Since picking up sewing as my hobby again, I have had a list of challenges to complete in my mind. As much as I want to fill my wardrobe with endless colourful, cotton skater dresses, I also know that pushing myself to learn new techniques and try out new fabrics is beneficial to grow and improve as a sewist! Getting out of my comfort zone and learning to sew with knit fabrics is one of my first challenges of 2020; with this project complete, I can officially put a mini checkmark next to it, as I imagine this will be the first of many projects with stretchy fabric this year.
First things first: SLOTH! PRINT! FABRIC! I am just obsessed with how adorable this fabric is — their little faces peeking up never stop to make me smile. It’s a 96% cotton with 4% elastane blend, which means it is quite a sturdy jersey fabric and good for total beginners like myself. Higgs & Higgs stock this fabric (currently sold out) and also the matching woven cotton. The contrasting white panel is a cheap viscose/lycra jersey from Minerva Fabrics — I picked up two metres to play around with as I embarked on this new challenge.
Baseball tees are one of my favourites, as they look a bit retro and they are easy to style, so I took the plunge with the Frankie Baseball T-Shirt by Tilly and the Buttons. I would FULLY recommend her book Stretch! as the ultimate beginners’ guide to sewing with knit fabrics; every step is so easy to follow and it is jam-packed with helpful tricks and hints. Plus, you get six patterns included!
I sewed this up completely on my regular sewing machine — I initially believed you needed an overlocker to sew with knit fabrics, but it is possible to do on a regular sewing machine. I made sure to use ballpoint needles and pins, so to not snag my lovely jersey fabric. I also invested in a walking foot, which made the world of difference, as it prevents your fabric from shifting around as you feed it through your machine.
This pattern is excellent — I really like the raglan sleeves and the curved hem, and the instructions are so concise. Just take it slow and don’t hurry like I did on my first go, as I ended up slicing a chunk out of my top when trying to trim a sleeve seam (oops!). In terms of adjustments, I followed the book’s guide to a knit-friendly FBA, but that was pretty much the only change I made.
I am so happy with how this turned out and am feeling pretty proud of myself for pushing myself to try something new. I love this top and cannot wait to remake it again!