Confident BeginnerA Jack of no Trades
McCalls Open-Front Knit Jacket
After years of avoiding it, and countless ‘maybe later’ mumbles, I have finally returned to the stretch life. Knitch please, I made a jacket!
First off, can we take a moment to look at DAT GRASS and DAT SKY? Sometimes nature, you are f-r-e-s-h as hell. Ok, back to me people. Y’all should know that I have a pretty bad history for working with knits. After my previous experiences, I kind of swore off the idea of ever having anything handmade in a knit material ever in my life. I just hate the feeling of working so hard for something that is just a pile of poo at the end, ya know? However, my mother-in-law was about to change all of that for me in one fell swoop: she signed us up for a knit sewing class. HERE I COME WORLD, READY TO SEW!
On a bright and sunny Saturday morning, we headed to the Disneyland of fabric stores in Richmond, Fabricana, to begin our adventure with the devil herself: knits. Ok, that may be a bit too harsh, but STEP OFF this is my blog so whatever. We purchased the pattern, McCalls M7294 Misses’ Open-Front Jackets, Raglan Sleeve Top and Leggings, and roamed the store to find a suitable fabric.
Our instructor informed us that for this pattern (and I imagine all more ‘structured’ knit garments), we needed a 2-way stretch knit as opposed to a 4-way stretch knit. So, we wanted a fabric that was super stretchy side to side, but up and down (on the grainline, for those fancy pants out there) would remain relatively non-stretchable. Who knew this was an important thing? Not us, considering we hadn’t even started the class yet. Also, while I was getting this lovely heather grey material cut, I thought to myself, ‘Natasha, remember what this fabric is called so that you can inform your wonderful and beautiful readers what it is on your blog’.
So, uh, yeah.
cough. crickets. tumbleweeds
In the history of my sewing life, I have taken two sewing classes, both beginner classes at Spool of Thread. I really enjoyed these classes because the instructor really did know the audience: super uber beginners. The classes were very structured, had intervals of pure instruction where everyone had to stop and listen, and left little to chance or personal interpretation. This course, however, seemed to be at a more intermediate course level. There was a lot less purely ‘sit down and listen’ instruction and more individual instruction to match the pace you are at. It was definitely an ‘i’ll stay out of your way unless you have questions’ type of class. For some people, I imagine that is exactly what they need when they are interested in taking an intermediate class. However, I was super nervous dealing with this material, and I needed a hand holder – I needed to be coddled and loved unconditionally and supported throughout all of my woes and concerns. People, this is why I have a pug, one of the neediest dogs on the planet. I NEED CONSTANT ATTENTION, PRAISE, GUIDANCE, AND LOVE ALWAYS. I dreaded knits when I went in, and I cannot say that I truly do not still dread working with them a bit now.
In all #truths, I didn’t come out of the class having an immense collection of tips and tricks when working with knits, but I will say that I learned two very important things which have made subsequent projects sew much easier (puns!)
1. When serging/sewing knits, our instructor mentioned to always keep the fabric slightly taught when working with it. If you feed it through your machine like you would a regular woven, it might get bunchy and the thread may break when the material inevitably stretches. Boy, what a game changer this was. STRETCH YOUR SERGED EDGES, PEOPLE. #trustme
2. Knit hems: what a huge pain in the bitch. If you look close enough on mine, you will see that I have a 1/2″ rolled hem which I completed by serging the ends, and then folding them over twice to enclose the stitches. What a waste of TIMEEEE! Literally 3 days after completing the class (and my hem) I received this handy email from the Colette Snippets Tips e-hotline bling.
C’MON NOW, THE INTERNET. It’s like the sewing gods were looking down on me saying, ‘Well, let’s see if she figures this one out oh nope ok she failed I guess lets help her out I guess cause she is just so dumb dumbs lolz’.
Anyways, the hem on my jacket still works just fine after a few washings, but I took both of these tips into consideration when I made another one. What? What’s that you say?? Another one?!? Totes fam, it’s the jacket so nice, I made it twice!
I visited my parents shortly after making mine and my mom was all like ‘I bore you from my body now you make me a jacket’. How can you say no to that?! (ps. she didn’t actually say that). The material for her’s is from Fabricland in the Okanagan, and you would assume that I would have written down what kind of knit it was because I was so good at writing it down the last time I bought material.
cough. crickets. tumbleweeds