Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Tips for Sewing With Knits & Sahara Fabrics Knits Giveaway


I think I've made it pretty clear that I'm a fabric fanatic. Especially awesome knit prints.  I can't get enough of them! So I'm thrilled to share my key tips for happy knit sewing AND that I'm giving away some new knit fabrics from a great new knit fabric store!  


 photo sahara_fabrics_logo_1443554655__49552_zpspt10fggb.jpg


Sahara Fabrics is the sister company to one of my favorite sources for print PUL, FOE & other specialty materials, Diaper Sewing Supplies.  You may remember it as the source for my ultra-versatile waterproof oxford fabric projects back in the summer:


Waterproof Oxford Feature, 5 Minute Zip Purse Tutorial

A while back I'd told Dawn, the owner of DSS, how great it would be if she offered some of her cool PUL prints as knits. So I was thrilled when she later told me she was going to do cotton knits and asked me do some fabric testing for it. Now her new shop, Sahara Fabrics, offers fantastic knit prints like these beauties:


With my kids getting older I've found it harder to find prints that are fun, but not too cutesy or juvenile. Same with sewing things for myself - I like whimsical prints, but still want them to be wearable, which these prints totally are:




Now, how to sew with these fabrics 
and a chance to win some too!


I want to start by saying that sewing with knits is not as hard as most people imagine. And you do not need a serger to get seams that stretch, just a few key notions. You really can start sewing up your own pjs, t-shirts, leggings & undies in no time!


Sewing With Knits Success Tips: 

Use a walking foot - it grips fabric from the top (instead of just the feed dogs underneath), so the even hold keeps layers from creeping or stretching while you sew.  This really makes a difference when sewing knits, so it's worth getting:



Nylon thread - this wooly looking thread is what I use in my bobbin whenever I sew knits. It adds a little extra stretch for seams that will be pulled a lot, like neck or leg holes. And a cone of it will last forever.



Stretchy stitches - this is the other key element to sewing knits.  Triple stitch, triple zig-zag, overcasting/knit stitch all work great, as do a few others.  They provide give and strength which are key when sewing with knit fabric.  It is totally worth the time to dig out your machine's manual and see what stitches you have. Usually it will also tell you what each stitch is suited for too, so you probably have even more options than you expect!



For more details on these and other stitches, you can check out my post Ways to Sew Knits Without A Serger.

Coordinating Notions/Trims - Ball point needles are necessary for sewing knits and twin needles are great for a professional finish on hems & necklines (and have stretch too). 

Lastin, a clear elastic is also great for stabilizing seams and for gathering:



Binding and Fold-Over-Elastic (FOE) are great for flexible binding on things like cuffs, waistbands and legholes.  



I used some 3/4 inch elastic binding to trim up these boxer briefs I made for my 10yr old with the Aztec Fox print and by modifying a longjohn pant pattern:



Good Knit Fabric - the most important thing is to use good, quality, knit fabric. The cheap thin stuff is what puckers, bunches and causes knit frustration.  These Sahara Fabrics knits are 95% cotton, 5% spandex, so there's a nice weight and drape that's not heavy, but also not flimsy.  It's taken me a few years to admit (I can be a fabric cheapskate), but it's just smarter to buy the good knits than to struggle with second rate fabrics because they didn't cost much.

I used the colorful Feathers In Flight print and its coordinating solid pink to make this cute top for my daughter:




The pattern was the Autumn Forest top from Ottobre Design 4/2014 issue. It called for using Lastin clear elastic to do the front gathering detail.  



I bought some from Sahara Fabrics and it worked well with the fabric and gathered better than the usual baste and pull method.  



I used a triple stitch for all the seams and topstitching.  It's literally what it sounds like - a straight stitch gone over 3 times, but it has tremendous stretch and a professional "thicker" look:



I used the Arrows In Flight print to make myself this raglan lounge top (Seamingly Smitten's Women's Raglan pattern).  I love how it's whimsical, but not too twee and that it's gender neutral.  I'm totally going to buy some more of this one to make stuff for my husband and kids too.



It's also nice & colorful (which means it's easy to match to things), but not too bright.  It totally worked with this sea foam color rib knit I had in my stash:



I especially loved how these fabrics worked when I made pajamas for my 13yr old son.  Sewing for teens can be tough. He's now too big for kid's clothing store pjs, yet too thin for men's.  He still likes wearing fun prints, yet doesn't want to look like "a little kid", so it can be challenging getting it right.  I used this ultra cool Super Science print and some aqua sweatshirt fleece to make these:



The pattern was Ottobre Design's Rudolph pajamas from the 6/2009 issue (which go up to teen size) and I made my own planet applique to echo the print and complete the look.  He LOVED it, so big thumbs up on this print.



Since my solid fleece barely had any stretch I used the cotton knit for the neck trim and cuffs.  



I was a little nervous it might not work out as the pattern called for rib knit, but the spandex stretch worked great, so it's good to know that it's suited for both main and trim fabric.


I still have a bit of fabric left from my testing and want to share my fabric love with my readers, so .....


I'm giving away this Sahara Fabrics Bundle to one lucky reader!

The winner will receive a fat half yard each of Feathers in Flight & Dragonfly Grace knit prints and a half yard of the coordinating solid purple knit:  



And if you love some of the other prints I used, they're all currently at a lower introductory price for the month of December so now's the time to grab some.  There are a few good coupon codes to use too if you look here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are you a knit fabric fanatic too?  
What do you love to make with them?


74 comments:

  1. Feathers in Flight. 24Tangent@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. I would make a PJ Top. 24Tangent@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. arrows in flight or wildflowers in watercolor would have to be my favorite prints. I love to use knits to make pjs, tees, and dresses for my kids.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Breastfeeding love is beautiful I would love to make a outfit for the grandbaby due in Jan with it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Breastfeeding love is beautiful I would love to make a outfit for the grandbaby due in Jan with it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. These new prints are amazing and I love your tutorials! I picked up a few new tricks to use!

    ReplyDelete
  7. The Bikes n Trikes fabric is cute -

    ReplyDelete
  8. Love the fancy pants elephants print :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Would make some cute baby pants

    ReplyDelete
  10. I would probably make a cute top with them!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I love the ladbug cotton spandex knit fabric x
    Iain.ross30 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  12. I would make a tank top x
    Iain.ross30 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  13. I really am torn between Bikes and Trikes and Geo Fox -- both are so adorable!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I would definitely make tunic style tops for my granddaughters!!

    ReplyDelete
  15. love the forest monkeys, geo fox and monster mash!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I'd definitely make some cute tees for my kids! and a few for me too!

    ReplyDelete
  17. My favorite fabric is Monster Mash! I would make pajama shorts, hoodies, and headbands with it.

    ReplyDelete
  18. My favorite fabric is Feathers in Flight.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I would make something for my granddaughters. Thanks for the giveaway.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I could use a few yards of Kaleidoscope Butterflies Cotton Spandex Knit Fabric to make my daughter a top, pants, and a dress

    ReplyDelete
  21. I seriously love the feathers in flight that you chose. I looked at all of them and it's my fave!

    ReplyDelete
  22. My favorite is Dragonfly Grace Cotton Spandex Knit Fabric.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Feathers in Flight is cute & so are many others. I would make tops.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I love the Kaleidoscope Butterflies, I would make tops for my two granddaughters. Thank you for the giveaway.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I love all the prints. I'm new to knit, thanks for the tips

    ReplyDelete
  26. Love the ladybug knit fabric and would make my daughter something!

    ReplyDelete
  27. First thing I would make is pj for my grandkids. Thanks for the offer.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I would make a cute top with the dragonflies and use the solid purple for edging the sleeves and neckline.

    ReplyDelete
  29. GASP. Look at that dragonfly fabric! Oh, I must have it. I love dragonflies! I love most of the other prints, too...

    ReplyDelete
  30. As for what I would make, tough to decide! Probably just a comfy knit top for myself, or maybe a skirt.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I love the Dragonflies...& the Wildflower Watercolor print!!! (& several more..for the Grankiddo's! lol)

    Thanks for chance to win your Give-a-way! :)

    ReplyDelete
  32. Will make tops for me, dresses & tops for Grangirlie, and Jamma's for Granbaby! :)

    ReplyDelete
  33. I like geo fox. I've been looking for knit fabrics at our local stores and they have literally nothing that I would waste my time with. So glad to have come upon your blog. Thanks. :)

    ReplyDelete
  34. I'd like to make myself some tops.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I really like Feathers in Flight Cotton Spandex Knit Fabric
    gandn74@ymail.com

    ReplyDelete
  36. I would make my grand daughter a blouse
    gandn74@ymail.com

    ReplyDelete
  37. I would probably make some pajama pants.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I have been sewing for the last 56 years and still going. Love it.

    ReplyDelete
  39. I love the wildflower watercolor print!

    ReplyDelete
  40. I would make clothes for my kiddos. Not sure what yet.. I just bought a babylock CS so I'm sure I'd come up with something awesome! (US)

    ReplyDelete
  41. I love the Geo Fox. I'd love to make a raglan tee for my daughter out of it.

    ReplyDelete
  42. I like the Wildflower Watercolor Cotton Spandex Knit Fabric.

    ReplyDelete
  43. I would love to make some cute handbags .

    ReplyDelete
  44. I love the Rainbow Unicorns,so cute for a little girl!

    ReplyDelete
  45. I would make some pj's for my little niece or a night gown,these would be adorable!

    ReplyDelete
  46. I love the different colors and the stitching. I love that you made them yourself.

    ReplyDelete
  47. My granddaughters like the head bands out of knit. I would make them some.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Love the feathers! Santa is bringing a new sewing machine to me. I'm so excited! scrapgirl37@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  49. I like Geo Fox Cotton Spandex

    ReplyDelete
  50. I'd make something for my granddaughter!

    ReplyDelete
  51. I love sewing with knits! That wildflower watercolor print is so pretty!!!

    ReplyDelete
  52. I have been sewing since my grandmother taught me at 4 so I would start by sewing my brand new grandbaby an outfit with the purple and the wild flower water color print ruffled outfit.

    ReplyDelete
  53. I have been sewing since my grandmother taught me at 4 so I would start by sewing my brand new grandbaby an outfit with the purple and the wild flower water color print ruffled outfit.

    ReplyDelete
  54. I used to love to sew as a youngster. It is a great hobby that I have forgotten about. Hope to do some soon!

    ReplyDelete
  55. I want to make matching jammies for me and my little with the Monster Mash print.

    ReplyDelete
  56. I love the Arrows in Flight print!

    ReplyDelete
  57. I would make a set of pouches for all of the stuff in my purse!

    ReplyDelete
  58. My favorite knit is the Ladybugs! I love all the colors and cuteness!

    ReplyDelete
  59. I would coordinate the Ladybugs print with the Aqua solid knit to make an adorable dress for my niece. Thank you for the tips on sewing with knits...I feel like I could tackle a project now! Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones, Cheryl!

    ReplyDelete
  60. I would make some pj's for my daughters!

    ReplyDelete
  61. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Grr lets try this again !LOL Lady Bugs to make jammies for my youngest Granddaughter. Thank you for the chance to win.

    ReplyDelete

Getting your comments brightens my day. I'd love if you left one:)

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails