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Aug 25, 2012

Peter's Final Knit Post!

Ta da! -- My blue knit t-shirt with contrasting neckband.

I am so done with knit jersey, friends.  At least for now.  I'm perfectly satisfied with my new t-shirts and I intend to wear them.  But the end result doesn't really merit the effort.

Here's my finished striped t-shirt.

I added a strip of knit to finish the bottom hem. I folded the band in half, serged the edge, and then stitched it to the hem with my sewing machine (I used my Kenmore 158.141 for this project).

Before I did that, however, I tried adding a strip of knit with the stripes going vertical, just to see.  Hated it.

To finish the sleeves, I folded the hem up an inch or so, added a little fusible web to hold it in place, and then stitched all the way around.

All done!

With the remaining striped fabric I made myself a tank top.  I trimmed all the edges with knit strips which I folded over and stitched down by stitching in the ditch.

Not liking the result, I decided to turn the trimmed edges under and topstitch.

The shirt came out OK, but I don't think I'll wear it much.  I don't like snug tank tops.  Unfortunately I didn't have enough fabric to cut it fuller.

Finally, I approached my blue knit jersey -- even thinner and harder to deal with than the stripe.  I reinforced the shoulder seams with rayon seam binding this time (I'd used cotton twill on the striped shirt).

I interfaced the entire neckline with a weft-weight knit fusible cut on the bias (I think it's a knit).

I added the neckband the same way I had to the striped shirt, with one front edge overlapping the other.  I had run out of my blue knit so I used a solid gray strip from my multicolored knit.  I serged the raw edge of the neckband but stitched the band on my shirt with my regular sewing machine.

It came out well but it's a lot of work to get that V perfect, even with the neckline edge interfaced.

Instead of adding a band along the bottom, I folded the hem up an inch, pressed, topstitched, and then folded back the edge and serged -- it's sort of like a tuck on the wrong side of the fabric made with a serger.  It looks like a separate band, but I didn't have to worry about matching lengths.

I did the sleeves the same way: folded up roughly one inch, topstitched, and then folded the hem back and serged along the stitching from the wrong side.

BTW, on the blue shirt, I used my regular sewing machine on the side and shoulder seams and got perfectly fine results.  Even adjusting my serger's differential feed, it didn't do a great job with this taffy-like jersey and since these knits don't ravel, why bother?

Readers, that's it -- three knit jersey shirts, two of which I should get a lot of use out of.  

In closing, many thanks for your excellent suggestions about dealing with knit jersey, sergers, etc.  As many have said, every knit is a little different, so there's bound to be a lot of trial and error involved.  As for me, I've had it with these thin knits.  It is time to move on.

Happy Saturday, everybody!

Sunday UPDATE:

After laundering the shirts, I noticed the neckline seam allowances don't dry flat, so I decided to topstitch around the neckline 1/4" from the edge to anchor the seam allowance in place.  Otherwise I'd have to iron these shirts every time I wash them!



  1. I've been sewing knits since the early days of Stretch 'n Sew classes and I don't think I'd attempt a thin knit like that. You did a fabulous job!

  2. Thanks for the tutorial Peter, I think I'm ready to tackle that v-neck myself now!
    All of your shirts turned out great, I love the striped one!

  3. I know what you mean. Tee shirts can feel like a lot of work for little pay off. That's why I try not to make anything I can buy for a good price. I like to put effort into things that are more unique and feel like me. They do look great on you though!

  4. Useful information, as usual Peter. Saved me the trouble of trying those jersey knits. Thanks! Onto the next knits!


  5. I think the issue with sewing knits is that for men, it's pretty much t-shirts, tanks and boxers, maybe a nightshirt. That's it. For women, there's a whole world of gorgeous clothing we can make with knits that warrant wrangling with the stuff.
    I am SO pleased you mentioned the fact that jersey fabrics don't need serging because they don't fray!! I hardly ever use my overlocker to sew jerseys for this very reason.

  6. Is that Blue in your colorwheel?...I think YES! Nice job on the tees.

  7. Your shirts look great, as with anything, knits do take practice. I hope you don't write them off forever. They can be quick and very satisfying.

  8. I agree with everyone who recommends a better quality knit. Someone mentioned a twin needle- for me, that is the secret to a professional looking knit garment. You'll need a zigzag machine to use the twin needle, but I promise you'll be astonished by how good your hems look.

  9. Too much fussing for a t-shirt since decent looking ones are available at a reasonable price. I would do it for lingerie,vests, pullovers and cardigans though.

  10. Shirts look fantastic, Peter! If you have some of the blue left, you could insert panels in the sides of your striped tank for a little wiggle room.
    Just a thought, but they do look great.

  11. Love the T-Shirts, great feedback on how you constructed the hem and neckline. Peter the blue is a perfect choice the color is hot right now, love the stripe also.

  12. I agree totally with you. I spent the last four years trying to learn to sew knits, but there are only cheap knits available and if you do get a somewhat good knit it has spandex or something in it and/or it pills with wearing. I like things that last. So I have gone back to wovens and I am so pleased with the results of my sewing again.

  13. Please search out some ITY. There are even knits made of silk and wool. And its not likely the spandex portion of the knit that is pilling, more often the polyester in a blend. Swatching is available from many internet retailers.
    And t-shirts are worth the minimal effort if you have fit issues. There is no after construction alteration for lengthening a t-shirt...

  14. Yes, it is a lot easier to buy a t-shirt. Conquering another challege, such as knits, is worth the effort.

  15. I don't use fusing on my knits; over the time of sewing with them, reading on them, I found that I don't like my serger generally for most knits, I like 1/4 inch seams, and I use a very narrow one-step zig-zag making sure the tension is loose enough. I use a piece of scrap fabric, run a seam & pull to see if it stretches without popping. I use clear elastic in my shoulder seams or seams I want to stabilize. I really would love a cover-stitch machine for my knits. But that is what works for me, even with those really thin knits!

  16. I love all your t-shirts. I hope one day I can build up my skill level to sew with knits.


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