Comfy cozy knits probably aren’t the first fabrics that come to mind when planning your spring and summer sewing projects. But these heavier knits can play a key role in your warm-weather wardrobe. Maybe you need a cardigan or wrap to pair with a sleeveless dress on a cool night out? Or perhaps you live in a climate or work in a chilly office where layers are a must? There are many occasions when we all still need a bit of extra warmth, even if the calendar says it is summer!
Keeping changing temperatures in mind, mid-weight sweater knits, French terry, or even sweatshirt fleece are all excellent choices for an extra layer or seasonal loungewear. Find a variety of textures and weights suitable for a classic button-up cardigan, staple hoodie, or even a new pair of joggers. These heavier knits are also a great choice for a comfy knit dress, slouchy pullover, or even a simple tunic to use as a beach/pool coverup. Oh, the possibilities!
In planning our spring blog series, we knew Carolyn (@crafty_carolyn) and Michele (@winmichele) would be the perfect choices to share their passion of sewing with layering knits! Both are avid seamstresses that love sewing with these stable knits, as much for their comfort, as their ease in sewing. Here is a look at their spring makes, featuring two of our newest sweater knits, along with a few of their thoughts and tips about working with them.
Details about Carolyn’s Outfit—Fabrics: Plush Rib Sweater Knit, Cotton Modal Jersey Knit, and Mid Weight Bleached Denim, Patterns: Patterns for Pirates’s Grandpa Cardi, Sewn by Pattern Pieces’s Ladies Fun Tee, and Closet Core Morgan Jeans (For the cardigan, Carolyn sized down one size and cropped the length by 3″.)
About her rib knit cardigan, Carolyn shared, “I absolutely LOVE the weight of this sweater knit; it will be a perfect transitional piece into warmer weather, and for cool spring and summer nights.” She went with a cropped length, open front, and 3/4-length sleeves—all excellent choices for a classic cardigan to pair with just about anything!
Carolyn added, “I enjoy sewing [with] heavier knits because they tend to be very forgiving with fit, and they are stable to sew—perfect for a beginner sewist.” Some of her favorite garments to pair with these fabrics include hoodies, sweatshirts, and other styles of cardigans. Each fitting the bill of easy to fit and quick to sew!
Michelle also loves how easy different layering knit are to work with. Specifically, she likes “the ability to use the serger for most of the construction.” If you don’t have a serger, she recommends using a walking foot on your sewing machine to help prevent any pulling and creating wavy seams as you sew.
Living in Arizona, Michele finds less of a need for knit layers in her handmade wardrobe. Instead, you will find her sewing “dresses, cardigans, turtlenecks, and pencil skirts” in heavier rib knits, sweater knits, and more. She also loves wardrobe staples, like rib knit tanks that can easily mix and match with a variety of looks.
As Carolyn mentioned, these heavier layering knits are quite stable, making them a dream to sew. We recommend sewing a few test seams using a couple of layers of scraps. Experiment with adjusting the tension on your serger or sewing machine to get the correct settings for your fabric and prevent the seams from stretching out as you sew. A longer stitch length may also prove to be helpful. And to prevent any unraveling as you handle the pieces, especially on looser knits, Michele recommends using a wider seam allowance.
If all else fails, “Your steam feature of your iron will be your best friend,” Carolyn sympathizes. Pressing your seams as you go will help set the seams, relax the knit, and give you the best finished results. Notice a trend? Pressing is as important as the actual construction when sewing garments, no matter what fabric you are using.
This spring. we are excited to offer a wide variety of layering knits in beautiful spring colors—sweater knits, French terry, and sweatshirt fleece. From soft pastels and saturated brights to classic neutrals, find a whole rainbow of options in different textures and looks. Select your favorites to mix and match with other spring essentials, such as rayon wovens, jersey knits, or shirtings, to create your own mini capsule wardrobe with various options and looks!
One to go! We’ll round out our look at must-have spring fabrics with an overview of our favorite bottom weights later this week. We hope you have enjoyed the series so far! If you missed any of the posts or want to revisit one, find them all HERE.