Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Basic Hem 2: Knit Boogaloo

Continuing the theme of basic hemming, here's some photographs from a tunic I made using some very cute two-way stretch fabric.

Knits don't really unravel like woven fabrics do, so you can often get away with not hemming them. But that doesn't mean you should–hemming will give your garment a nice, clean edge, and in many cases may look better than your best effort to cut a straight line.
The stretchy nature of knits makes fitting much easier: you can worry less about structural parts of your clothing, and rely instead on stretching your way into the garment.

But another reason that makes it worth hemming knits is that unfinished knits tend to roll:

This phenomenon should be familiar if you've ever done hand knitting. The fabric that we commonly refer to as "knit" is stockinette stitch, which will tend to roll towards the knit side (away from the purl or wrong side), because of the structural nature of the fabric. Hemming can often help alleviate this problem.

Because knit fabrics don't unravel, you don't need to do a two-fold hem. You can actually cheat, fold it up once, sew as normal*, and walk away. You do still need to pin, however.
*Sewing knit tips: use a ballpoint or jersey needle, and stretch slightly as you sew.

If you don't want to pin quite as much, pin every 1-2" or more, and then use a contrasting thread to baste the hem fold down.

If you decide to use your cover stitch, because you absolutely totally completely still love your serger, and literally only used your serger for this entire project, then you definitely need to baste. You can kind of get away with sewing over pins on your sewing machine (it is still a really bad idea), but on the serger, this is the last thing you want.

Sewing with knits is fun! Serging knits is way awesomer. Making a tunic by combining two different patterns is even more satisfying! I've got another hemming-related post for next week, but after that will be a short history of this feathery top.

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