A post about one of my speediest makes to date today! Well it would have been an exceptionally quick make if it hadn't been the first time I'd tried working with knits...yes I finally did it! I'd read up on quite a few tips from other bloggers (Lauren from Lladybird's post is great) so it didn't take too long to work out the slightly different handling techniques and I think it was quite a success! Plus it's a wearable everyday piece that isn't a top to pair with jeans, so it fulfils my post Me-Made-May aim of creating a more practical wardrobe!
After making my Circle-Skirted Elisalex and drafting my first circle skirt I fell in love with the style and promptly added 'make more circle skirts' to my sewing to do list. I've had this navy polka dot jersey in my stash since my very first big fabric shopping trip to Walthamstow market. I got it in Saeed's for some kind of bargain price and I'm actually really pleased with the quality. Once made up it's not sheer at all, even in bright sunshine as I wore it the other day and it bounces back into shape nicely. Being my first time sewing with a knit it did worry me how small and wrinkled up it looked it the flat before I put it on!
The pattern pieces themselves were very easy and quick to draft and cut (using a combination of Casey and By Hand London's tutorial's again). Then came the assembly. I was all prepared with a ballpoint needle and since getting hold of a copy of my machine's manual had decided to give the special 'stretch zig zag stitch a go. It worked out great! It's basically a basic zig zag so the stitching can stretch with the fabric but the machine automatically goes over each stitch a few times for strength. The different properties of such a stretchy fabric took a bit of getting used to but by the end felt natural; I used a lot of pins to keep everything in place and evenly spread and had to keep reminding myself not to pull it at all as it went through the machine, just use my hands to guide.
|'Stretch Zig-Zag Stitch'|
It is wonderful that you don't need to worry about finishing seam allowances with knits as they won't fray or unravel, but the perfectionist in me didn't like leaving them unfinished at all! So much so that even though I could have avoided the pretty long winded task of hemming a circle skirt I chose to hem it! I followed Jen at Grainline's tutorial of doing a rolled hem without the special foot as I'm still not much of a dab hand with the foot and I didn't know how much it would like the jersey. I loved the method of stitching around close to the hem first; it really does work to tighten up that edge and make it easier to turn that long curved edge into a slightly shorter one, plus it gives you a nice hem width guide to follow when turning! I just machine stitched it up with a straight stitch as I wasn't fussed about the stitches showing on a casual jersey skirt and it saved me a lot of hand sewing time.
I guessed a bit with the assembly of the waistband and once it was attached right sides together to the skirt by machine I simply folded it down inside and pressed, pressed the raw edge under and used a hidden herringbone stitch to hold it down. I'm not sure if this was the right thing to do as I'm concerned about the hand stitching holding up to the stretching of pulling it on and off - what would you have done in this situation?
I did leave one seam unfinished, which was a seam I hadn't even planned on having! As the stretch of the jersey negates the need for a fastening and I could fit the full circle onto my fabric in one piece I was going to keep it as a full circle and simply attach a waistband. However, after cutting I didn't get round to sewing it up all that quickly and the circular top edge of the skirt stretched out to be much longer than the waistband I had cut for it! I therefore had to cut a segment out of the circle to reduce the size and create a centre back seam. I don't mind it but would have preferred to be able to finish the seam more neatly...looks like I'm going to be saving my pennies for an overlocker then I'll be loving the knits!
I'm definitely going to give knits a try again and try and improve my techniques, I've got a lovely grey marl jersey already cut out for the Coppelia Cardigan from Papercut Patterns!