Tip for Working with Tricky Knit Fabrics, and Simplicity 8265 Skirt

Hey there! Did I tell you I can’t drive? Double vision will do that. It is slowly getting better and I expect I’ll be back on the Boston roads terrorizing other drivers soon enough. But for now that leaves me in the house most days, which means I have time on my hands and no place to go, so I’m just a sewing ‘machine’ recently. That’s a good thing – my energy is up, my sewing mojo is up, and my blogging/teaching mojo is up. So today’s lesson is about…

Working with tricksy knits!

Have you ever run into a fabric that you absolutely adore, but like an operatic diva is impossible to work with? Not that I would know about that sort of thing personally. 🙄😆

Well, I have. The fabric for my Simplicity 8265, that luscious, beefy rayon double knit, LOVES my serger, but hates my sewing machine. Actually it hates both of my sewing machines (my trusty Pfaff and my Skippy-the-Emergency-Backup-Bernina). It makes them skip stitches like crazy, which they don’t normally do. Let me show you what I mean. I ran a line of stitches on my Pfaff. Settings for all the samples you will see in this post are straight stitch, 3mm long, Schmetz Jersey/Ballpoint needle size 80/12. Now mind you, this is the needle that gives the best result in my machines, and I tried all of them, but there are still problems. Here you can see the result:

I used white thread in the needle so you can see it clearly

In cases like this I’ve found, through experimentation and comparing results with folks who know more than me (yes – there are one or two…) that there is an easy, inexpensive and consistent answer – pattern paper!

A strip of excess paper from your pattern can work wonders…

Just put it under your stitching line, between the fabric and the feed dogs, run your stitches, and to quote BravoTV, “watch what happens!”

On the right is the first stitching line. On the left is the stitching line sewn over the pattern paper

Nice results, wouldn’t you say? Here’s the back side of the stitching

All you need to do is tear the paper away and ta daa!

Pattern Review-ish of Simplicity 8265 View B Skirt

This doesn’t really warrant a full review because I used the same fabric, machines and settings as my review of the Duster from This Same Pattern. But I’ll note a couple of things. First, this pattern is really easy! I started cutting it out at 2 and I was finished by 5, and that was with some time off to give my back a break (can I tell you how much I hate being afflicted with Miller-Fisher?). I made a size 12.

Second, it is very well drafted and goes together beautifully. I pegged it a bit, though the photos look a little like it flares out at the bottom. Not sure why. I haven’t tried it on to check it. I’ll do that later. The front is flat, the back has two small darts. Here are pictures:


Back. The darts are kind of hard to see

Third it takes little fabric, so it’s a great way to use up extra (like mine). Here’s a side view

I used my new coverstitch machine to hem it

I LOVE this machine, and the man who gave it to me – after I showed him where to buy it. Still, love him!

So, another garment complete! I know it is simple, but it’s progress, and I’m so happy to be sewing again!!!

Does Happy Sewing sound redundant? Because I am!

12 thoughts on “Tip for Working with Tricky Knit Fabrics, and Simplicity 8265 Skirt”

  1. Thanks for the reminder Ann. I’ve had the same issue with a rayon ity knit and it pattern paper was the only remedy I could find.

  2. Connie Turner says:

    I’m having trouble with an ITY knit for a top. I really had no trouble until putting in the sleeves which I am doing on the flat but the seam just looks awful, bumpy and wobbly. I’ll try the paper trick next time I work up the energy to try again.

  3. Pam says:

    Thank You.
    Your awesome

  4. AJW says:

    I always learn something new from you, Ann, and this post proves the point. Thanks for helping us become better at sewing knits. And thanks for continuing your blog, which has always been a great source of sewing info. So glad to hear that your recovery continues — best wishes for good health in 2018.

  5. Barbara J says:

    I use the tissue paper trick at the beginning of a seam to keep the fabric from being sucked into the machine but never thought of using it for the entire seam line. Thanks for teaching me that trick!

    Glad your recovery is progressing well. Being stuck in the house stinks, no matter how much sewing you get done.

  6. Joanne Burnett says:

    I recycle tissue paper for sewing tricky knits. Just cut it into strips and you are good to sew.

  7. Allyn says:

    Great tip . . . I’ve learned something new today. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Marianna says:

    That was jst what I needed to know! Thanks for sharing.

  9. ritas says:

    I’ve found that the tissue paper / sewing pattern paper technique also works for tricky flimsy fabrics such as stretch lace or voile that want to get caught up in the little “hole” in the sewing machine.

    Luckily, my dry cleaners places a nice new sheet when packaging sweaters, so I always have a free supply.

  10. Karen says:

    Good tip, Ann. We are the benefactors of you being house bound. Thanks for posting.

  11. T. j. says:

    Great tip. You are an amazing source of information. And a quick wit as well😉

  12. Becky says:

    I am so glad to hear that you are feeling better! I don’t know how you can sew with double vision and produce such beautiful garments. I don’t, and I don’t have double vision! Thanks for the tips, Ann. Keep getting better!

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