Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Don't be scared of knits

There are some gorgeous knit fabrics to buy these days and they are such a modern fabric. I am still trying to come to terms with what is fashionable for 18" dolls. I did a search for t-shirts and none of them had ribbing for the short sleeve bands or even the neck bands but I really like ribbing on a t-shirt. I guess it reminds me of the good old days when the t-shirts I bought for myself were made of knit fabric that wasn't so thin you could see through it and the bands were done with ribbing instead of the cheap fabric the shirt was made of.
No matter how hard I try, the clothes I design for my doll look like clothes I would wear. However, I am still working through my classic designs so the patterns can be made to suit the style you like. Cap sleeves look very modern and you can always just hem the sleeves instead of using rib or put a narrow single fold strip on the neck. It also seems that the modern t-shirt is white or at a pinch pink or red. I think the patterned knits I use might be a bit grown up looking for a child which is who the doll is meant to represent.

I have been working on the final stages of my Classic Skivvy. I had all the samples done for the different views, I just needed to make up a skivvy from my finished pattern pieces and take photos for the instructions as I put it together.

Oddly enough I have found that the best way to sew the knit fabric is to use a narrow zig zag on the sewing machine. I set it to 2mm. The only part I overlock is the edge of the back facing.

Because the knits I have been using are two way stretch I had to change the differential dial to stop it stretching out the edge. My normal differential setting is 1.5. I did a couple of test goes on my fabric and found that 1.75 gave the best result. The edge puckered up a bit but I left the thread tails long and gently eased the wrinkles out buy stretching the edge. This makes the thread tails pull up shorter. You don't want the overlocking to come undone while you flatten out the edge so leave the tails long. After the edge is nice and square trim the thread ends.

I probably should have changed my needle to a ball point for knits but I stuck with my universal needle. I found that it tended to cause a jam if I tried to back stitch at the beginning and end of seams. Since most of the seams end up sewn into other seams I just stopped back stitching. I had a little bit of trouble getting past the parts made thicker by seams or hem turn ups but I think this also would have been fixed with a ball point needle. You can always anticipate a problem and go slow or turn the wheel by hand to get past the tricky bits.

Use 2mm narrow zig zag for seams

Don't back stitch at the ends of seams and go slow over the thicker parts.

To neaten up the wrist a bit I stitched across the seam allowance making it stay open and flat.

Have fun with knits. They don't fray so hems don't need overlocking or double folds and seam allowances don't need any finishing. Because the the necks and wrists are so small the fitting of bands is easy. No fiddly measuring quarters. Just find the centres and ends and stretch the bits in between.

Look out for my Knit fit Lucy  - Classic Skivvy for Lightweight Knits. A pattern including different sleeve and neck styles. Other patterns on the go are the Loosefit Jacket and the Snugfit circular skirt and the bulky knit vest with drop shoulders. All of these designs will come with multiple views.

And finally, be on the lookout for my new collection called Doll Design Minis. I have noticed a definite lack of underwear patterns and apron patterns for 18" dolls so I will be designing patterns for lots of different styles. They will have one view and minimal instructions. But if you have my regular patterns you will always be able to find helpful instructions for many techniques.

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Happy Sewing,