Taming the Bulk When Sewing Bulky Knits

Any fabric proprietor will tell you, we love seeing what sewists make with the fabrics* we sell. As a designer/developer of the fabrics, seeing these creations is an extra treat. A couple of weeks ago a sewist emailed to tell me of a technique she was using with my sweater knits to keep seam allowances flat and comfortable. Learning how happy she was with the sweater she sewed and seeing pictures of her beautiful result was so very extra special!

The fabric Shirley Livingston worked with (top, O! Jolly! Hudson sweater knit in persimmon, which Shirley purchased from Emma One Sock) was, what I consider, a lightweight sweater knit. Still, at about 10 stitches per inch, it's considerably heavier than most standard dress knits. Shirley carefully planned her sweater. Of course she carefully planned her seam allowances, too. Here's what she did:
  • Sew the seam with the sewing machine.
  • Overlock each seam allowance separately.
  • Steam the seam open.
  • Tack the seam allowances down with a catch stitch.

Yes, just that easy and straightforward! As with so many useful techniques, after you learn it, you often say, “Hey, why didn’t I think of that!”

In the video below, I show this and a couple more seam allowance treatments. Feel free to ask questions in the comments. If you need a more detailed explanation, I’ll head you in right direction.

I really love the look and feel of the bulky sweater knits. If you do too, use these methods to keep those seam allowances under control. Need the notes on these techniques? Get your free download here!

*The cotton sweater knits pictured at the top of this post are unavailable this fall/winter, while we do some much needed reorganizing at O! Jolly! Looking for wool? Or natural, no elastic, cotton sweater knit ribbing? No worries. We got that! :)


Last update 27Feb2019

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