Knit Nitwit

finished knit shirtsWell it was bound to happen. Things were going too smoothly in my sewing adventures. I guess I needed a reality check. I kept reading blog entries about sewing with knits being difficult but they always ended with something along the lines of “don’t be scared… go for it!” So I decided to give it a try.

I wanted to make some little boy clothes since I had only focused on clothes for the girls so far. The weather was cold and my little man needed more long-sleeve shirts. I decided to use the shirt tutorial from MADE since the pant one I did recently was successful. I went out and bought three different colors of solid knits from Joann’s and set to work.
knits

First, I needed to create my own pattern from a existing piece of clothing. I decided to sacrifice a 24-month onesie. I cut it apart and traced the pieces on some large art paper already scribbled on by my kids.

onsie cut up

I then added a ½ inch seam allowance to the traced images. Labeled them and cut them out.

pattern

Then I cut my pieces of fabric out.

cut fabric

Sewed the ribbing on.

neck ribbing sewn on

Looks good so far, right?…Ugh.

First, after beginning to assemble my sleeves, I realized they were too narrow at the wrist. I did have to fudge the long sleeve pattern because my onesie was short sleeved so I redrew a new pattern that I hoped would result in a better fitting sleeve.

new and old sleeve

I then re-sewed the newly-cut long sleeves and assembled the rest of the shirt. It was difficult to sew the sleeve to the shirt because it was too narrow to fit even the free arm but I got through it by placing the entire shirt on top of the machine’s bed and sewing slowly so I wouldn’t catch extra shirt material in the stitches.

sewing sleeves on

I then hemmed the bottom, turned it right side out, and tried it out on my son. Pretty cute huh?

calder with shirt on

That doesn’t seem too bad? Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the part where AFTER I made a second shirt for him, I had to stretch it to fit over him (I had tried to make it slimmer in places) and I heard the stitches snap. That is the moment I realized you can’t just use any ol’ straight stitch to sew up a knit garment. So, I disassembled TWO shirts, researched what stitches to use and sewed them back together again!

I tried two different stitches on the sleeves to determine which stitch to use on my fabric. For the top sleeve, I used a stretch stitch and the bottom is a zig zag stitch.  Since the stretch stitch caused more puckering, I went with the zig zag.

sleeve stitches

Before I finished sewing the shirts together, I had adjusted my zig zag a bit more and ended up with a pretty clean stitch that still gave enough so as not to break when stretched.

As for the bottom hem, I found a straight stitch with a long stitch length worked just fine.

I thought I was in the clear until I did this…

sleeve sewn on inside out

Yep, I sewed that sleeve on inside out! Oh well. I ripped that sucker off and sewed it on correctly.

So now I have two long sleeve shirts finally finished and it is 70 degrees outside. Hopefully, he will get to wear them at least once before he outgrows them!

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