Colette

Announcing Wren Faire: Win Fabric & More!

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cp1033-wren-05-full

We have been overwhelmed by all the love for Wren over the past few days. A few of us here at Colette headquarters are stitching up Wren over the weekend, but we are most excited to see your Wrens.

The creativity of the sewing community never disappoints. In celebration of Wren and all you awesome sewists, we are hosting Wren Faire (yes with an E at the end)!

In collaboration with some awesome stores and bloggers we will be giving away fabric and books. And best of all participating is as easy as commenting!

On the Colette blog

shatta

A few of our favorite fabric stores will be sharing their Wren dresses and fabric suggestions. Participate here at the Colette blog for a chance to win this beautiful knit fabric handpicked by Josie from Fabric Godmother.

Fabric Godmother is a modern haberdashery packed full of great dressmaking fabrics. Win 3 yards of this viscose and spandex mix with a stunning abstract multi-coloured crystal shard print to sew up your next Wren, as well as a copy of The Colette Guide to Sewing Knits.

Just comment below with your favorite trick for sewing knits!

With guest bloggers

erin-mary

On October 29th, Erin of Crayola Creepy and Mary of Idle Fancy will be sharing their Wren dresses. You can comment on their blogs for a chance to win a copy of The Colette Guide to Sewing Knits.

On Instagram

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Celebrate #wrenfaire on Instagram and enter to win gift certificates from our friends at The Cloth Pocket and Harts Fabrics.

On Instagram you can share:
– Your finished Wren dress
– Your in progress Wren dress
– Your stash of knits

Just use the hashtag #wrenfaire, yes with an E at the end.

All winners will be announced here on the blog November 2nd.

Haley Glenn   —   Editorial Director

Five years ago, Haley left the apparel industry to join the world of home sewing. She has been empowering women to sew ever since – first through years of in-person teaching at Sew LA, and now through her writing at Colette. Haley writes tutorials and articles on our blog, teaches sewalongs, and writes and edits for our magazine, Seamwork.

Comments 185

Lodi

My favorite new trick & tip for sewing knits is to buy a new serger…which I just did…with lessons on Friday. Then I need to get your book and stitch a Wren!

Marsha

What helps me cut out knits(which I don’t see often but now I’m starting to dig it) is the rotary cutter and mat. It’s quicker and keeps everything from stretching out of shape. I’m newly obsessed with this site btw.

Marsha

*see should be “sew”. Idk why auto correct doesn’t like to sew

Ina skyturtle.net

I really love the doble needle to finish hems, with out without a serger.
Wren is one sexy number :)

Natasha

Good quality knit fabric (why waste time making something that won’t last for long) and my walking foot.

Katherine

I’m new to knits, so I read up on tips- one of which was to use stay tape on seams. Well I did , but used the wrong one which turned out to be itchy on my skin and now my dress is almost unwearable. I’ll be careful not to make that mistake again

Charity

I have little experience with knits as I’ve only made two Moneta dresses. Through trial and error, and internet searches, I learned a cutting method that doesn’t cause me grief. I use canned food to hold pattern down, and use a rotary cutter. Knits still make me nervous, but I will keep trying!

S

I love the look of Wren it has a really flattering shape. My favourite tip for sewing knits is to lower/adjust the tension when using a twin needle to stop the fabric bumping up. It leaves a much nicer finish!

Lynn H livingvintage.etsy.com

Couldn’t do without the 3-step zigzag when sewing knits.

Lisa

When I need to make a button hole on a knit I back it with a wash away stabilizer and sew horizontal button holes. The stabilizer stops the thread from sinking into the knit and voila no more stretched out button holes!

Melody Lema

I don’t have anything new to add, but I also attest to the proper machine needle for the job. Don’t forget to change your serger needles also. Additionally, your knife must be sharp. I keep stickees next to my serger, and keep track of my projects. The more synthetic fabrics, the more often I change my knife, this way I have real clean cuts that don’t snag my material.

Juliette

My tip is to spend some time handling the knit before sewing to work out how it might behave during the process and on the body at the end. There are so many variables to knits, just as there are with wovens, and you really can’t treat them all the same. The weight and stretch of the knit will contribute to how it lays on the body and so reinforcing with tape in areas such as the shoulders and waistline can make all the difference to the end look and wearing of the garment. I also spend some time with my overlocker (serger) making sure to get a good result with tension and stitch length before going ahead with my sewing. I don’t have one yet, but I’m thinking using a rotary cutter and board might be the way to go with some of those slinky knits so that’s my next tool to buy!! I would absolutely adore this fabric. Best of luck to everyone and thanks!

Shawna

For my hems to get rid of the waves I use the walking foot, stretch stitch, and stabilize the stitch line. When I am done sewing I’ll lightly tug the circumference of the hem, for some reason this helps with the waves, and than iron , this has worked miracles for me in getting a neat hem on knits.

melissa e mahlicadesigns.wordpress.com

Making sure my knits are not sticking to my cutting mat (and stretching them) as I cut

Christine chin unlikelynest.blogspot.com

For hemming difficult knits, I use all the tricks I can think of all at once: twin needle, walking foot, lightweight knit interfacing, and a good pressing when all is done. I haven’t yet met a knit that failed to submit to this multi-pronged assault!

Winnie

I just started sewing with knits a few weeks ago and I am having a ball! So far, I’ve made hoodies, T shirts and pants for my two, year old grandsons, and I’ve learned the following:
Ball point needle is a must, ball point pins even better. Pressor feet are your friends and a walking foot is your best friend. Use a rotary cutter. Twin needle for hemming. And lastly, cheap fabric is a waste of money! I can’t wait to move on to comfy clothes for me next!

Ellen

Use a cardboard template to iron the hem before you stitch it. Works everytime

Pippa

To stop skipping stitches on the double needle stitches I find I have to change to better quality thread sometimes.
And always reinforce the Shoulder seams, I just use ribbon for this on the front side of the seam and then top stitch the seam allowance to the back, stitching the ribbon down and hiding the raw edges of the fabric :)

Gia oneperfectday-accessories-and-bags.blogspot.gr

I don’t have any sewing-with-knits tricks yet, as I -shamefully- admit, I haven’t been courageous enough thus far to foray into the unknown territory of knits…..
Hopefully, soon.

Nancy W

I use my serger with a ballpoint style needle and on my coverhem machine= blissful happiness!

Laura

I’m new to sewing knits but the thing I have found most helpful is to have the right fabric for the project. I’ve had a few unsuccessful projects because of poor fabric choice. I now know that not all knit fabric is created equal!!!

Annette

I don’t have any tricks as I have never sewn knits- but I’d love to learn (on my old standard machine, always thought I was out of luck).

Barbara Trevouledes

Wish I could add something, but I’ve been terrified to sew with knits, so I will read through everyone’s wonderful ideas and hopefully be brave enough to try knits so that I can make this dress. I love it!

Deanna

I have only sewn once with knits making the Colette skirt pattern. It was so wonderful to work with.
I did buy some hemming clips to use, so that would be my trick.
I love, love, love your patterns!

Meghan

Use a walking foot! For very slippery knits I use knit interfacing!

Lynn

I love knit fabric and would suggest cutting and measuring carefully and always use a ballpoint needle. Don’t forget to have fun! :)

Val

Twin needles. They give a professional looking hem without a coverstitch machine.

Ana

One thing I find very useful when hemming, knits or wovens, is to baste a line of stitches the width of my hem fold. For knit projects, like a t-shirt, I steam press on the basting stitches and use the double overlock stitch, on the right side of the fabric, to sew the hem. This simultaneously hems and finishes the raw edges, which get caugth by the double overlock stitching. The end result resembles a cover stitched hem.

Kara hepkara.blogspot.com

Two things have made a big difference for me in twin needle hems for knits: using woolly nylon in the bobbin, and for narrower hems, backstitching and restarting at side seams. (Others I manage to pop those seams getting in and out of things!)

Naheema

I’ve only made a few garments in knits; Dakota and Aydan dress and Mabel skirt. Skipping stitches and overstretching were common (with the dresses). So when making my Mabel skirt, I used a walking foot and ballpoint needle, which made my life so much easier. I’ve yet to try using a twin needle and stay tap/elastic to stabilise the shoulders. The tips on here are very helpful.

Johannah

I think my favorite tip isn’t totally a tip but just the same:

Buy quality fabric, don’t skip test sewing, be patient, and stop before you get frustrated.

75% of my sewing problems come from me trying to continue sewing past the point of frustration with an area that isn’t working as I thought.

Cat

Favorite tip . . . measure twice, cut once! . . . also, check mirror cut needed . . . as well as stretch direction.

Rhea Bolton

Using a twin needle for hemming is the best thing I have discovered.

Using a rotary cutter for cutting out also makes it easier to cut accurately

Melise Gerber

I am really new at sewing knits myself, but I have a tip that no one else seems to have mentioned yet. When you test out the different stitches/tensions, etc. on the fabric you are using, make sure to read your sewing machine manual to see what the manufacturer recommends. I am lucky enough to have a rock solid Bernina that I bought in the 1980s, and in the manual it suggested using a honeycomb stitch for knits, and I found that that particular stitch worked best of all of the available stretch stitches for the hem and neckline of my Moneta.

And an added tip–if you have an older machine and can’t find your manual, try contacting the manufacturer before paying anyone for a PDF copy. I contacted Bernina directly, and even though their website didn’t show that my manual was available on line, they sent me a PDF of the manual free of charge within a couple of hours.

Julia

I love sewing with knits! I don’t have anything original to offer, but fusible stay tape is wonderful for hems! Also, just remembering to go nice and slow–sometimes, because knit projects can go so much faster than woven projects, I end up speeding through the process and making sloppy garments. But I agree that the best tip is to not be afraid of sewing knits! :)

Ana

I’ve nothing original to add, but using ballpoint needles and fusible wash away tape are my tricks for a good finish on knit garments!

Laura isasif.blogspot.com

Ooh, I’m still relatively new to sewing knits, but I already love them! I love using the twin needle to get a relatively nice finish!

Kathleen

Patience is required when sewing with knits!

Kathleen

I have no tips for sewing knits because I haven’t yet attempted a project. In fact I’m pretty new to sewing in general. I would LOVE to learn on this gorgeous dress!

Christa Dunn

I am a total newbie when it comes to sewing knits- so I have no tips to offer! But I sure do appreciate reading tips from more experienced sewers!

Rose

I’ve learnt to use stay tape for the décolletage of wrap front jersey dresses so that I choose how much to reveal.

Kelly

My favourite tools for sewing knits:

– walking foot
– alligator clips without teeth (the hair barrettes, find them really cheap on Etsy)
– using wash-away tape for hemming

mjb instagram.com

I love using wonder tape to put my hems in place, and clear elastic in the shoulder seams.

Ali

No tricks really other than patience, staying calm…and lots of pins!

Marsha

My favorite trick for sewing knits is using my overlock machine because it is just plain easier to assemble and finish all at the same time!!!

Marsha

Oh No!! My patterns not here yet!! I hope by Friday and maybe I can stitch it up by next Monday!!

Alison McIntyre

A bit of repetition but hems – wonder tape, twin needle and taking gently, stops ripples every time! I liked the idea of light knit interfacing but it made it a bit too crispy. Other times I serge the hem and then use that as my allowance, works well if you don’t have much play room in your hem, also quite good if your hem is a bit more curved. Looking forward to this weekend when I can get my Wren made :-)

Anji

New Ballpoint needles are a must, but so is using the SAME needle type/size if using two or more needles on a serger. Suddenly knit sewing wasn’t going very well. Turns out I had replaced one broken needle with a different size by mistake and havoc eventually ensued, resulting in many more broken needles and frustration. Rethreading wasn’t working, finally I had to scrap both needles and start again to find my error.

Lisa

Yikes!! Wren is my first knit project and I have a new serger (and I’ve not used it, either! So glad for all of the tips above. I shall take a breath; and start cutting!!!

Robin Miles howfitting.wordpress.com

As simple as it sounds, check your bobbin before each seam if you are using a regular machine. All of the stretch stitches used with knits require more thread than a straight stitch, and running out of bobbin thread halfway through the visible part of a neckline is always a bummer.

Noelle Brockhoff

My favorite trick for sewing knits is remembering that NO ONE IS TOO GOOD TO NOT USE PINS. I suppose that qualifies for most all projects in sewing but especially with knits. I’ve learned this the hard way with wonky seams and holes in seams or unintentional gathers.

Judy Canham

When hemming, first I serge the edge then turn it under and stitch with a twin needle. The combination results in a stable and stretchy hem that looks like a cover stitch. Very satisfying.

Sara C

Glass headed silk pins. Wow, they make working with knits so much easier!

Angela sewingdreamsblog.wordpress.com

Using a ball Point needle and Setting in sleeves flat

Virginia

Hmmm…. don’t forget to put a ballpoint or stretch needle in. Saves frustration :)

annie levasseur

Hi ! Faire with an “e” as in “do” ! Being a french canadian girl, I love that ! !!! My tip is to use a stripe of fusible interfacing, like tricot, whenever I choose to use a special embroderie stitch to make a beautiful and one of a kind hem finish ! Thank you !!!!

Ariada secretgardenrecipes.com

I bought Wren in PDF version and I hope to try it soon. I really think is a versatile pattern and hope it will be useful for my growing belly and maybe latter for breastfeeding :) My tip: When sewing knits that tend to roll on the sides use starch spray to stabilize it. It really makes sewing easier.

Heidi Netherton

When I sew with knit fabric that is constructed in a loose weave I use seam binding for the seams which holds the fabric together & prevents stretching.

Tatiana

I have yet to learn to sew knits, but I heard that ballpoint needle, stretch stich and walking foot are helpful. Can’t wait to try this pattern!

Karen Coleman

I do not have much experience with sewing with knits but I would like to learn. The only tip I have is to take your time while sewing knit.

Linda Hobgood

First a ballpoint or microtex needle for every project– always brand new. I use knit stay tape to stabilize shoulders and anything else you don’t want to stretch. The differential feed on the server is your best friend! Get a serger and master it!

Anna Gerard

I am fairly new to knits…but I do prefer to do a straight stitch and stretch as I sew. It feels more natural to me.

Mary

My favorite knit trick isn’t so much a “trick” as a “learned the hard way” tip: use the right size needle for your fabric! I sew with a “starter” machine that can be finicky with knits and sometimes it will drop half my stitches. I now keep several sizes of ballpoint needles in stock to make sure I have something on hand that will work with my fabric. Knits are more of a pain to sew on my machine, but the resulting dresses are oh-so-worth-it to wear. I must have 9 or 10 Moneta variations, and I can’t wait to get started on the Wren!

Charity Heikes

I am new to knits, but my second Moneta worked wonderfully with a ponte knit! I made the dress with a cute collar in navy to wear in my engagement photos with red lips. It was perfect! Although I don’t have a serger, as others have also said, I’m excited to try sewing more with knit. Knit clothes feel so lovely to wear.

Meggan oipom.com

My favorite trick is to use tissue paper while sewing slinky knits to stabilize them! My fabric was driving me bonkers until I figured that out.

Annabel Rivera

My tip for seeing with knits is walking foot walking foot walking foot! :)

Jacquie

I am new to knits – one project under my belt. So for me it is important to run stitching tests with my machine before beginning.

Cathy

Lots of pins, sew slowly in short segments keeping the fabric supported.

Silver

2 tips not mentioned yet:

Pressing hems – (before sewing) draw a line at your hem depth on cereal package cardboard, fold your fabric to the line and press.

Mark the ‘grainline’ with large bright tacking/basting stitches along a rib (you may need patience, glasses, and a strong light.) You’ll be surprised how fabric that looks like it’s straight on the cutting table isn’t! Use a yardstick to line the grain up to.

My second make was a knit because I didn’t know they were supposed to be difficult! It came out fine and I still wear it, so if you’re hesitating have a go with a stable knit for starters, you’ll soon be addicted!

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