As I’ve gone through my Wardrobe Architect journey over the last few months, I’ve realized how important comfort is to me.
Sure, it seems obvious that our clothes should be comfortable. But when I really looked at what pieces of clothing I wore again and again, at least half of them turned out to be made from knits.
As I’ve learned more and more about working with knit fabrics while collaborating with Alyson, my sewing life has changed dramatically. Here’s why:
Knits are fast. With so little fitting and almost no pressing, a knit garment can usually be finished in a matter of hours.
Knits are easy. Once you get the hang of handling them, it’s incredibly easy to sew with knits.
Knits get worn. So far, I must say that the knit garments I’ve made have been some of the most-worn projects I’ve made… in over 16 years of sewing.
Now, there is a little bit of a learning curve if (like me) you’ve always preferred sewing with wovens. You need to learn a few techniques and pitfalls to wach out for, especially if you want to sew without a serger.
That’s why we’re here to help.
I’ve already told you a great deal about The Colette Guide to Sewing Knits in the last few weeks, so I’ll get back to that at the end of the post. First, I want to unveil our two new patterns designed for knits by Alyson Clair.
Moneta – 1 dress, over 20 possibilities
First up is Moneta, a perfect elegant little knit dress that can be made over 20 different ways when you download our free collar variations!
In just a few hours, you can create a fitted dress with a full skirt that you won’t want to take off all summer. For those in the southern hemisphere, Moneta also has sleeve options for cooler weather, and is great for layering with tights and sweaters. It’s a true year-round pattern.
Out of the package, Moneta can be made with a simple rounded collar that laps in back, or a collarless style. You have a choice between sleeveless, short sleeve, or 3/4-sleeve versions.
Mabel – a dead-simple skirt you can make in an hour!
I think we all need those pieces in our sewing arsenal that can be whipped up in no time. I love sewing those kinds of projects in between the more complicated ones for a little instant gratification.
It’s even better if it’s a basic that you can wear the heck out of.
Up until now, Laurel has been number one in this category for me. But I’m afraid Mabel might be taking the lead. I kid you not, I have been wearing a version of this skirt at least once a week for the last six months.
So simple in construction, Mabel can go from cutting to completion in as little as an hour!
With a gently curved hip and countoured waistband, this pull-on skirt comes in three styles. Version 1 is a mid-thigh length mini that works beautifully in both solids and prints (I can’t wait to show you my striped version!). Version 2 features a faux button placket down the front for a little fun button detail. Version 3 is a classic pencil skirt with front paneled seaming and a kickpleat at the back.
Because Mabel is designed to be sewn with stable knits (I like pique or double knit best), it’s easy to sew even if you aren’t used to working with knits. These fabrics are some of my absolute favorites to work with because they have the stability of wovens, the comfort of knits, and a flattering smooth look that doesn’t show every lump and bump.
Mabel looks fantastic on so many women. Here, you can see it on a size M and a size 2X. Like Moneta, Mabel is sized up to 3X.
By the way, if you like the cropped sweater Briana wears with the skirt in the photos above, we actually adapted it from the Moneta pattern! I’ll be showing you how in a future tutorial.
When I first learned to sew, nothing plagued me more than zippers.
Lumps, bumps, gaps, and frustration were de rigueur with each zipper I sewed. As a young self-taught seamstress, I simply loathed them. It took a lot of trial and error (and wonky projects) before I mastered that finicky fastener.
But times have changed since the mid-90s, haven’t they? Now we have that saving grace, the INTERNET.
(Ok, I know the internet existed in the 90s, but it was a baby internet and didn’t teach me very much.)
Stabilization techniques (great for lightweight fabrics that tend to buckle)
Presser feet options, and how to use them
How to do a variety of zipper insertion methods, such as the invisible and lapped zipper
Inserting zippers into lined garments
Sunni is a fantastic teacher, and the class is nice and quick, which I love.
Why I love video
I think we all have different learning styles. Some people are auditory learners and like to be guided aurally. Some people are visual learners and like to see how things are done. Some people do best reading and learning from text. Some people need to do things with their hands to learn.
But most of us are really best off with a combination of different methods. That’s what makes video classes like Craftsy’s so effective, you really get the entire experience so the information can sink in.
Plus, it’s wonderful to be able to watch them on your own time, and pause and rewind any parts that are tricky.
Master zippers with Sunni
If you want to learn some favorite zipper technique for free, or just want to see what Craftsy classes are like, head on over to Sunni’s free class and click the “enroll now” button on the upper right.
Every year at this time I face a conundrum in my garden.
You see, I have a little condition known around our house as tulip mania. We’ve even given it a theme song (sung to the tune of The Damned song Psychomania, fyi).
So when the tulips begin popping up in April, I get dorkily excited. But then the heartbreaking decision: do I cut them?
On the one hand, I get to see them and enjoy them more when they’re on my dining room table then, say, getting trampled by kids and dogs in our parking strip. But I know the moment I cut them they begin to die, and unlike a flowering bush or tree, bulbs are sort of a one-time-use flower. Once you cut the bloom, it’s gone.
I thought of this internal struggle again as I cleaned out my fabric stash a little this week.
Sure, I know I should use all the gorgeous fabrics I already own. I have boxes of them! But something about the thought of using them makes them feel less permanent.
When a fabric is just a fabric it has so much creative potential. You can imagine finding the perfect use for it.
Once you cut into it and make a garment, it starts to be used and in a way, starts to decay. All things move toward their end, as they say.
I don’t consciously think of all this when I choose not to sew from my stash, of course. But in the back of my mind, perhaps there is a fear of ruining something I love in itself.
How do you push past the fear of destroying what you have by using it?