Author Topic: Using a Knit instead of a Woven fabric  (Read 6326 times)

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Offline BetsyV

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Using a Knit instead of a Woven fabric
« on: August 10, 2008, 07:38:34 PM »
On the SIPP thread, Stashpanache asked:

You mentioned redrawing your dress pattern to sew it in a knit fabric as it called for woven.  Are there any general rules about the adjustments needed in a pattern to sew something in knit when the pattern was drawn for woven fabrics?  Is there a thread that anybody can think of or a place to send me on SG where I can read about this?  I actually encounter this on a regular basis.  Also, what do you do about interfacings and facings etc for knit?  I bet this has already been discussed?
TIA, Stash

I have two main guidelines to offer.
        First: remove all or most the wearing ease from the pattern.
This is pretty simple if the multi-sized pattern includes the finished circumferences at bust/waist/hips for the sizes included. If not, simply flat measure the pattern at those key points (and any others that might be an issue for you). I tend to leave an 1" ease at the hipline, my largest measurement. If I need to go beyond the largest or inside the smallest size line, I use the pivot and slide method so the curves maintain their integrity. I always trace off my patterns anyway, in case I completely foul up any fitting adjustments. That way the original can be reused easily, no harm, no foul.
        Second: If any of the pattern pieces are supposed to be cut on the bias, consider cutting them on the straight of grain.
The knit will remain fluid on the straight of grain, where a woven might not. It will also tend to drag a skirt down if cut on the bias.

The amount of stretch in the knit can make a huge difference. Less stretch, keep some wearing ease; More stretch, consider going even smaller than your measurements (negative ease).

Facings: Think about binding the edge instead of using a facing.

Interfacing: Lightweight, fusible knit or tricot. Probably not necessary if you replace the facings with bindings.

Closures: You might not need that 22" center back zipper, or any zipper at all. Think about how the garment is going to go on and how using a knit will make that process easier. The dress I just finished had an open neckline and a v-back. I simply eliminated the zipper, and the CB seam in the back bodice. I left the CB seam in the skirt pieces because they were angled to create an A-line effect.

I hope more experienced sewers add more tips to this very short list. I have redrawn only 2 dress patterns to use with knits instead of wovens. Both patterns were simple and did not have facings, nor did they require interfacing. I did use strips of a lightweight knit fusible along the seam where I inserted an invisible zipper in the first dress I made.

Offline lyra

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Re: Using a Knit instead of a Woven fabric
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2008, 02:12:40 PM »
I've never done a dress, but I have changed several skirts from woven to knit.  I cheat... I often just cut out the pieces, then baste the sideseams and try it on. I pinch out the extra in the seams, and pin about where I think the new seam should be. Then I baste there, and if it works, stitch it down.
The amount you need to take out seems to vary quite a lot with the stretch of the knit and the style.

Offline sdBev

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Re: Using a Knit instead of a Woven fabric
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2008, 08:31:26 PM »

  Great information. So glad you shared.

My usual is to fold out a small pleat from top to bottom of the pattern.  I start with a 1/4 inch fold, which takes about 1/2 inch out.  Then I adjust the rest at the side seams like Lyra.  I haven't done this very much and I'm amazed that the results have been satisfactory.  I've had several patterns that I wanted to use knits with but nearly always shy-away and use a different pattern.

I'm so glad you started this topic.  Hope many others will share their secrets and experiences.
Always hopeful the next pant pattern will be perfect.

Gave up on Win10.  Using an Android again.  So much better.

Offline Caru

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Re: Using a Knit instead of a Woven fabric
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2008, 03:32:28 PM »
Thanks for these suggestions!  I have a great princess seam dress pattern, simple lines but I love it's V-neck, cross-over bodice overlay and slightly A-line flared skirt.  It's an oldie so I've just redrafted it to the (larger, sigh) size I am now and would like to use a drapey knit this time round. 


Offline broderie

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using knit fabric instead of bias cut woven?
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2009, 11:58:38 PM »
I have a new pattern that is designed for woven cut on the bias, could I substitute knit on grain for that?

"The world is but a canvas to the imagination.  Henry David Thoreau

Offline Liana

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Re: using knit fabric instead of bias cut woven?
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2009, 01:25:06 AM »
Hi Broderie,

I'm going to merge your topic into another that addresses your question, although not necessarily on the bias.  I think it may be helpful though.

Since all knits have different properties, I'm sure there are some that would substitute very nicely, but you're going to just have to try it, I think.   :)

You may already know that this board has lots of neat features that you will want to try.  If you have any questions or need help with anything, just ask the Administrators or Moderators.

There are a couple of threads that may be of interest to you as you look around the site, and which can truly answer almost any question about how to post things here, including photos and avatars and signature links.

The "Are You New, Please Read This Thread First" is a good place to start, and

Forum Decorum & FAQ is Answers Central, where you'll find each post titled with its own subject, so it's easy to find exactly what you are looking for.  :)

And there's the ever-popular Sandbox where you can try out all the features, and which is a very easy place to get help or have questions answered when you can't quite get it from the FAQ.

There's also a very good Search feature, and you'll get the best results if you use the Advanced Search button.

Again, welcome, and it's great to have you here!  :)


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