Sunday, January 6, 2013

Adventure of a Knit Newbie

Now that I'm back in the swing of things, I decided to delve into the world of knit fabric and sew my very own Renfrew top from Sewaholic :) It has been reviewed so well that I figured it would be a great starter pattern! I decided to read up on my endeavor so I would be mentally and emotionally prepared in a worst case sewing scenario. There is some great information at lladybird about working with knits - you can read the post here. I also pored over all  of Tasia's Renfrew tutorials at Sewaholic, which left no questions unanswered.  After all this education (and procrastination), I needed a nap. But instead, I took a deep breath and started in!

First the fabric - I knew I needed a stable knit - I found this in my stash, courtesy of my mom... and had to call her to ask what it was.  I knew it was a knit because it stretched (duh!) but it was a weird texture with all these little nubbies everywhere (more about these to come).  She ID'd it as boucle.  I loved the deep purple color, with flecks of fuschia, and I knew the cool texture would help hide any mistakes :)

Thankfully I had just enough fabric to fit the pattern, as I was making view C with the cowl neck and 3/4 length sleeves.  Placing the fabric and pattern pieces was relatively easy - after making sure the grain was all lined up, the cutting out was quick.  The texture of the fabric helped keep everything in place.

Once everything was cut out, I used the fabric scraps to practice sewing the knit.  I have but a mere sewing machine with a single needle (no serger here) so I wanted to make sure I could actually sew this fabric without major distaster.  Turns out all I needed was my ball point needle and a zig zag stitch, and everything was peechy keen.

Look! I made a practice sleeve :)  With my confidence high, I reached for the first two pieces.

Originally I was going to post every step of this journey, outlining the great errors and woes of working with my first knit ever, but boy, was I wrong!  This was the easiest and fastest garment I have ever made!  If you do want step by step help, you can find posts at Sewaholic on creating the Renfrew, view C (also in purple!).  Why reinvent the wheel :)

So it was a success!  And not only was it my first knit....

It was the first time I have NEVER used the seam ripper on a project :)  I didn't even realize it until I reached the end and was sewing on the last sleeve cuff!  Hooray!

*No hard feelings, ol' seam ripper - I'm sure we'll meet again soon.

Changes for next time:  Lengthen the shirt by a few inches and widen the armholes - common problems of being 6' tall :)

Here it is: my first of many Renfrews!

A few more pics:

*Notice the black tank underneath to help with the length :)

Oh, and about those little nubbies.  That was the one bad thing about this project - those dark purple fuzzies are EVERYHWERE!  I'll probably be seeing them in my sleep tonight - time to break out the lint roller :)


  1. Lovely! Looks great on you!

  2. Oh my gosh, I can't believe you made this!!! Way to go!!!

  3. LOVE the purple! The Renfrew is such a great pattern, easy and versatile.

  4. This looks great, you should feel well proud! I've just bought this pattern and am keeping my fingers crossed that it goes as well as it did for you: tho' my limited experience of sewing with knits is that it very much depends on the quality of the knit :-O

    1. Thanks everyone! This fabric WAS great to work with - hopefully I have the same experience with the other knits I purchased :) Stripe matching, anyone? Lol

  5. What a great looking top. Great job, especially for your first knit project. :)

  6. Yup, now you're hooked! Knits are only scary because of how addictive they are once you learn they're not difficult at all.
    P.S. I have that same ironing board cover from IKEA. I think I need a slicker board cover that can just be wiped off instead of meticulously lint-rolled! Do they make those?

    1. Haha - right? I just bought four more knit fabrics... uhh... lol.

      Also, I'm not sure about slick ironing board covers, but I so want this one - its like a cutting board and ironing board put together! (not sure why I don't just buy it for $12 :)

  7. Love the new knit top! Great job! Little hint: in case you haven't already--give Archibald a once over in the bobbin case area with your little machine brush. Those little lint balls from boucle can really travel!