Written by Melissa from A Happy Stitch.
I am always on the hunt for an easy-going cardigan with versatility. The kind that is perfect on these fall days when it is warm in the sun but cool in the shade and the Laurelhurst Cardigan from Straight Stitch Designs is just that cardigan! The wonderful waterfall shape is relaxed but classy.
I decided to sew mine in a sweater knit, which is a type of knit fabric that is lightweight, stretchy and knit like a sweater. Hence, the name. I'm sharing my my tips for sewing with sweater knit fabric because for all the things that are lovely about sweater knits they do have a delicacy that requires some skillful finessing. It is worth the bit of extra work, however, I promise.
For starters, sweater knits have a definite right side and wrong side. If you knit yarn, you will know this as the knit side and the purl side. The right side of the fabric is the knit side (where you can see a ribbing-type effect). The wrong side is the purl side (it is flatter and not ribbed).
Second, be 'gentle' with your pins. By that I mean, your pins are going to be pesky. They will want to fall out of your fabric and that may mess you up as you sew. So, once you have done your pinning, go easy on your garment and be aware of those pesky pins as you carry it to your sewing machine. Pin only what you are just about to sew. For example, pin one arm in place and then sew it before pinning the other arm in place.
Third, pull gently on your threads as you begin sewing and continue to GENTLY pull the fabric along the whole stitch. You aren't pulling the fabric through, simply guiding it a bit. Because sweater knits are so lightweight, they have a tendency to get tangled up in the machinery of a sewing machine. Or as I like to say, "Sewing machines like to eat lightweight sweater knits." By guiding the fabric a bit, you can make sure that doesn't happen. Don't pull too hard, however, it can cause stretched or skipped stitches.
Just like with all other jersey knit fabric, you will want to use a jersey needle and a stretch stitch (my favorite is the lightning bolt) combine that with the three tips here and you will fall in love with sweater knits! They have fantastic drape, are usually super soft and add a bit of elegance.
AND, just like other knit fabrics sweater knits do not fray! This cardigan, for example, isn't hemmed at all...not at the sleeves, the bottom, nothing. That makes it an incredibly quick item to sew. Making it in a sweater knit takes it up a notch. How is that for a win-win?!facebook or Instagram. #upcraftclub