Pot holders are a great beginner sewing project! They are quick to sew and are a great way to showcase your favorite fabrics! Everyone at Harts is obsessing over the new Cotton + Steel collections, so I though this would be a perfect opportunity to sew with some fabric from August, the collection by Sara Watts!
So, I’m currently 7 months pregnant and was researching about the different kinds of wrap style baby carriers, and let me tell you… they are expensive! I love how beneficial they are for baby and mom but spending upwards of $50 for one just seemed a little bit much, plus they are all solid and not as cute as I would like them to be. So here is a tutorial on how to make one for way less. I chose a knit spandex blended fabric from the line Arizona from Art Gallery Fabrics. Fabrics that would work great for this project are: Bamboo Knits, Organic Cotton Knits, and Modal Knits. The organic cotton knits do not have as much stretch to them but that would be great for carrying slightly older children that are a little heavier, while the stretchier fabrics are great for newborns up to 1 year old.
I have wanted to make this vintage wrap shirt ever since I stumbled across these old photos from a 1950′s Life magazine. I just love the retro style and it looks soo easy to replicate! It is perfect for summer and would work well with any high waisted skirt, shorts or pants.
I had a hard time deciding on which fabric to choose from, which always seems to be a problem since I work in a fabric store with endless choices! I was going to make it out of a muslin like the vintage pic, but decided to go with a polka dot cotton poplin that is soft and lightweight instead. Lets get started!
1 yard bias tape
Step 1: Cut 3 sized rectangles out of fabric as follows. 2″x44″, 27″x44″, 5″x 44″
Step 2: Fold 2″x 44″ in half right sides facing to make a 1″x 44″ strip and sew down edge. Repeat same step with 5″x44″rectangle folding in half right sides facing to make 2.5″x44″ strip and sew down edge.
Step 3: On the ends of the sewn and folded over 5″x 44″ strip sew a diagonal on each corner.
Step 4: Clip of excess fabric on corners.
Step 5: Next cut both sewn rectangle strips in half. You will now have four pieces. Turn each piece right side out. I used a loop turner on the skinny straps to make it easier to turn out. Press with iron.
Step 6: Take your last rectangle 27″x44″ and fold over raw edge on each side 1/2″ towards wrong side of fabric and fold over another 1/2″ to cover raw edge and stitch down on all four sides.
Step 7: Fold large rectangle in half and place plate or something round to trace half circle with chalk for neck hole.
Step 8: Cut out traced hole for neck. Next pin bias tape right sides facing to neck hole. Stitch in place. Turn in bias tape to wrong side. Press with iron and top stitch down.
Step 9: Attach strips on all four corners and stitch in place.
Intimidated by knits? Don’t be! All you need is some basic information to get started but sewing with knits is so rewarding and fun! Knits are so forgiving when you are sewing up garments because they stretch and mold to your body, allowing you to not have to stress so much about fit.
Here’s what you need to know!
The biggest difference between your regular woven fabric and knit fabric is woven fabric is constructed using many rows of yarn (the thread that is woven together to create fabric) while knits are constructed using loops and it’s all one continuous yarn (just as if you were knitting yourself a scarf).
Needle selection is the most important part of sewing with knits.
Ballpoint needles are rounded tipped needles created to help prevent ripping on your fabric. Sometimes a regular needle is too sharp and rips a little hole in your fabric while you are sewing. You may not notice the effect of a regular needle on your fabric right away but as you wear and wash your garment, the hole will exponentially get bigger! It is most important to use a ballpoint needle when sewing with a really lightweight to medium weight knits. You will sometimes get skipped stitches when
sewing with these needles which is normal as long as it’s not happening too often.
Double needles are a great way to hem your knit garments. They sew with a straight stitch but have the ability to stretch. Most machines work great with them. You simply thread an extra spool through the top of your machine into the second needle.
Foot choice can make a big difference in trouble shooting difficulty with knits. Things to look for are: puckered seams, stretched out seams, and skipped seams.
The standard foot is a great overall foot that comes on all machines. You will use this foot 9 times out of 10 when sewing, but sometimes you may find that your fabric doesn’t feed evenly through your machine. If this happens then you should select one of the feet below.
If you are having trouble with your fabric moving around on you while you sew, then the even feed foot, or walking foot, would be a great tool to use. The foot has an extra set of feed dogs on the top of the fabric so your fabric flows easily through the machine. It works great for thicker fabrics like interlocks.
If you are sewing with extremely light weight fabric and you find your fabric wont travel smoothly through your machine, using a even feed foot might damage your fabric. In that case using a rotary foot will help move your fabric through your machine gently.
Straight Stitch Foot
Sometimes when sewing with knits you find your needle pushes the fabric into the bottom of your machine and gets caught in it. If that happens you should use a straight stitch foot and if possible a single hole straight stitch plate. You’d be amazed at the difference it makes especially for light weight fabrics. The straight stitch foot only works when using a straight stitch (see triple stretch straight stitch below). It may work with the stretch stitch but you want to test it out before actually sewing. If your needle hits the foot it is SCARY!
This foot comes in handy for sewing a blind hem on knits. I prefer the double needle method over this but it does come in handy depending on how you prefer to hem your knits.
Zig Zag Stitch is the most common stitch available to you on most machines. You can usually change the length settings and width settings. I usually aim for pretty narrow and long so the seam doesn’t look strange on the outside. Zig zag stitch is the easiest answer to the “how do I sew knits” question but it really isn’t the best stitch to use. If you have the option I recommend using one of the stitches below.
Zig Zag Stitch Wrong Side Right Side
Stretch Stitch looks like a lightning bolt on your machine. This is my favorite stitch to use because it looks great on the right side of the seam and also has a lot of stretch to it. If you find the knit you are using seems to pucker a lot then this is the stitch for you. The down side to this stitch is you usually can’t change the length of the stitch which means it’s really hard to rip out when you make a mistake. I know this from experience…
Stretch Stitch Wrong Side Stretch Stitch Right Side
Triple Stretch Stitch is a fantastic stitch that most people don’t even know they have on their machine. It looks like a straight stitch but in fact sews forward and backward creating a really
strong stitch with stretch in it. It’s great for use in places that need a little more strength and and not as much stretch such as shoulder seams, armholes, and crotch lines. It tends to leave a puckered look so works better on medium to heavy weight fabrics. Make sure to test it out on a scrap so you know what it looks like.
Finishing Knit Stitches
Stretch Blind Hem
This stitch is a great way to hem your knits with a blind stitch. You have to use the blind hem foot to make this happen.
Double Needles are a great way to hem your knit garments. They sew with a straight stitch but have the ability to stretch. Most machine work great with them. You simply thread an extra spool through the top of your machine into the second needle.
With those tips and tricks you should be well on your way to sewing with knits! What are you going to make next?
Everyone at Harts is super excited for the new collections from Cotton + Steel! Melody Miller’s collection, Mustang features the most adorable bee print! The bees look like they have been cross stitched with little hearts instead of stitches! When I saw the print, I knew I wanted to stitch the design on something.