Sunday, February 11, 2018

Want to start sewing with knits? Consider these tips

Hooray for the home sewers and garment makers! More quilt shops and independent sewing centers are offering knit fabrics these days. The knits from Art Gallery Fabrics (AGF) have been my go-to favorites for the past year and I have an AGF knit top for every day of the week—long and short sleeves.
Make a knit top for every day of the week! Fabrics from Art Gallery Fabrics (AGF).
Lately, quite a few quilt shop owners have decided to make the leap into offering knits in their stores, and have asked me, "what prints or colors should I start with?" Here are a few tips to consider.

Veronica's thoughts: The basic white shirt
Like the "little black dress," the "white shirt" is a staple for anyone's wardrobe. Personally, I don't think you can have too many white shirts in your closet because they are so versatile.
Knit tops: Pandalicious (left) and Etno (right) prints from AGF.
A white shirt goes with any other print or color you might wear in a jacket, skirt or pants. It can be dressed up with a blazer or be paired with jeans for a classic casual look. A white knit top is also a good backdrop to showcase a colorful scarf or unique piece of jewelry.

Want more color?
If you want to entertain more color, Art Gallery has plenty of multi-color florals, prints and solids that can mix and match with sweaters, jackets, skirts or pants—in classic and on-trend colors. Hey, if your personality can pull off bold colors and a wild or wacky print—go for it! Life is too short.
A variety of knits from AGF: florals, geometrics, stripes in light, medium and dark colors.

What's your sewing skill level?
Another consideration I discuss with shop owners is the skill level of those who will be sewing with these fabulous new fabrics. For the beginner garment sewer, all-over prints like large and small florals, a print with a randomly placed design motif, and solids are great choices.
K-47701 "Capped Dim" in knit
from the Forest Floor collection by Bonnie Christine for AGF.
With stripes, plaids or a directional print, a pattern layout might require extra fabric and/or careful sewing to match stripes or plaids at side and shoulder seams. You also wouldn't want the stripes running slightly uphill across your garment (unless this is an intended design statement!). All-over prints and solids are more forgiving for a beginner project.
K-4608 "Stitched Road Beryl"
from the Emmy Grace collection by Bari J for AGF.

The "Big Picture" from Walter's vantage point
I posed the knit question to Walter Bravo, President of AGF. Since AGF ships to quilt shops and sewing centers across the country—urban, suburban, rural, coastal, inland and areas in between—the answer is dependent on different factors. He suggests the following considerations:
Knit outfit (far left) and other childrenswear pieces
from the Little Town collection by Amy Sinibaldi for AGF.
  • Will the knits be used for childrenswear or adult garments? Consider the scale of the print.
  • Do you embrace color and print or are you more conservative? 
  • Prints and motifs can be a reflection of lifestyle and the part of the country in which people live (or have lived)—like the southwest or near the ocean.
  • The choice of a color and print can reflect a culture or heritage, an urban vs. a country environment, or for casual or corporate attire.
Hooded knit jacket. Made by the talented staff at Stitchers Playhouse.
Childrenswear featuring Buck Forest from the Hello Bear collection.
Made by the talented staff at Bernina in Stitches.
Art Gallery Fabrics has an immense selection of knit fabrics—prints, solids and new yarn-dyed stripes. Contact your local quilt shop or sewing center and ask them about knit fabrics.
Art Gallery knits awaiting my next sewing project.
Coincidentally, the March 2018 issue of Threads magazine has an article on how to adapt sewing patterns for wovens so you an use them with knits. The cover photo features an AGF knit from the Indie Bohème collection by Pat Bravo. Does it get any better than this?!
March 2018 issue of Threads magazine features an article
 about using woven patterns with knit fabrics.
Cover photo: AGF knit from Indie Bohème collection.

Knits: they're not just for garments
While you might immediately think of T-shirts and tops when you think about knit fabrics, you can also use knits for home dec, accessories and other quilting and stitching projects. Check out the Art Gallery Fabrics LookBooks for additional inspiration.

So, what are you waiting for? Run to your local independent quilt and fabric shop, fall in love with knits and make something!
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