I know some of you have been sewing doll clothes since you were a toddler. And others have made their own wedding dresses and prom dresses and more.
I tried sewing a blouse once when I was in my teens. After weeks of agonizing, I emerged with a blouse that looked worse on me than the cheapest thing I could have purchased from a dime store. And I had invested WAY too much time and money.
That was the end of my garment sewing. Why on earth would I spend so much time making something that looks like it came from Target when I could just go to Target and get it? (I don’t remember Target existing at that time, but you get the point. Substitute Zayre or Woolworth’s or Venture if you’re in the Chicagoland area.)
Years went by. Decades went by. And garment sewing changed. And so did the idea of making a trip to Target. Folks like Grainline Studio came onto the scene.
And along the way, I learned that sewing something to wear can be simple. Once I purchased a serger with a coverstitch, I started creating my full pandemic wardrobe–sweats and tees.
I have been purchasing fabric from Hawthorne Supply Co., using only organic interlock cotton. I have found this to be ultra-comfortable, soft, drapey, and easy to sew. It’s ideal for t-shirts and kids’ clothes.
Here’s a little video.
The round neck shirts above are from the Hemlock tee pattern from Grainline. The v-neck tees in the video are my own design. I literally took a tee that was comfortable, laid it on a table and made my own pattern. I changed the neckline to one that I preferred, added a bit of length, changed the sleeves, and boom: my perfect 3/4 sleeve v-neck. Sized for me.
I am enamored with the triple coverstitch.
It forms such a beautiful hemmed finish. And the wrong side is even better because it offers that serger “stretch”‘.
Best investment I ever made.
I have more fabric on its way in fall and winter colors, as this fabric was purchased in February and March of last year.
A Tip for Interlock Cotton Knit
When I purchased my serger, the dealer said the needles were fine on knits and wovens.
She was wrong.
It was a universal needle. Sewing machines all come with universal needles. And I used to tell my students that a universal needle is supposed to be good for everything but it’s really good for nothing.
I stand by that on serger needles as well.
I don’t know why I thought that a serger needle might be different.
In the above photo, you can see what happens when you use a needle that’s too sharp for the fabric. Now, this didn’t happen at first. It took a couple of washings. But that is plainly the needle cutting through the knit fabric and breaking it.
Which is why you should ALWAYS use a ball point needle on knits.
Serging or sewing. A ball point needle is actually dull. It separates the threads of a knit with each penetration and doesn’t break it. Your garment will last a LOT longer. Luckily, I only made that mistake on the first pattern. All the others are done with ball point needles and are fine.
Just to summarize. When you purchase a new sewing machine, take those universal needles and toss them in a drawer for someday when you’re desperate. Replace it with a sharp if you’re working on a woven, like quilt cotton, or with a ball point if you’re sewing on knits.
And if you’re on a serger, you can use those factory-loaded needles on wovens. But no matter how special they tell you the needles are that come with the machine, don’t use them on a nice knit.
Someday I’ll do a blog post on different types of needles (there are plenty.) But now, I need to get back to cutting out fabric. I need a winter wardrobe.