When it comes to sewing with knit fabric, you either love it or hate it. Fortunately, I’m in the first camp. In fact, I learned to sew in high school using stretch fabric that I would drape and pin on myself to make my homecoming and prom dresses. And I have to say—despite my lack of formal training—the results were pretty fantastic. I loved how forgiving it was in the fit department, if I made my gown a wee bit too small no one would be the wiser, not even myself. Anything woven, on the other hand, would have told a different (probably Frankenstein-y) story.
One of the first steps to conquering the pliable textile is to work with its unruly behavior. Often, it’s a battle to hem a knit dress, but luckily when you stop fighting it, the outcome is quite beautiful. This particular trick works best with a serger, but will also work with a regular sewing machine. While hemming, simply pull the fabric lightly and you will create a lovely lettuce leaf effect that’s perfect for scarves or whimsical frocks. Try it with a strip of fabric to see what I mean. Note: The harder you pull the more intricate the curled edges will be, but don’t pull so hard you break your needle!
Not a fan of the effect and hoping for a streamlined finish? Don’t fret, there’s a simple solution for that, too. Hit up your nearest gifty retailer and stock up on tissue paper. Next time you’re about to face off with a slippery neckline or armhole all you have to do is place a sheet under the fabric. It’s seriously miraculous. Bye-bye wonky uneven edging!
Soon, you’ll fall in love with that stretch as much as I have! If you’re looking for inspiring ways to test out your skills, first take a look at these fab fabric options, then turn to the queen of knits: Diane von Furstenberg. Here are a few of my recent favorites from her collection: