One of the biggest challenges when sewing with knits is knowing what kind to buy! There are so many different kinds on the market, and each has its advantages and disadvantages. Today I am going to go through the main types, and make some suggestions of what to buy for your Seena Dolman Tee.
Jersey knit: This is the most popular. Many men’s and children’s tees are made from jersey knit. Most jersey is 100% cotton and has some, but not a lot of stretch. It tends to curl at the edges, which can make it difficult to work with. It can be a good choice for the Seena, just be sure it has at least 30% stretch. To check, take a 3″ piece along the cut (not selvage) edge and it should stretch to at least 4″.
You can see how this jersey curls up at the edge.
Look at this stretch test. A 4″ strip only stretches to 5″. This fabric would not be suitable for the Seena.
Cotton lycra: This is jersey knit with the added benefit of lycra, or spandex, woven in to the fabric. The big benefit is that it becomes much more stretchy and also recovers its shape, ie, doesn’t get stretched out. Many women’s shirts, and some athletic wear, is made out of cotton lycra. It is my favourite type of fabric to work with, and I recommend using it for the Seena Dolman Tee.
I love cotton lycra. This one barely curls at the edge.
Also, the addition of lycra means that it passes our 30% stretch test. 4″ stretches to 6″.
Interlock: This is one of the easiest knits to work with. It is thicker than jersey or cotton lycra. It has a medium amount of stretch, but it can stretch out easily. Since the Seena is not super fitted, this is not as big of a concern as when you would sewing leggings, for example, that require a lot closer fit. Another good choice for the sewalong.
Rib knit, aka ribbing: Rib knit is a tricky beast. It is super duper stretchy, but also has the tendency to stretch out badly. Have you ever worn a tee that ended up wider and shorter at the end of the day? Likely it was made of rib knit. The big advantage of it is that it makes PERFECT bindings! The Seena calls for a small strip of rib knit to finish the neckline. You can use any of the other knits I mentioned, but you’ll have to do a bit of more experimentation, as the neckline measurements I give will be for rib knit. I often raid my closet for worn out, stretched shirts to use for my necklines. If you are buying, look for a remnant or ask for the smallest amount they’ll cut (often 4″).
There are many other kinds that I won’t go into today, but this should give you a good starting point for your shopping for the sewalong.
One last thing I wanted to mention is to think about how drapey, or clingy, your fabric is. Often the thinner the fabric, the drapier it is. This means it clings to your body. It will give you a body hugging silhouette, but may also reveal bumps and lumps you’d rather keep hidden! A thicker, and less drapey fabric will give a bit more of a boxy look, but will hang over bumps, rather than hug them. I placed a sample of rib knit (purple, quite thin, very drapey) and interlock (blue, thicker, less drapey) over a peg and you can see the different way both these fabrics fall.
The great thing about knits is that they are often 60″ wide, as apposed to 45″ of quilting cottons. So while they can seem more expensive, you are actually getting more product.
You will be receiving your pattern by email later today; all the fabric requirements are posted in the tutorial.
Just a quick note about directional vs. non directional prints:
This bird fabric is directional. The birds will be standing on their heads if you cut the pattern piece upside down. The stars are non directional. They don’t have an ‘up’ or ‘down’. (These beautiful knits can be purchased at L’Oiseau Fabrics).
Here are some more resources if you would like to read up on this topic:
I HIGHLY recommend this article by Elegance and Elephants about the affect different knits have on the fit of your garment
Description of knits by It’s Always Autumn
On Monday, Nov 3 we will be talking about the other supplies you need, and the sewing fun will begin on Tuesday!