'. Since then I've read somewhere that a good knit to start with is an interlock, since they're more stable.

    For marking I used a chaco roller which worked ok but you could also try the crayola washable markers - I've used those quite a few times now and they work really well on anything you can throw in the wash.

    Good luck with the next one !

  4. Hi Claire,
    Thanks for stopping by, I will definitely check out your blog.
    I love the fabric too, and it fit okay, except where it stretched at the armhole binding.
    I will probably try the cotton knit next and take it account your suggestions.
    I never thought of the washable crayolas, good idea.
    thanks again.