Monday, April 22, 2013

yes you can! Sew Knits with Confidence! aka Nancy Zieman's new book/blog tour + giveaway

 *****GIVEAWAY CLOSED - WINNER HAS BEEN NOTIFIED*****

Wow! Was that the longest title for a blog post ever?! Well, now you know what we're talking about today!

I was so happy to be asked to participate in the blog tour for Nancy Zieman's new book, Sew Knit With Confidence + her 4 new knit patterns.  She sent me a copy of her book and each of the four patterns to review and choose one of the garments to make.  She also sent me a book and pattern set to give away (see end of post)!

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I'm not going to lie.  I was reeeeeally nervous about making something out of knit.  I have a serger which is great for sewing knits, but I mostly use it for finishing of the seams on nice non-stretchy cotton.

After reading through the book and all of her great tips in there I decided I could try it, and if it didn't work out then, oh well, at least I gave it a go. I decided to make the 6 panel skirt from the Monterey Collection. It ended up being super fast!  The actual sewing time was easily less than an hour.

Looking back on the whole project I think the two hardest things were unrelated to the pattern!
1. It is really hard to find nice knits in good colors at local fabric shops.  I need help sourcing good knits!
2. The knit I chose - while pretty (milk chocolate brown with gold flecks on it) and drapey - it was VERY hard to lay flat on the floor to cut out my pieces!!

After a call for help on Instagram I tried taping it to the floor to get it flat and keep it in place while I pinned.

I ended up using my fun new tool - the tracing wheel and chalk paper - to just trace the size I wanted onto the fabric.  I made a size medium skirt with a s XS length as I am not super tall and wanted it to hit just past the knee.

Plus I had plans to try out a rolled hem since the knit was pretty thin, I wasn't sure a traditional hem would turn out so well.  And I wanted to learn how to do a rolled hem!


The skirt panels went together very easily! I was pleased with the cut of the pieces that give the skirt a nice flare and flounce just above the knee.


I then decided to try out the hem after being encouraged by several friends at the retreat I went to last weekend.  I got out my manual, got a bagel for some sustenance, and opened up the machine and started changing the settings.
And what do you know!!!??  It was so easy.  All I had to do was follow 3 simple instructions! I really should read the manual more often.

As a side note: I did use a serger for this skirt - but the pattern has excellent instructions for using a regular machine too.  So a serger is NOT necessary for sewing knits.

I love the way it turned out on the skirt!

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The last step in the pattern was to put in the elastic in a way I had never tried.  You sew the elastic to the wrong side, stretching as you go.  Then you fold it over and anchor in the seams so it doesn't fold back up!  I tried to take a photo here.
I love the nice clean look of the waistband with this method.

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The bottom line is, I learned so many things from this one simple pattern! I was just thinking today how the title really is appropriate, I do have more confidence sewing knits.  And not just knits, but with the new techniques I learned for using my serger! Win-win! Plus I have an easy comfy new skirt to wear.

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Pardon the selfie on my phone!  I didn't have a chance to get some better photos taken.  But this gives you a good idea.  The fit is perfect and the knit is so comfortable.  I see myself making more of these in the near future!!

Check out the rest of the posts in the tour with many more chances to win!
April 16, 2013 Nancy Zieman the Blog
April 17, 2013 Gertie’s New Blog for Better Sewing
April 18, 2013 Totally Stitchin 
April 19, 2013 Sew Beautiful Magazine 
April 20, 2013 Marie Madeline Studio 
April 21, 2013 Stitchin Jenny’s
April 22, 2013 Amy Lou Who Sews 
April 23, 2013 Sew News
April 24, 2013 Designs in Machine Embroidery  
April 25, 2013 Riley Blake Designs 
April 26, 2013 The Sewing Loft Blog 
April 27, 2013 Nancy Zieman the Blog 

Now it's your turn to win, just leave me a comment and tell me what the scariest sewing project is that you've ever tackled.  I will choose a winner of a Sew Knits With Confidence Book and Knit Pattern Set! I'll announce winners at the end of the week! 

Don't forget - if you are a no-reply blogger leave your email in the comments.  Or just go click on the little button over there on the side and remedy the problem! :)


63 crafty mcCrafters commented:

Frances from Texas said...

What a great job you did! Thanks for showing how the rolled hem looks on this skirt; I'd be willing to try it now. Having been a fan of Nancy's for decades, I'd love to win this collection. Thank you for the drawing!

Savannagal said...

The scariest thing for me has been hemming my pants. I spent over 10 hours stitching and picking out stitches. I know I was doing it correctly because I read my many sewing books and also watched a few YouTube videos. No matter what I did the enlongated stitch rarely caught the fabric fold. So I ended up with a few areas caught and the rest of the hem dangling and loose. I tried over and over and over. I pinned, I basted and I even ironed the fold of fabric which left a horrible line at the top of the hem. But nothing worked. Finally I gave up and just hemmed by hand. Very frustrating to have a sewing machine and have to stitch by hand.

HallieBerryQuilts said...

The scariest sewing I've done was altering ready made drapes for a bachelor friend of mine. He's a perfectionist, I was so nervous. But they turned our great! I'd love to win the giveaway, thanks!

Colleen Bell said...

The skirt looks wonderful and I absolutely love the waistband idea. I have to try it.

Margo said...

Probably the scariest project I've ever attempted was sewing my wedding dress. I picked an easy pattern and fabric to work with, but it was still stressful! That skirt is very cute and looks very versatile.

Amy's Crafty Shenanigans said...

Well done you! I have never even considered sewing with knits but maybe I should! I am currently cutting a shirt pattern so one step at a time!!! ;)

Jenn said...

Your skirt looks lovely! The scariest thing I sewed was a slip. I found it scary because I had never sewn with slippery fabrics before and the one I choice was very thin and very slippery!! When I got to the hemming it was a nightmare for such a beginner so I instead tried a rolled hem on my serger like you did on your skirt and it turned out great.

Thanks for giving us the chance to win the giveaway!!

Pam Quiltaholic Biswas said...

My most difficult to tackle was the Amy Butler Weekender Travel Bag. It was tough because of all the stiff peltex.

Sandy Chavez said...

Hi, your skirt looks great. My scariest project was a little knit top with cap sleeves and pintucks. I used a really thin knit and for a relatively new garment sewer, it was a mistake. I can empathize with your difficulties cutting out the fabric. Thank you for the great little tutorial and for the give-away opportunity.

Buncobuddy said...

I'm about to encounter my scariest project yet -- a purse! I'm gonna take my time -- measure twice and cut once! Thanks for the giveaway!

Jessica said...

My wedding dress...thankfully I was a little younger and full of excitement and self confidence...I think I'd be scared silly to tackle something like that again!!

twirldesigns said...

This skirt: http://twirldesigns.wordpress.com/2013/04/03/murphys-sister-and-a-skirt/

McCall's 6372 View A. This skirt gave me issues right from the beginning mostly because of the slippery fabrics I had chosen and the pattern changes I wanted to do. It turned out excellent and I learned many things along the way!

Lynette said...

Alterations!!! for other people!! When we were first married my husband was bragging on my sewing abilities. The secretary in his office asked if I did alterations~~long story short I altered 5 pairs of pants and 4 skirts!!Agh!! Never again!
I would love to learn to sew with knits..they scare me!
Thanks for the giveaway!

Mama Lusco said...

My first pants zipper was VERY intimidating! I have learned to love sewing & wearing knits because they are so forgiving. It will keep getting easier :) I cut my knits with an electric scissors...cuts like butter! mamalusco at ortelco.net

Prabha Tedrow said...

Hi,
It would be fun to sew these patterns. The scariest thing I ever sewed was a knit velvet dress for my daughter. It turned out great in the end.

Prabha

Carrie Cunningham said...

Nice job on the skirt! The scariest project for me was my first quilt. It was at-shirt quilt for my brother and I'd never made a quilt! I got about 50% through the quilt and realized I'd never made a quilt for myself...so I actually stopped working on his quilt and made one for myself. That actually gave me the confidence to finish his quilt.

Kelly said...

The scariest thing I've sewn was my weekender. But it was worth all the pain because I think it is so beautiful.

Judy Nolan said...

Your skirt turned out really well! It's good to hear that the pattern has great instructions for using just a sewing machine. I got rid of my hardly-ever-used serger in favor of getting a second sewing machine with programmable embroidery options. I haven't regretted the decision yet!

Judy Nolan said...

Oops...forgot to name my scariest project. I think it was a long time ago, when my husband was in ROTC and he invited me to a Naval ball. I couldn't afford a long gown, so I decided to make one. It had an invisible zipper, which I thought would be really difficult. It was not!

Jessie said...

My scariest project ever was when my perfectionist soon-to-be sister-in-law commissioned me to make 5 flower girl dresses. They involved my first zippers, in a lined garment, no less, and sewing for people not nearby. They came out adorably, but it certainly stressful at the time. And now zippers and lining don't scare me. :)

Thanks for the chance to win!

Jessie said...

My scariest project ever was when my perfectionist soon-to-be sister-in-law commissioned me to make 5 flower girl dresses. They involved my first zippers, in a lined garment, no less, and sewing for people not nearby. They came out adorably, but it certainly stressful at the time. And now zippers and lining don't scare me. :)

Thanks for the chance to win!

Jane Seymour said...

well done, very motivated to try this myself. thanks for the pics.

Chris said...

My scariest project was the Baptismal gown for my Granddaughter. I never did any heirloom sewing so I had to read up on the techniques I would be using (kept the book beside me at all time). And the directions for the gown. It took me a week but I finished the MP Godet gown with the puffing and the lace. Now the same Granddaughter needs a few skirts. Sewing with knits is being considered. I like the way you finished your skirt and would also use my serger for it. Nice job.
Chris

midnight hysteria said...

a wedding dress ... i did a tailoring job on a wedding dress for a friend ... scary ... however sewing with knits is also scary and i would love to win this book and patterns ... thanks so much ... love your skirt ... darlene

Rebecca Grace said...

Two AWESOME online sources for knits as well as other high quality garment fabrics are: www.EmmaOneSock.com and www.GorgeousFabrics.com. They are like the garment fabric equivalent of your favorite online quilt shop. Ann of Gorgeous Fabrics also has a wonderful blog and lots of excellent tutorials and video posts about garment construction, knits, pressing during construction, etc.

Rebecca Grace said...

Oh, and the SCARIEST sewing project I've ever done? That would be the LEDERHOSEN costume I finished last Monday, just in time for the first dress rehearsal of the school's Willy Wonka musical. I don't have much clothes sewing experience and had never made shorts OR pants before, just dresses or skirts, and I had no pattern. I must have been possessed by evil aliens when the words "I can do it" came out of my mouth!! Thank God it's FINISHED!

cse84663 said...

My very first smocking-heirloom project. Some of my first ones are not good but I've improved!!! It's still nerve wracking to sew for others, always worried something will go wrong, or they won't like it.

aussiequilter said...

just found your blog-lovely and I will definately be keeping up with it. My scariest project was a fully lined chiffon dress with the rolled hem having fishing line threaded through it.Yikes !!!! Your skirt turned oit so lovely and well done. cheers Teri) who is only just falling back in love with garment sewing.been quilting for too long )

Katy Cameron said...

Well done! I have, thus far, chickened out on sewing knits with my overlocker. Actually I have chickened out of knits all together, although I have a lovely collection of them...

Elsie said...

The scariest thing I ever sewed was a prom dress for myself when I was a beginning sewer. I wore it even though it was far from perfect. :)

Autum said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Autum said...

I love the drape of your skirt. It looks comfy but also really cute. I have sewn a few things with knit fabric and like you said, it was much easier than I anticipated.
I think I have a tie for my scariest sewing project. One was a a success the other not so much.
The first was making 25 ten foot long cushions for church pews. Yikes! I thought I'd never be done.
The other was an outfit for my best friend's daughter to wear for judges interview in the teen miss NC pageant. It got nixed by her pageant coach. Kind of broke my confidence a bit. I have since sworn off sewing clothes for anyone other than my grand daughter or myself.

Laura said...

Wow, my comment sounds super lame after some of those - your own wedding dress?!? Mine was my Amy Butler yoga bag. First project ever and required sewing in a small circle base. It was actually pretty tricky, especially for a first timer! :)

Sewing Sue said...

Talk about scary sewing, I cut up a wedding dress to make a baby's christening gown. The actual sewing was not as scary as the first cut into that dress. Good job on the serging! Another good hemming technique on soft knits is a single fold of about an inch and sew with a double needle on the sewing machine. Should be easy after a rolled hem!

Ginger said...

The scarriest was probably altering a bride's maid dress to fit my very very pregnant self. But I did it and it worked.

ginger c at gmail dot com

Donna said...

I use to sew for a ballet studio and had to make a costume out of the stretchiest knit I had ever seen.

Vicki said...

It looks great, Amy! My biggest challenge with sewing clothing is making things to fit myself the way I like.

Ellee said...

The scariest sewing project I ever had was sewing 3 flower girl dresses without having the opportunity to meet the girls and take their measurements myself. I was given the some basic measurements except height. Then the lady told me to just make them all size 6 without any adjustments even though one girl clearly measured smaller. The lady never let me know if they fit right or not. It was like flying blind. -- soparkaveataoldotcom

Susie at ProsperityStuff said...

Sewing with Nancy! Thanks for such a fun giveaway! The scariest sewing project I've ever tackled? Probably the times I made flower-girl dresses for my girls ... two or three at a time, for three different weddings. Not harder than regular sewing, except for the shininess of the fabric, and the extra frilly-beady-flowery embellishments, and the fact that I was making multiple little dresses at once.

helenkosings said...

I've been enjoying the blog tour - I'm especially happy with your post since you admitted that you were nervous AND you actually put yer finished garment on your body and photographed it! Good job all around. :)

Rebecca Naab said...

My scariest project is a winter coat that I started last year... It's still not done. I put it on hold until my skills improved, but I think I'm ready to tackle it again (just in time for summer...).

jb said...

I really like that you chose the skirt. I haven't seen that one made up and so wanted to. I am new to your blog. Love it. :)
jb

Malia said...

The scariest thing I've ever sewn is a dress that I'm currently working on for my daughter that has a taffeta, self-lined bolero jacket. Did you know that taffeta melts?? I know that now. :( Luckily I made that discovery on a piece of the lining, so it doesn't show on the outside. Plus, I found easing and stitching the lining to the seam inside the sleeve to be quite a pain. I felt more relief finishing that little jacket than I've felt about anything in a long time. It felt like almost as big an accomplishment as giving birth...

Thanks for the giveaway-- I'm so anxious to try my hand at knits! (Hopefully they don't melt...)

Malia said...

Oh, shoot. I didn't leave my email in my comment. It's malia(at)senecariver(dot)com. Sorry!

Ronda Lynn said...

Loved the rolled hem on SWN knits, been wanting to try that! rondahdgt@gmail.com

Cookie said...

I'm about to start a silk pajama project and it's so nerve-wracking that I just keep putting it off until later haha. It'll happen someday soon, and I'll have the cutest romper to sleep in, but until then...

Marcia R said...

Congrats, Amy! Nice job. I haven't crossed over into the world of sergers and sewing with knits...yet. Oh and I love the blue toe-nail polish - right up my alley!

Nona said...

Thanks for the opportunity. Your skirt turned out great. The hardest thing I made recently was some window treatments for a friend made from a decorative throw. Wow, what a nightmare, but they turned out great. Hopefully I learned a lesson.

Shayla Sharp said...

Your skirt turned out great! A one hour skirt is exactly what I need to have.

Sarcastic Quilter said...

Well, like you, it's serger sewing and I haven't yet tackled it. It's a knit shirt! It's sitting, waiting, staring at me. Love your skirt

knithappy said...

The scariest project I've sewn is a pluto costume for a friend's grandson. I had no pattern and I made it out of this amazingly soft fake fur that was a huge nightmare. The fuzz was everywhere (including up the nose). I had to continually vacuum over and over again. LOL. I haven't touched fur since. Thanks for your inspiration. The skirt looks great. I just might give it a go. Thanks, knithappy

brenda90159 said...

I think the hardest thing I have tried to sew is doll clothes. Although they are small that seems to be the more difficult part trying to get all the small pieces together correctly and to not lose the pieces. LOL love the way the skirt looks.

Patty Sack said...

I think you did a great job and I like the color!

jbeitz said...

I love to wear skirts in the summer because they always look better than shorts. Knits are always comfortable. A great combination, a knit skirt.

Shannon said...

My scariest sewing project... the wedding dress alterations and bustling with the price tag still hanging on dress? Or maybe the six bridesmaid dresses, all different designs, and wedding dress alterations that I did for my best friend in 8 days. (after all, she had to be happy when I was done...)

Emily C said...

Great job on the skirt. Selfies are pretty common these days, esp. if you use facebook, so I don't mind and neither should you. ;)

Tammie B said...

Very cute skirt!

Sara de Albornoz Domínguez said...

Thanks for the giveaway! I love your skirt, well done!
saruqa at gmail dot com

Mosewz said...

thanks for showing the skirt on, it wasn't doing it for me on the hanger and now I really like it. It looks good on you!

Carla G said...

Love your skirt! :)
I just recently finished a hooded lined raincoat for my son. I couldn't find a pattern so I just took a basic unlined jacket pattern & cut out every piece 2x's and put it together as I went. It was a challenge and I really had to think it through on how to put the hoods together. But it actually worked! And now I know I can do challenging projects. :)

Tina Jeo said...

Hope it's not too late. Would love to win!

Unknown said...

Nicely done!

HIcraftsy said...

Great knit project - it looks beautiful on you!

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