I wanted to give you some hints and tips for making your own wool pullovers or tops.
When you get your fabric home pre-wash it but don't use fabric conditioner, as I find it makes it a little easier to handle. Once the garment is finished then I rinse it through with fabric conditioner to blend the stitches in and make it beautifully soft and huggable.
If you have never sewn with a knit fabric before then you must be wondering how to go about it.
You can use one of the special stretch stitches on your sewing machine, or even a small zig zag. The reason why your seam needs to give a little is because knits ( or jersey) stretches as you wear it and a straight seam with normal thread will just break and you will end up with holes in your garment
So, what do I do to stop that from happening?
It's so simple! I use this stretch thread and a normal straight stitch set a little longer than normal.
This wonder thread is Mettler Seraflock Thread I love it and use it whenever I am sewing anything which stretches. It is a wonderful thread which stretches yet is wonderfully strong and will not snap, making it also perfect for lingerie and dance wear. It is soft and shrink proof. It comes in a large range of colours and best of all the bobbin lasts for ages.
I have a lot of bobbins for my machine and after I have used my Seraflock I put the bobbin under the large label on the thread which I carefully peeled off earlier.
The other essential is a brand new jersey needle Ball Point machine needles
It is essential to change your needle frequently anyway, but with a knit or stretch fabric a blunt needle will damage your fabric . This particular needle is designed so that it pushes the fibres of your fabric aside to avoid breaking them, in this way you avoid plucks in your fabric.
The next essential thing to do is to to grab a piece of your fabric and test your sewing. Is it even? Does it pull or pucker? Are you happy with it? If your stitch is not right then do look at Alex Jaycotts blog post Troubleshooting your sewing machine as he explains what could possibly have gone wrong.
A word about seam finishes. I am aware that a lot of people don't bother to finish a seam when they are sewing with a stretch fabric because nobody ever sees it,and it doesn't fray but are you not worth it? I always finish my seams, the garment lasts longer with strong seams, it looks lovely in the inside and that's what I like. Sometimes I may choose a French seam or even a bound seam ( Hong Kong seam) sometimes I may use my overlocker but whatever I use I make sure that the inside is just as pleasing as the outside.
When I use a pattern which I know I will use several times I use hole reinforcers in every place where I know I want to use a tailors tacks.
Tailors tacks are my preferred way of transferring all of my pattern markings onto my fabric. They are quick and easy and more importantly they are removed easily.
I use Gutterman Tacking Thread because it stays put until you remove it.
These are my tailors tacks marking the match points on the front of my top.
If you do not have an overlocker or if you have one but do not have the colour of thread you need then most modern sewing machines have an overedge stitch. This is the page of my manual which tells me what stitches are available. My machine is
Bernina 350PE which is a fabulous machine. It has a large range of stitches including decorative stitches, it is reliable, strong and is an outstanding machine. Do ring Jaycotts, number below, for the current price.
You will also need an overedge foot if it is not included with your machine, Overlock foot There are feet for every make of machine so the best thing to do is to telephone if you made not sure which you need.
You will notice that the edges of the tops are rounded. The easiest way of seeing a rounded hem is to run a gathering stitch within the seam allowance and gather it as you press. This is a very simple way of making a beautifully smooth hem.
One of my tops has press stud fastenings. You could use sew on press studs or non- sew, the choice is yours All sorts of press studs
If you are using sew on, or are using a button closure you will need beeswax to strengthen your thread. It really does make sewing them on very easy and stops your thread from tangling too Beeswax
This is the first of my tops. It has a faced neckline which needs to be interfaced.
Interfacing a piece of fabric adds stability to the fabric and it is used typically on collars, cuffs, neckline, fronts and many other applications. Always use the best quality, cheap ones are just not worth it, and for stretch fabric you need a stretch interfacing Stretch INTERFACING
For this top I didn't interface the collar as I wanted a soft neckline. I used large poppers and stitched decorative buttons on.
The back of this top dips far lower at the back then it does on the front, I like the contrast in lengths but there is an option of making both front and back the same length
I made the same top in a patterned wool knit and this time interfaced the collar so that it will stand up or I can folding down as I please
I also fastened the top with a loop and button closure. I made front and back the same length.
When you are pressing knits do use a pressing cloth, you don't want scorch marks on your lovely new top .Pressing cloth this is a good one as it allows you to see what is happening underneath.
It is so easy to make yourself a variety of winter tops, you can purchase GOOD fabric cheaply in a lot of places so you have your pattern you can make lots more versions cheaper than in the shops and different to everyone else's too.
For details of the products used then please contact Jaycotts using this form
Or telephone them on 01244 394099 during office hours
Thank you very much for reading this . Your comments are appreciated