Sewing with Knits

Learning to Sew with Knits: || Tips for Beginner Sewing

Learning to Sew with Knits

This week I had my first experience sewing with knits! It wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be, but my garment definitely isn’t perfect. Can’t wait to share what I’ve learned!

Choosing the Fabric

I can’t say that I had anything to do with choosing my fabric. I think I was working at camp one summer, and my mom told me she was going into NYC, and I told her to pick up some jersey for me.

That was probably over 5 years ago. Mom doesn’t remember any of this happening. All I know is that I didn’t pick out the fabric, but that I loved it.

Patterns will tell you the percentage elasticity that the fabric should have in order to look/ drape correctly. If you shop online, you’ll see the elasticity in the product description. This is super important!

This is where I tell you that I’m a bad sewist. I didn’t check anything. The pattern even gave a guide to what the piece should measure when stretched, and I didn’t test it. Since this fabric was lying around for over 5 years, I knew I was just going to use it. Fortunately, it all worked out.

Choosing the Pattern

I used this Free Plantain Tee pattern from Deer and Doe. All of their patterns have good reviews, so I knew their free pattern would be just as good.

And thennnn I made it longer, because I wanted a swing dress. The photos showed that the bottom of the tee flaired out a bit, so I knew if I just followed that line, it would be perfect.

I measured from the back of my neck to the back of the knee to determine the final length, and then added to the pattern with some tissue paper.

turning a tshirt pattern into a swing dress

Cutting the Fabric

One thing I love about sewing my own knits is prewashing. I love knowing it won’t shrink and be too short once I’m finished. I wash and dry the fabric before cutting at the temperature that I normally use for laundry.

Now for cutting…

Finding the grain was kind of tricky. I had about 2 yards of fabric, so I couldn’t hold it up to fold it neatly. I first matched the edges, and if the fold wasn’t smooth, I would move the fabric until it laid flat.

Since knits are stretchy, it was a little harder to cut that I anticipated. Next time, I will probably cut with a rotary cutter so I don’t have that problem.

laying out the pattern on jersey knit fabric


This pattern sewed up super quickly! I used the stretchy knit zig zag stitch on my sewing machine an a jersey needle, and didn’t have any issues. I think I was done in 2 hours.

Unfortunately, I need more practice with necklines. One half is perfect, and the other half isn’t stretched enough so it hangs weirdly. And then I almost fixed it at the shoulder seam, but now it might look worse.

I’ll just wear a scarf, and no one will know *laughing crying emoji! Here’s the good side 🙂

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I used a twin needle for the seams, and I was super nervous at first. I thought I would break my machine or the needle or the 2 strands of thread would get tangled, but it was perfect! And the finished look is amazing! Definitely helps it NOT look handmade (which is always the goal,right?).

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Soooo it’s suddenly cold and rainy in NJ. Otherwise, I would have a pic of myself in the dress (with a scarf). I will update the post when it gets a little warmer! That will teach me to plan my posts a little better :p

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