I decided the way to find my peace with knit fabrics was just to play with some, until I didn't find the experience so horrendously intimidating any longer. So, play I did, and this was the result...
A toddler dress. No pattern: I drew out a bodice shape based loosely on an old t-shirt of my daughter Immy's, but sized it up a bit, and extended it to a dress length.
It's a wee bit big on the poppet, but totally wearable. I surprised myself, setting out just to have a play, but managing to create a usable item of clothing.
My favourite bit has to be the cute ruffle. For this, I cut a wide rectangle the length of the fabric. Then, I used two rows of loose stitching to tightly gather the fabric up.
After that, I sewed it onto the outside of the fabric with a three-stitch-zigzag. The tricky part was removing the gathering stitches, but even that wasn't too bad. I could have put the ruffle onto the wrong side of the fabric, so as to get a smooth seam, but I actually rather like the mini ruffle that this method creates at the stitching line. It adds a bit of character.
The neckline and arm-cycles are finished with strips of self binding. Doing this taught me a lot: the neckline gapes a little, and I couldn't work out why as I had stay-stitched all the curves.
Doing some reading halfway through, I discovered that unlike woven outfits, the stretch binding needs to be a bit shorter than the length of the opening to avoid gape. This is why the arm-holes are loads better than the neckline. Still not perfect, but getting better. Now, I've just got to remember that tip on my next knit project!
The more I played around, the less frightened of the fabric I became. The fabric itself is leftover from my summer dress here which really isn't the best make in the world but I do wear it often as it's so comfy. I think Immy will be comfy in this too, perfect for clambering about in.
All in all, I really enjoyed this experiment, and want to have another go with knit fabric very soon. I'm working on the basis that the fabric is cheap, and even if I muck it up while learning, it has to be cheaper than sewing lessons. Now sewing has very much entered the popular zeitgeist in the UK, the price of sewing classes in the South of England has shot up astronomically out of my reach! So, for me at the moment its learn by doing. How did you learn to sew?