The joys of sewing knits

Dunno if its the same where you live but in NZ you can pick up knit merino RTW everywhere with kids tops priced $30+ for a merino long sleeve T.  OK so you know what kids are like, they wear their lovely woollies to kindy to keep warm.  And there they manage to cover their soft merino warmth in paint, glue, ink and/or dye, punch holes in it and then promptly grow out of it.  All in a few short weeks, if it lasts that long.

So, I make my kids’ merino pre-school tops and look for bargain bin merino pieces whenever I can.  Sometimes I find good quality end of roll meter lengths for $5 or so but more often its inferior quality fabric which changes shape randomly when washed.  It doesn’t have to be perfect for pre-school though so I mostly don’t mind.

Anyway, I have learned a thing or two from reading some of the wonderful blogs out there and I always stitch bias tape into shoulder seams when sewing knit tops, whatever the fabric.  From experience I now know that when using super stretchy or poor quality knits I also need to stabilise the back collar seam so this won’t budge either.  Great, but I tell you the rest of the garment sure does get out of whack – sack with collar and sleeves after a few washes.

Check this out – the jumper on top has been washed about five times and has held its shape well so far but the purple one underneath?  Not so much.  It has been washed a lot, maybe a dozen times, and I didn’t stabilise it across the back collar seam.  Can you see the difference in the body and collar widths?  Its actually an inch wider at each side seam and half an inch wider on each side of the collar.  The sleeves are out too but it was too hard to lay them out flat so you’ll have to take my word for it.

Anyway I have done my dash with crappy merino fabric now because (hopefully) school wear and tear won’t be quite so harsh.  After all, I can get really good quality NZ made soft as soft merino knit for $14/metre up the road.  It really isn’t that much considering.

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3 Responses to The joys of sewing knits

  1. Rosy says:

    Oh yeah! I received your email! Sometimes blogger is a little hooligan … but I am happy to receive your comments in any way. You are a great encouragement to me. Thanks!

  2. Rosy says:

    Although not always possible … hand washing may help reduce the damage … it’s just an idea …

    • Hi Rosy – you are absolutely right hand washing does slow the onslaught of random shape distortion! I actually do mostly hand wash woolens even the kids paint grimed things! It just shows how crappy the fabric construction is, in this case anyway.

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