Yesterday I had the time of my life.
Eight full hours to sew, surrounded by other crafty women, fabric, notions, and snacks (including Debbie's hubby's egg rolls!). Not a small child or husband in sight. (Don't get me wrong, we love them too, but this was Girl's Night Out).
What am I talking about? The Snack N' Sew at the Needle Nook Fabrics shop. 4pm to Midnight. Only $4, and bring a snack and a WIP. Wow.
Until last night, I had a fear of knit fabrics. Wouldn't touch 'em with a ten-foot pole. Thought you needed a serger to sew them. I was so wrong. Knits are wonderful, once you get to know them!
First of all, I had to learn about the different types of knits. The two I worked with last night were an interlock and a jersey. I'm not fond of jersey...tends to roll, but for making cute t-shirts, jersey is the way to go. The interlock, as I learned, can be used as a substitute for ribbing when making cuffs and neckbands, because it has enought stretch and recovery. As I had already purchased some jersey in a blue and black stripe and an interlock in black, I used the interlock as the cuffs and neckband for the jersey t-shirt.
Second, you don't need a serger for knits. In fact, a serger makes more sense for woven fabrics, as they tend to unravel, whereas knits don't (another point for knits!). You can do almost anything with a sewing machine that can straight stitch and zigzag. Ask me! But a serger will make your sewing (of almost any kind) faster. So a serger is my next big purchase.
Third...press as you sew. Press all your seams to "set" them. This strengthens your stitching, and when it comes to the collar, makes a nice, professional looking garment.
Before I went, I had purchased the book Kwik Sew's Sewing for Toddlers. This is an amazing book, and worth the $22 I spent. There are master patterns included for tshirs, shorts, pants, skirts, and jumpsuits for the toddler set, with so many variations you'll never need another toddler pattern again. I read somewhere on PatternReview.com that a lady liked to look at the trends in Ottobre, then recreate them using these patterns. After creating the first pair of pants (which took several hours...between snacking and visiting) I was able to sew the second pair in less than an hour. The t-shirt pattern was just as simple. I mean it. Easy-peasy. For most seams, Anne had me use a zigzag stitch with a very small stitch width, so it barely zagged, almost more of a straight stitch. Collars and cuffs took a wider zigzag, but closer together. And reinforce the crotch and underarm for active kids with an overlock stitch if your machine has one.
And the end result?
The pant cuffs are hard to see in this picture, but trying to get him to stand still was harder! He'll get lots of wear from this outfit, as it's a size T1 with room to grow. The pattern book runs from size T1 to T4 and is for children still in diapers (the patterns account for this).
Can't wait until next month! I might try something for myself!