I got my hands on a great little book – Sew U Home Stretch, by Wendy Mullin and Eviana Hartman. This spiral bound, hard cover book is a sequel to Sew U,( which covered sewing woven fabrics). It focuses solely on sewing with knit fabrics.
About twenty years ago sewing with knits was all the rage. When I brought home my first cut of double knit I very quickly fell in love with the fact that edges never frayed, curved seams could be tugged on a bit to get them to match perfectly, and once the garment was finished you could take it right out of the dryer and pop it on. No ironing! Alas, knits then seemed to fade away for awhile, but they’re coming back in a strong way.
If you’re a seamstress with little experience handling knits, this book will be a great help to getting started. If you have a serger / overlock machine, but are still a bit intimidated by it, you’re going to love learning to sew knits with it. You’ll get that store-bought finish in a flash just as soon as you figure out how to thread all those spools on your machine.
Sew U Home Stretch is set up in a very user-friendly manner. The author covers
- an introduction to sewing knits,
- what you need (basic supplies)
- and what you need to know (using a different needle in your machine, cutting out garments, pulling and tugging on fabric, which side is right, etc.) to avoid some frustrations.
After a primer on knit knowledge, she moves into patterns. Since many of today’s beginner seamstresses have little experience reading a pattern, this could be really helpful.
There’s a chapter on making the world’s easiest T-shirt, then she specifically addresses the three full Simplicity patterns included in the back of the book – a crewneck, a raglan (very easy and fun to sew) and also dresses and skirts. All three of these are patterns you’ll likely use over and over.
I think my favorite chapter is the one on recycling your old knit garments, giving them a new lease on life. Maybe there is another use for those tube tops from twenty years ago, that my daughters made me swear I would never again wear to mow the front lawn! Okay, I don’t know if the book goes that far, but it does give you some really great ideas, some of which might send you off with a list of weekend garage sales in hand. (Tip: Garage sales are a great place to find very inexpensive garments that can be cut up and recycled into something brand new.)
Wendy is a self-taught seamstress as I am. I don’t know if she started with Barbie clothes, like I did, but she certainly passed me up, and now has a clothing line “Built by Wendy”. She’s the creator of the new Wrangler 47 line, and has a few Hollywood stars wearing her creations (some I’ve heard of – Drew Barrymore, Natalie Portman, Beastie Boys–and some I haven’t!).
I’m tickled to have this book on a shelf in my sewing room – there are already four grandchildren in our family, and hopefully more babies to come, so I’ve got lots of rompers to sew, then little sundresses and t-shirts and the list goes on and on. It might even be fun to whip up a cute little skirt and t-shirt for summer wear.
This book should be of great help for any seamstress out there, even if you’re a beginner. Wendy once was, and I was too. So jump on in and join the fun!
Bev shares whatever’s on her heart at Scratchin’ the Surface, when she doesn’t have her nose in a book, or isn’t on the phone with someone in her family.