The very first time I tried sewing in my adult life, my daughter was a newborn. I saw a tutorial on Made by Rae about how to make baby tights out of T-shirts, and I thought, Hey! That looks easy. NOT SO. They were a mangled, wavy, sloppy mess, and I cut the pattern out wrong so the legs were half the width they should have been, and I almost gave up the sewing bug right then and there.
Fast forward five years or so; I’m a quilter and garment sewist, but I only work with wovens. Like many quilters, I’m terrified by the idea of sewing with knits. It’s like being okay at skiing and then trying to snowboard; it seems like it would be easy, but it’s different enough to cause some serious bruising. But as a blogger for Indiesew, I’m always entranced by the knit patterns. They look so polished! So stylish! So comfortable! There are some great tutorials for sewing knits on a sewing machine, and I finally decided to try again with some more sewing experience under my belt.
I chose the Bethioua top by Elle Puls, a designer new to Indiesew. The Bethioua has Dolman raglan sleeves and a really cool back with a center seam. I decided to sew it in a persimmon French terry and chose the curved hi-lo hem option (more on that in a bit), but there is also a straight banded hem for the less adventurous. I readied my supplies: all-purpose (not cotton) thread, a jersey needle, a raised presser foot, the overcast stitch on my machine, and the commitment never to pull or stretch the fabric as it was going through. And courage. Lots of courage.
And… HOLY CRAP. I did it! I sewed this sweatshirt in like an hour, and it looks totally professional and cute. My photographer was unavailable today for a portrait, so you’ll have to deal with Monica the Mannequin, but please believe me when I tell you that everything fits and lays perfectly. The neckline: OMG. I’m used to having to cut a bias neckline and wrestle with it on, but there’s no need for bias cutting with knits! You just cut a rectangle and stitch it on without any finagling.
I also love the back curve and the raglan sleeves. They’re sporty but cute. I also love the hi-lo curved hem, but it was the one part of the whole shebang that gave me some difficulty. I followed the directions to fold the hem up and zigzag, but it ended up with a lettuce-y sort of wave. So then I consulted Made by Rae (again) and Indiesew, and decided to overcast the edge of the sweatshirt first. Then I folded it up and used a walking foot and a double needle. It’s not perfect, but it’s much better now. (Note to self: beginning knit sewists probably shouldn’t opt for the more difficult hem option.)
And here’s how I’m planning on styling it for fall. Scarf, cute little belt, probably some skinnies and boots. Someone get me a PSL STAT.
The most exciting thing about this process for me was beginning to conquer my fear of knits. I definitely want to sew this up in a thousand colors and prints, and I can’t wait to try my hand at more knit patterns soon.
As an Indiesew blogger team member, I am provided with patterns in exchange for an honest review. I was also provided with fabric for this post. All opinions are my own.