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A Beginners Guide to Sewing with Knitted Fabrics Book Review by Sally

Hi All! I’m Sally of The Yorkshire Sewist!

Today, It’s my turn to show you what I have made from Wendy Ward’s Fabulous A Beginners Guide to Sewing with Knitted Fabrics.

Well first of all, you do need to make yourself a brew and have a good through read of the Book before starting a project as Wendy has a vast amount of information that is really useful for when it comes to Sewing with Knits.

Well where do I begin as this book is like a capsule wardrobe with actual garments that you want to make and wear!

There are t-shirts, wide-leg trousers, lounge pants, tank tops, cardigans, skirts and dresses made in versatile fabrics that can be dressed up or down.

Both beginners and more experienced dressmakers often avoid using knitted fabrics as it can be a tricky beast at times, but Wendy will show you how to successfully sew them with just a regular sewing machine! But then I do use my overlocker when sewing with knits as I feel like I’m not using it enough otherwise!

You will learn essential skills with the help of an ample techniques section that includes a guide to different types of knitted fabrics and their uses (including jersey, sweatshirt fabric, boiled wool and many more), how to prepare them for making clothes and setting up your sewing machine. Perfect!

There are also full size patterns for every garment included at the back of the book, so you will have all the information you need to start making your own perfect wardrobe! Yay!

Now the hard part was to nail it down to my first project from the Book for the Tour. After some internal debating and biscuits….nom nom… I finally decided on the Peak T-shirt but to make into the Dress version as I was intrigued by the relaxed fit of it and that’ll it look fab with leggings and flats!

Thank you to Minerva Crafts on providing the fabric for me! I decided to go for a Loop Back Sweatshirt Knit Fabric in a funky Tattoo print style and Black Ribbing Fabric. I’m glad I had a good read of the book before ordering my fabric as I didn’t realise you needed ribbing if your fabric doesn’t have the right amount stretch for the neckband of which mine did and it’s good job I did as it made putting in the collar a breeze.

With Wendy’s uber clear instructions and handy sizing I went for diddle for middle the 38-39” Bust measurement and waist and graded up one size for the hip area as I am blessed with child bearing hips!

Tracing the pattern pieces off was probably the most time consuming part of this project as I must admit I am not a tracer I tend to cut straight into my pattern lol. To make the Peak Tee into the Dress you had to add on a certain amount at the bottom of the Tee Pattern. Yeah… I didn’t need to add an extra 11” to it as per the instructions, I only needed 8 inches as I am only 5 foot 2 so please take into account when tracing out. I went off the finished back length and deducted the amount required for my length. Which is very handy to have the measurements for all finished garment sizes which I haven’t come across before and makes fitting the garment to you the 1st time a lot easier.

The Cutting layout was easy to follow and with no small pieces to cut out. I just needed to remember to mark on the garment where to install elastic later on.

In Wendy’s book, it suggests that you have a play about with the stitch width/length to get it correct before sewing your garment, a very good tip as you don’t want your garment to fall to bits due to bust seams or for the stitching to show through if the tension is too loose as in previous sewing disasters.

I never have used the method of taping seams before! But I’m glad I did as it meant the shoulder seams kept beautifully crisp and not saggy! I didn’t have any iron on tape but I had some thin ribbon in my stash, which worked just as good in my opinion.

With the clear instructions and the excellent walk through of sewing a folded band edging, I achieved a perfect 1st time install, which is a rarity as more often than not I end up with puckered bit but oh no not with these instructions!

I stitched this garment in no time at all, I’d say an afternoon job with in-between the kids Tea and making myself a brew too. I used my Singer Overlocker 14sh754 for the Seams and then used my Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 to topstitch and hem.

Wendy’ clear instructions on using Elastic to gather the Dress were crystal clear, the pictures were great at showing what it should look like inside and out. It’s a good job I remembered to mark with my Tailors chalk where abouts to put the elastic as it could be quite easy to put the elastic in the wrong place otherwise.

I tried the dress on and it fitted great, but I wanted a little bit edgier with my Tattoo print Fabric so I decided to make the Dress with a High-Low Hem.

I took off 3 inches off the Front of the Dress and used my French curve to create a curve to the Side seam and left the back of the Dress length as is.

I then hemmed the Dress and I was pretty pleased with the final outcome.

Can’t beat a long mirror selfie.

Here I am on Bridlington beach on a cold but Sunny March Afternoon, it was great teamed up with a longline cardigan with leggings and flats and it was so comfortable to wear, it was like I was wearing PJ’s!

I’ve already have the Kinder Cardigan and the Monsal lounge Pants on my Sewing to do list.

So in all, Wendy’s book is great for beginners and for the more experienced a like as I have learnt some new techniques whilst working with knit fabrics and how to achieve professional looking results with such little effort!

Happy Sewing!

Sally @ The Yorkshire Sewist

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