Hello everyone! My name is Kelle and I usually blog at justsewsomething.com. This week I had the opportunity to sew some of the new fabrics in the shop, the blush crochet sweater knit and denim crochet sweater knit. These fabrics are made of very small crochet loops, which makes for a lovely texture (and I love textured fabrics of all types), but also presents a challenge. Mainly, once cut, the loops have a tendency to come apart and unravel.
But never fear! After sewing not one, but two garments from this fabric, I came up with a few tips to make your sewing experience the best it can be.
You should always wash fabric before sewing, but the crochet type knit and all other open weave sweater knits will unravel in the wash. To prevent this, simply serge or zigzag all cut edges BEFORE putting in the washing machine.
This fabric likes to leave a trace, in the form of lint. To limit transfer, I would suggest having a clean work surface and be prepared to vacuum and/or lint brush surfaces immediately after cutting.
I would also highly recommend removing the selvedge edge. This step is recommended for all fabrics, but on this knit, the fabric is especially curled and warped on the edges. In fact, cutting too close to the edges on this fabric can distort the print, which is a problem if you are trying to print match your project (and if you know me, I always am).
You should always avoid stretching knits when cutting. This fabric needs a little extra care when setting weights on top as it distorts quite easily. Taking a little extra time to lay out the fabric when matching a print will serve you well!
The best way I found to prevent unraveling is to simply cut patterns with an increased seam allowance. For example, both patterns I used have a seam allowance of 1/4 inch, which frays quickly with the open weave nature of this fabric. So instead, I laid down my pattern pieces on the fabric as usual and cut an extra 1/4 inch everywhere there would be a seam. When sewing, I simply removed 1/2 inch for seam allowance instead of 1/4 inch.
During construction, gently handle any cut edges. For extra protection, you can finish all raw edge with a serger or zigzag before sewing. I didn’t go quite this far, but rather chose to only stay stitch key areas of my garment pieces, mainly the curved areas. A stay stitch is a basting stitch sewn around curves to prevent stretching and distortion of the fabric. It is typically sewn within the seam allowance. I stay stitched using a 3/8 inch seam allowance around the neck openings and sleeve openings before sewing.
Clips are often recommended for sweater knits. I still prefer to use pins so I have discovered if I “double weave” them (as the right pin in the picture) through sweater knit it helps hold them in.
if you do get a run, don’t panic. It is possible to sew the hole shut. I took a hand needle and collected all the loose strands and loops and put in several stitches to sew them together in a bundle. Tug on it a little to make sure you’ve caught them all. This will prevent unraveling, but is not the smoothest fix so prevention is key.
Patterns used are Halla Soho Top (on sale through Dec 1 for 40% off with the code THANKS) and the Dinkytown Beanie (free with code in the Toby K Patterns Facebook Group) for the blush crochet knit and the George and Ginger Rulo Dress (affiliate link) for the denim crochet knit.