One Hour Top with Hit Parade Knits

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

I've been a long time sufferer of knit-phobia. I had a brief encounter with knit fabric in college, trying to make a tshirt for one of my BJDs. It kept getting sucked into my machine and stretching. I honestly had no clue what I was doing, but it instilled a sense of fear in me.

At Quilt Market, Julia wore a dress she made out of Lizzy House's Hit Parade Knits from Andover. It looked so comfy and cute, I was pretty jealous. After scoping at the knits at every major booth, Julia declared the Andover knits are her preference. They stretch two ways, and don't distort the colors' appearance when stretched. They're also very soft and an ideal weight for garments. 

I decided it was time to face my knit-phobia. Giuseppe sent me the cream kitty print and I selected an easy beginner project: the One Hour Top from Fancy Tiger Crafts. I don't have a serger so I spent some time researching how to tackle the task of sewing with knits. The main points I gathered were:
  • Prewash your fabric (always a good tip)
  • Take care not to stretch the fabric when transferring the pattern
  • Use a ballpoint needle
  • Use a stretch stitch, AKA, the lightning bolt
  • Use polyester thread (cotton doesn't stretch and will break)
  • Use a walking foot
  • Lower the pressed foot pressure to the lowest setting 
  • Don't stretch the fabric when sewing
After adding 2" to the hemline (I need something I traced my pattern onto the fabric with a water soluble marker and cut it out with my rotary cutter. This process took way longer than usual because I had to be careful not to stretch the fabric. Luckily the One Hour Top only has two pattern pieces.

I used a stretch stitch for all my seams and it worked wonderfully. I was pretty shocked that it worked so well right out of the gate.

The only issue I had was with the twin needle. I've never used a twin needle before. The pattern says to use a twin needle to hem the neckline, sleeves, and bottom hemline. I followed my machine's instructions to set up the twin needle tested on a scrap piece of knit. Based on the illustration in the pattern, it looked like they were doing a straight stitch, so that's what I selected. Well, it offered ZERO stretch. It didn't seem practical to have the neckline and sleeves not allow for any stretch, so I switched back to the stretch stitch to hem everything. I mentioned this to Lizzy House during our Meadow Quilt workshop and she informed me that there's actually a twin needle specifically for knits. Who knew?

The finished top is precious! I love loose 3/4 length tops, so this is right up my alley. I can't wait to sew more with knits.

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