Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Basic Black

I had a lovely internet-free interlude (aka major outage) of several days, courtesy of my service provider. It seems to be connected at the moment, so I’ll jump on and post an update.

I used my time wisely, sewing like mad and using up almost every inch of black knit fabric in my stash.
Long-sleeve wrap top

from this McCall’s wardrobe pattern.

closeup of the side gathers
The fabric is super-soft and stretchy rayon lycra. I had enough of the same rayon to make some very nice yoga pants using some old well-worn favorites as a pattern.

Need I mention how difficult it is to photograph black? I purposely overexposed everything to show the detail but now it all looks either dusty or shiny.  

I think this one is my new favorite - in a stretchy ribbed rayon/poly/lycra:

I created dolman sleeves out of necessity, because I wanted longer sleeves but only had about ¾ yard – not enough to cut separate sleeves.
The neckline looked quite dull so I added the little roll collar from a scrap and now I love it! No pattern for this one, but I’ll have to make one since I want to make more like it.
Finally a cotton-lycra shell
from a fun old 70s pattern.
Why sew a top like this when you can buy one for $5 or $10? I probably wouldn’t if I didn’t already have all these pieces of knit fabric. The simple cap-sleeve tee is perfect for using up small pieces – 2/3 to 3/4 yard of 60” knit. (Also, since I buy most of my knits for $1.99 or $2.99/yard, I’m still beating the price of a shirt at most stores.)

Yes, I am still managing without a serger!  I’m definitely not an expert in sewing knits, but I’m slowly picking up a few tricks that work for me:

·       Most of the knits I’ve sewn so far have been fine with a straight stitch and a slight stretching of the fabric as I sew. I don’t really have to pull very much on the fabric, since the presser foot actually stretches it somewhat.

·       For the extremely stretchy fabrics, like 4-way stretch knits, I do use a zigzag stitch, set at the narrowest width I can get, which is between the 0 and the 1 on my width dial. This provides some give but looks like a straight stitch unless you inspect it closely.

·       I’ve had better luck with the hems when I fuse a strip of very lightweight knit interfacing to the folded-under part before stitching. That way it doesn’t stretch way out of shape while hemming, but the finished hem has some give during wear.


As much as I would love to move on to the grays in my neutral basics, I have a backlog of utility sewing and some gifts that must be finished, so those are next on the list.
Are you sewing and crafting for the holidays?



  1. Missed you, thought perhaps you were away on another trip. Oh dear, internet withdrawal - painful. It would be for us, especially now the dark nights are here.

    Love all your black items. However much I admire bright colours I always end up in black myself. I like to think it's instantly stylish - your wrap top certainly hits high on the style counter.

    I've been doing some jewellery and knitting for xmas presents. Will post about them in time.

  2. Yes I am, Katrina. A few felted wool i-pad covers, a tote bag for a daughter in college, a baby quilt for a 1 year old granddaughter, and a pillowbook. I should post about that pillow book when I finish - like after Christmas since it's a gift for a daughter who I think reads my blog now and then and I'd hate to ruin the surprise....

    Thanks for the tips for sewing with knits. I agree with you - i really like the roll top neck on your ribbed piece.