sew along objective (yeah, i just did that...i promise i wont bust out an outline): to take your bodice from the lazy susan pattern and learn how to construct it out of knit fabric for a more versatile pattern.
wednesday july 24 - attaching skirts to bodice: i will be going over attaching a gathered woven OR knit skirt to the knit bodice and also how to attach a paper bag style skirt to your knit bodice. whew...busy day!
welcome back ladies! if you are just now joining us, check out this blog to learn about the sew along, and then check out day 1 and day 2 to see what we are up to.
alright - BEFORE you go cutting. listen to this very important piece of information. these sew alongs work just like my patterns. please read through to the end of the post before you do anything. i promise it will help things to go smoother and make more sense!
let's first go over some tips for sewing the skirt in a knit. you basically are going to do it the same as you did with a woven in the pattern, but i am going to point out some helpful tips that will make sewing with knit more of a pleasure. read: decrease the amount of swearing, temper tantrums and tears.
my first secret weapon:
i do not sew knits without this stuff. lightweight fusible interfacing with stretch. it will make such a difference, especially when dealing with a thinner knit! you can buy this on a bolt as well, i just happened to luck up at wal-mart a few years ago and they had the bags on clearance for $0.33 and i
hoarded stocked up. i use this when i go to hem a lightweight knit, since it keeps it from rolling. it basically gives the knit a little bulk, while maintaining the stretch, so it makes it easier to work with.
NOTE: although you sized down in your knit bodice, when going to cut the skirt make sure to cut the length for the size your child normally wears, NOT sizing down.
what i do is cut 2" sections to place around the bottom of my knit skirt piece. i like to hem about 1" with knit just to give it some extra weight so that it hangs better and doesn't flip up. now, in the pattern i have only allowed for a 1/2" hem, so you want to make sure to add a bit of length if you are going to be doing a larger hem.
NOTE: also, if you chose to do a drop waist on the bodice, you need to account for that when cutting the pieces for your skirt. the easiest way that i have found is to subtract whatever you added to your bodice from the skirt measurement. so, since i added 3.5" to my bodice yesterday, i am just going to take 3.5" off the length of my skirt. :)
here are my pieces of interfacing all cut and ready to be fused.
now, take your knit and your interfacing over to the iron and you want to place the fusible side (usually it is bumpier) on the WRONG side of the bottom of your skirt fabric lining up the bottom edge. MAKE SURE THE STRETCH OF YOUR INTERFACING RUNS WITH THE STRETCH OF YOUR FABRIC. i mean it.
now, iron it on along the edge of the bottom of the skirt. i have found a dry iron works best for this. the steam makes it not cooperate. once you have it all around the bottom of your skirt piece, go ahead and press up that 1" hem. see how much easier it is to deal with now? no roly poly!
i also added the interfacing to the top edge of my skirt where i will be gathering just to make it easier to deal with. :) but i only cut 1" strips there.
now to hem that skirt. another one of my knit secret weapons is this guy.
a double needle. this not only gives you a more professional look for a hem, it also gives the stitch a little bit of stretch which is needed with the knit fabric. now, if you have never used a double needle before, i highly suggest doing some google research before you try. but once you start using one, you will get hooked! i just wish my sewing machine had a better set up for the 2nd thread so that i didn't have to jerry-rig it with my thread holder in the back. haha.
just like you would with a regular needle, use a straight stitch to hem and i go ahead and bump up the length to 4.0.
once you have the hem stitched, it gives you a nice look on the right side of the fabric and an almost zig-zag look to the backside that gives the stretch. now let me tell you how that interfacing just saved your life. if you have a thin knit (i keep typing thin mint...think my belly is trying to tell me something) and try to sew with a double needle with no interfacing...let's just say the sight isn't pretty!
okay - now that we have our knit skirt mini-tutorial done, let's move on to attaching a skirt (knit or woven) to the knit bodice. i will discuss the paper bag skirt later.
you will run a gathering stitch on the top of your skirt portion just as you do in the pattern making sure to gather to the amount of the bodice.
now, for quite possibly one of my fave tools for sewing knits...clear elastic tape.
seriously, yall...at first i thought of it as just an extra step involved in knits, but TRUST me when i say you will get so much more wear out of your garments if you take the time to add this stuff. truth be told. i have been known to put it in EVERY seam i sew in knits. this stuff is worth its weight in gold. you know how the interfacing adds bulk and stability to the knit? well, this tape adds strength to the knit and comes in especially handy when sewing something like a waistband. i find it helps to protect your knit from the weight of the skirt and it holds up better and helps the knit to keep its shape. have i sold you on this yet? i should probably be a spokesperson. hello dritz, yeah...this is amy. ;) i am a die-hard stretch rite elastic kind of girl, but the dritz clear works just as well and is easier to find in my neck of the woods.
anyways, what you want to do is to place this tape right along the bottom edge of your bodice (this works with the lined tutorial from day 1 as well, i just happened to take photos with this bodice). before you sew it down, stretch it out a few times. this kind of elastic needs to be "broken in" just a bit before it is used. if you have a serger, serge right along the edge not catching the tape in your blade.
if you don't have a serger, use a zig-zag stitch to sew it down along the edge. i usually sew it to the right side of the fabric, but i honestly don't think there is a right or wrong here. louisa has a few dresses that has it sewn on the wrong side, and it is just fine. someone please alert me if there is a correct/incorrect method to this. :)
once sewn you will realize that you still have stretch to your knit, but it is stronger and more stable. pay no mind that my tensions are off. i could probably stand to clean my serger too, but let's not go there today.
now, place your skirt on your bodice, just as you would in the pattern, pin in place and sew the skirt to your bodice.
now, since i sew my elastic tape on the right side, i always take about 1/8" of the seam off when i serge the two together.
remove your gathering stitch (i do this always, but it is helpful with knit so that you still have some give to the seams) and take over to the iron and press that seam out. look, you can almost see the strength of that seam now!
pat yourself on the backs ladies...as you have just finished up your knit lazy susans. rock on my dearies!
but wait...don't forget that awesome addition of a paper bag style skirt to lazy susan bodice! i do so LOVE this dress!
i used the taylor pattern by the mean princess. when it came time to add the elastic, i measured my bodice along the bottom edge and saw that it came to 23".
so, for both of my casings, i cut the elastic at about 23.5" and sewed them together and placed in the casings so that the width of my skirt was the same width as my bodice as shown below.
now to do some measuring and tinkering since i want to add clear tape to my bodice where i will be sewing it in place. so, with both the bodice and skirt turned inside out, you want to slide the waistband of the skirt into the bodice until the bottom of the bodice lines up with the bottom of the waistband as shown below.
now, to attach the skirt and bodice, you will be stitching FROM THE RIGHT SIDE along the elastic waistband. i like to stitch along the bottom of the casings and the top of the casings as shown by the arrows.
so, i need to measure how high up from the bottom of my bodice i need to go to determine where to place my clear tape for that top casing seam. for my skirt, the top of the casing falls 1.5" up from the bottom of my bodice. i put a pin in place to make it more clear.
now, draw a line on the bodice all the way around where the pin is. this is where you will stitch your band of clear tape (just as above, make sure to give it a good stretch first) to the WRONG side of the bodice with a zig-zag stitch.
now, this is completely up to you. you can add another band of clear tape along the bottom of the bodice, but i usually don't because the seam that will get the most abuse is that top one which you just secured your tape to. however, it would certainly be fine if you wanted to!
on a flat surface with skirt and bodice still inside out, place the waistband of the skirt back into the bodice and match up your bodice with the waistband as you did before (ie the top casing and bottom casing) and pin in place. pin until the cows come home in fact.
now, turn your dress right sides out and head over to the machine. with patience, sew along the top of the elastic casing first. i use a straight stitch with a length of 4.0, and stretch just a bit as you sew. this is NOT a time to be speedy mcspeedperson at the machine. take your time, you want this to look awesome.
once you made it around your top seam, head on down to the bottom of the casing and do the same.
guess what ladies - pat yourselves on the back. you are done. you are well on the way to knocking out some GORGEOUS knit lazy susans in your sewing room.
join me tomorrow for the last day...and don't you know, i saved the best for last...DETAILS!!