My first sew with knit material – the simple top

Here is another make from my #miymarch16 activity!


To ease my nerves, I read up for some basic tips on sewing with knit fabrics with the help of Tilly and the Buttons’ blog post and Smarmyclothes’ youtube video.

The pattern – McCall’s 9399

top pattern

I got this pattern in a charity shop for a bargain price – I’m not even sure I paid the £1.99 penned onto the front!  I chose design E as I quite like a high-ish neckline, although I was tempted by the asymmetrical option, and H, which has a slightly lower neckline.

I didn’t want a complicated first knit project, so I felt that this pattern would be simple enough to give it a go without using too much material and time immediately.

I needed only a yard of material for this project.  I used a stretchy material I bought from Fabricland a long time ago but hadn’t gotten around to using so I was very happy to finally bust this one out of the stash!!

The pattern suggested a double hem.  Baffled by this technique, I searched online and found this tutorial to be useful in defining what it is.  Knowing I had a twin needle, I thought “yeah!  I could do that!” and set to work to make it happen.  However, after hemming the neckline, I realised that the bobbin thread was way too tight and and broke when I stretched the material.  I searched online to find out how to resolve this new issue and came across Mariadenmark’s useful post.  This enabled me to realise that I needed to increase the upper thread tension to make it work (I didn’t use interfacing as I don’t own any for knit fabrics – yet).

Things I learned from this project:

  1. Prior research helped a lot! If I hadn’t learned the basic tips of how to prevent it stretching, the needle to use, and the stitch types which can be used, I would have been stuffed as I would have been easily mislead by the pattern’s instructions and guidance as it looks like they suggest a straight stitch…
  2. The double needle gives a nice neck edge – but it takes time to get the tension right for it to work!
  3. Use a knit machine needle!
  4. There are various stitches you can use for knit fabrics. I thought I would opt for the standard zigzag, but when it warped the shoulder seams a bit, I found that the three stitch zigzag worked much better for me and the material I was using.


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