Monday, September 19, 2016

Knit Knack

A lot of sewing has happen since the last time I posted.  I will start with the most recent activities since they are fresh in my mind. This past Saturday I gave a presentation “Using self-fabric to embellish knit garments” for my local ASG group.

  Awkward and unexciting name, but I couldn’t come up with a better one. Every year I volunteer to do a program presentation and I choose a topic that is something I want to learn about or explore, but that will appeal to the whole  group.  This is not always an easy task. The small ASG group I attend is called Fashion Focus, but of the 30 attendees maybe 6 regularly sew garments. A program on some  topics I would like to study, such as  armhole drafting, would probably not be well attended.  So where did my topic come from?  I was on Pinterest one day and saw a picture of a unique textured fabric.

I followed the link back to the picture source and found a post with lots of different knit embellishment techniques. The info was on one of the Russian internet blog sites. The text was in Russian but I was so interested I took the time to translate it with Google. The title  translated as Decorating Knitwear,  by Irinka Prosto. Thanks for sharing Irinka!

The techniques shown used strips, circles or random shape to add decorative trim and textures to knit wear. The techniques utilize some of the unique characteristics of knit fabrics,  non raveling, soft texture, and for some knits the tendency to roll up on cut edges. These embellishment applications are especially effective when the fabric for the trim is the same fabric as the garment. I showed  many examples of RTW  garments embellished in this way.



For my presentation samples I used T shirts. I bought two of the same T shirt on sale. I used one as the garment to be trimmed, and the other as the source of matching fabric for the trim.  Here are some samples I made using strips for embellishment.

Gathered strip trim
 The ruffle at bottom of the T shirt is made from a 2 inch strips attached by machine to the  bottom edge of  the T shirt. For the front embellishment I drew curves on the T shirt using a wash away marker.  I sewed down the middle of ½" wide strips following the guidelines, pushing pleats randomly under the pressure foot with a stylus. I added coordinating beads for more texture.

 The 2nd T shirt sample was embellished with strips that curled in on the sides and resembled cording. I drew guidelines on the garment where I wanted to apply the trim. I pushed the curled sides apart and stitched  each strip down the middle following the guidelines.


 The third sample was a T shirt trimmed in fabric flowers made from, you guessed it, strips and circles of fabric. I picked my favorite fabric flowers from the  wide variety found on the internet, made samples and shared them with the attendees.


 There are so many kinds of flowers you can make.  I was inspired by posts showing similar flower embellished garments by  Jane and  Sherril    The flower embellishment appealed to my audience. In fact there were requests for me to teach an ASG member mini class in flower making.  We will see. I still work full time, and I do not have a good ‘teacher temperament”. I was told “No, you cannot choose which students can attend the class.”  The  mini classes, being very inexpensive, can attract attendees that want a morning out for the social aspect, rather than the learning opportunity.

The top I wore while presenting the program was a knit and the embellishment was from self-fabric, however the application was a bit off topic for my presentation. I traced a favorite RTW top to get the front and back shapes.  The fabric was a rayon lycra stripe knit.  I cut circles out of the front in various sizes.  I cut corresponding circles from scrap fabric. I sewed the circle shapes into the holes  in the front using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, rotating the stripes slightly to create some visual interest.

And those circles break up the stripes in the tummy area. 

Then as an example of where you can really go with  knits and embellishment, I showed the group my recently completed Alabama Chanin corset top made from the instructions and pattern in the Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns book.

Gardening is such hard work1
Right now I am taking a break from sewing knits, waiting for the weather to cool and inspire me to sew wools and silks for fall.


  1. I'm always amazed at the time and effort that sewists put into Alabama Chanin garments especially since I've never seen a bad one yet. Love yours too! Also the class seems so interesting something that quilters and sewists could use. Glad to see you've been sewing!

  2. I would love to come to your talks. I would ESPECIALLY love a talk on armhole drafting.

  3. Wow...!! these are all so very pretty. I can tell a lot of work went into each one, even if they were for class samples. All these can be used by anyone.

  4. How clever you are! I am particularly fond of the striped Tee.

  5. Oh, Audrey, what a wonderful presentation and thanks so much for the virtual version. Love each idea (and plan to use them this year) but that Alabama Chanin tank is the bomb. Hmmmm, will you post next year's schedule because whatever you present would be wonderful....including this armholes.

  6. Beautiful examples! I can see why they crave more. I want to try some of these and thanks for the inspo.

  7. Gorgeous examples for knit embellishments. I presented several times for our ASG. Somewhat similar to your group, I think there is more preference for quilting and the like than fashion sewing. I am going to present to our group in February. I am going to present on sewing and social media. I think I want to showcase this blogpost as I know our group would be interested in something like this.

  8. Such creative and beautiful work!! Thanks for sharing your ideas.