Monday, May 7, 2012

Finished: Kwik Sew 3866 (Rant & Review)

Chapter 1
The Rant

I have a problem with knits.  It's not a secret.  I was feeling more confident about knits until I met this green fabric last month at G-Street Fabrics in Falls Church, VA.

Ridiculous amount of rolled up edge!
Some knits just will not lay out smoothly for pinning and cutting.  This fabric behaved just like the red knit that made me rant and rave two years ago.  It had a infuriating tendency to roll up at the edges.  I like to match the selvages and fold the fabric in half.  Is that wrong?  Is that too much to ask?  Since it was impossible to place anything on a fold, I ended up tracing a full front, back, and collar pieces and two separate sleeves.  I forgot about folds and laid everything out on a single layer.

Maybe I'm over-reacting.  I've been known to do that.  After I got the pieces cut out, I experimented with the suggestions from my previous rant. I tried pressing. I tried spray starch. Some of the techniques helped, but I still wasn't satisfied.  I just want knits to behave like wovens and that will never happen. Maybe I just shouldn't be sewing knits.

Chapter 2
The Review

Click here or see sidebar for Pattern Review
One can never have too many polo shirts.  Polo shirts are a slightly less casual than t-shirts, but just as comfortable.  Now that I have Kwik Sew 3866 I can pick-up (easy to fold) knits (that don't roll up) suitable for polo shirts every time I see them.  This pattern offers long-sleeved and sleeveless versions as well as the short sleeved version.

Kwik Sew's instructions often are much easier than other pattern company's instructions.   I struggled trying to follow Burda's instructions for a front placket.  Kwik Sew's instructions were as easy as pie.  The band is interfaced and that made the knit behave a little better.

I'm not sure about the fiber content because I found this fabric on the $2.97 table at G-Street Fabrics.  I suspect it's cotton because it pressed so well.  (You'd think I would have been able to press out those rolled up edges!) When it was time to press up the hem, it held the crease better than any knit I've had the displeasure to press.  I had to use my walking foot on any seam that wasn't serged.  The fabric tended to drag and would have made a huge gap when I reached the end of a seam.  I used the walking foot when sewing the upper and under collars together and when top stitching the placket.  So that dragging wouldn't be an issue, I used the cover stitch capability of my serger to hem the sleeves and bottom.

In spite of the knit's idiosyncrasies, this was an easy shirt to sew.  The pattern was so easy, you could almost ignore the knit fabric.  I'll make more of these tops if I can find knits that know how to behave.


  1. You need to stop expecting the edges on knits to line up. They are not real selvedges. Knits are knit in the round and they are cut apart before selling. They generally have some glue like substance added to the cut edges. I used to be crazy about finding the exact edge of a knit stitch to line up the grainline with. Nope, not any more. It's not that critical. I make sure that the fold is flat, ie that there are no diagonal wrinkles and I will adjust the fabric until they are gone. I will line them up with that fold line but not obsessively so. As for rolling edges I have found that cotton lycra single knits tend to roll the most. The only thing to do is pin the edges together or forget them and just lay your pattern pieces out away from the edge. What is more irritating about edges that roll is that the cut edges roll and make it difficult to sew them together. Here I use lots of pins at the edge to keep them flat and pull them out as I sew. A pita. I will generally baste first before putting them through the serger, but I do that anyway.

    1. You're right. A knit is not a woven and I need to stop expecting a knit to act like one! You have evolved past the point of finding the edge of a knit and I'm am still in the process. At least I know, by your example, it is possible to be realistic about knits.

  2. Knits are difficult on the edges sometimes. I don't line my edges up, just fold up enough to get the one pattern piece on the fold, cut, then fold again for the next pattern piece. Your top looks fantastic, beautiful placket.

  3. On something I will make repeatedly I do make full size traced pieces so I can choose which ones to use (fold or full size piece). I am wide and the knits are wide so for me this makes it easier on certain wiggly fabrics. It's usually just 3 pieces that I need to make full size for a knit top so with the larger sizes I am not fighting with refolding a huge piece of knit fabric perfectly. Larger people can't fold equidistant and cut so to me I spend a lot of time refolding and fighting the big pieces of knit I have stashed but that is me. I really like this pattern and your version-great basic piece to have fitting so well as you have this one. mssewcrazy

  4. Good thing the pattern made your efforts worth it. I simply hate when a get a knit that won't behave. The polo is nice and thanks for the 411 about the Kwik Sew placket instruction technique. I'll have to pick up a placket top pattern.

  5. Can you use Google Reader on your smart phone? I have problems with it on the phone.
    P.S. I'm Elmira bound for 10 days starting June 23rd! It's been two years.