September 05, 2018

A New Skirt (in Knit Fabric!!)

I've wanted to start using knit fabric to make myself clothes for a few years now, but I kept putting it off. There was a good bit of fear involved in the procrastinating - fear I'd waste money by ordering the wrong fabric, fear of fabric that stretches and therefore could end up distorted, fear that I wouldn't use the right stitches/techniques and would end up with an unwearable mess.

Then, about 3 weeks ago, this happened.
broken extension table |
I don't think it's easy to break a Sew Steady table, but my husband didn't know that mine was stored under our bed and when we bought a new mattress he slid the old box spring off of the bed frame right onto the extension table, where it landed with a crack 😢

Since I always use my extension table when I'm doing free motion quilting, this means I'm in piecing-only mode until a replacement arrives, which will hopefully be very soon. It didn't take long to piece the tops for my September and October Island Batik challenge projects. I don't know what I'm going to do for the November challenge yet, so I couldn't move on to that. What to work on next? Well, I had a gift certificate to Mad About Patchwork calling my name, so I went shopping, lol.

One of my biggest hold-ups when it comes to buying knit fabric is the fact that I have nowhere local to buy it, so I can only order online...where I can't touch it. I've always been afraid that what I ordered would arrive and be so thin that it would be too sheer to wear, like the Walmart tshirts I've tried on and put back because you could see right through them. But Mad About Patchwork stocks this beautiful blue Cotton and Steel knit and I felt pretty safe with a fabric that bears the Cotton and Steel name, even if I couldn't touch it before ordering.
Cotton and Steel Moody Bouquet fabric |
Even so, I was relieved to pull it out of the package and confirm that it was not sheer, lol.

About 11 or 12 years ago, a friend gave me this serger, which someone had given to her and she had never used.
serger |
It has been sitting in a closet all these years. I was more than a little intimidated by it. Everything I've ever read about using a serger emphasized how hard it is to thread and to get the tension right and, to make matters worse, I didn't even have the manual. But I figured if I was going to learn to sew with knits and I already owned the serger, I might as well learn to use that at the same time.

Thanks to Google, I found the manual online and it only took a few tries to get it threaded. I was more than a little excited when I created a nice serged edge on a scrap of fabric!
serged edge |
Even getting the tension right was only a matter of turning a couple of dials a bit. Getting up and running wasn't nearly worth all those years of avoidance, lol.

For my first foray into sewing with knits, I went for the simplest of simple garments...a maxi skirt, using this tutorial. Here it is!
knit maxi skirt |
I don't think I'll trade my day job for a new career in modeling, lol. Could I look any more self-conscious and awkward? 

knit maxi skirt |

knit maxi skirt |
I wore it on Sunday and it is so incredibly comfortable!

Here's what the hem looks like, inside and out...
knit maxi skirt |
 And this is the inside and outside of the waistband.
knit maxi skirt |
I made a couple of changes as I followed the tutorial. First of all, she cut her skirt in two pieces, but I just cut mine on the fold so I only needed a seam down one side instead of both sides. Her waistband is just folded down, but I felt like that was too likely to shift around, so I stitched it down.

I can definitely see me making more of these, but there are a couple of changes I'd make. The instructions call for cutting the waist the same as your actual waist measurement, so that's what I did. It does get a little smaller because of the seam allowances, but I still think I'll cut it about an inch smaller next time just because of the stretch in the knit fabric. And the bottom is about 13" wider than the waist, but that's just barely wide enough for comfortable walking. Next time I'll either cut it a couple of inches wider (if I have enough fabric) or figure out how to add a side slit. And lastly, I think the next version might need pockets!

Jess, at Quilty Habit, has shared a couple of times this year when she was surprised to realize how much her skills have progressed (here and here) and I thought of that as I made this skirt. Though I hadn't sewn with knit fabric before this, I was somewhat surprised by how easily my basic sewing skills adapted to this new fabric. I think I could have tackled knit fabrics comfortably a long time ago, but at least I've finally done it! And now I can't wait to pick out my next knit fabric and a project to make with it. I've been wanting to make a Lady Skater Dress, but a tshirt might be more practical. I love wearing skirts and dresses, but I don't find them very practical for sitting around playing with toddlers all day. There are a couple of tshirt variations included in this Craftsy class, which I bought last year, so I might go with one of them.

That's my something new learned for this week 😊 Have you learned anything new lately? Sewing related or not, please share!


  1. What a great print and hooray for doing something new and having it turn out so well. I look forward to seeing your next project and the changes you do incorporate. :)

  2. It looks wonderful! So no elastic? I think I would put elastic in the waist.

  3. I bought knit fabric and a pattern for a t-shirt and have been afraid to touch it all summer. You have given me some motivation to at least get it out and look at it. LOL Your skirt looks fantastic, and good for you for tackling that serger! :)

  4. Your skirt is so pretty! I want one and may have to copy you. I haven’t seen any clothes for years. (Unless you count mending on ballroom costumes.)

  5. Your skirt looks fabulous Leanne, there will be no stopping you now!
    Thanks for linking up to New to Me too :)


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