Thursday, March 10, 2016

Knit Pillowcase Tutorial

If you are part of almost any Facebook sewing community, you know that knits are pretty much threatening to take over the sewing world. If you are used to working with woven fabrics, knits can be a bit intimidating. They stretch out, the may not be friendly with a universal needle and the edges of many knits tend to curl up. But, knits tend to be so much more practical when sewing clothing. You don't have to iron them as much and they are really comfortable! Today, I am going to share with you the PERFECT beginner knit project!

That's right! A pillowcase made from knit fabric. You can practice cutting, sewing straight lines and hemming, using a very reasonable amount of fabric and not have to worry about your item fitting in the end! It's perfect!!

And even better, NO SERGER REQUIRED!! Yes! We are sewing this on a regular sewing machine!

I am using this gorgeous Stenzo jersey from Mabel Madison.
(They were super sweet and are sponsoring this post.) You will need 1 yard if you don't mind dealing with curling edges, 1.5 yards if you don't want to mess with them.

Supplies needed:
1-1.5 yards of knit fabric
rotary cutter and quilters ruler and mat, or scissors
ballpoint needle
hem tape (optional)
basic sewing supplies

To make cutting such a large piece more manageable, fold your fabric matching up the salvage sides.

We are going to cut a rectangle measuring 41" x 33.5". 

First, we are going to cut the 33.5" length. Measure down from the folded edge, 20.5" and then cut across the bottom. Now, since we are working with only 1 yard of fabric, we need to deal with the curling edges before we can cut the other ends. (I like to cut the short end first to make the fabric a more manageable size isn't of dealing with ironing the entire cut ends.)

To help keep the fabric laying flat, we are going to lightly starch the curls. I prefer Magic Sizing. It gives the fabric some body, but doesn't make it really stiff.

Uncurl the edge with your finger and spray the Magic Sizing onto the fabric and then iron with as hot of an iron as the fabric allows. 

I have found that the curl stays flatter if I allow my fabric to cool before moving it.

Now refold your fabric so it is right sides together, line up the edge we just cut, and cut the curled edges so that the fabric measures 33.5" across. 

Pin along one short edge and the long edge. Now ,sew together using a 1/2" seam allowance. Be sure you changed out to a ballpoint needle and use a longer stitch length since we are working with knits, (I prefer a 3.2). You can use a straight stitch since this seam won't been stretched out.

A tip for knit sewing is to not start your seam at the very edge of your fabric. Start 1/2"- 3/4" in from the edge to keep your machine from pushing the fabric into the feed dogs.

Sew forward a couple of stitches, then backstitch to get 1/4" from the edge and then go forward again.
Sew both pinned sides. When you get to the corner, drop your needle into your fabric and then pivot your fabric to create a nice corner. Don't worry about finishing the raw edge. Knit doesn't fray.

Time to hem! Fold the raw edge to the wrong side 5/8" and press. You can use hem tape here to keep your hem in place.

(pressing the seam here flat gives you a professional result)

Now fold the hem over 3" to the wrong side and press.

Pin hem into place from the right side.

Topstitch hem into place. Again, you can use a straight stitch since this doesn't need to stretch.
Don't pull or push your fabric, let the machine do the work. If you have a walking foot, it is useful in keeping your fabric from shifting around, but not a deal breaker for sewing knit if you don't have one.

To give yourself a straight guide, place a strip of painters tape on the bed of your machine and line up the folded edge of the pillow case with it while you topstitch.
The hem measures 3", to make certain I catch the folded edge, I placed the edge of the hem along the outer edge of my presser foot and then line the tape up with the edge of the pillow case.

If your hem is a bit wavy, press it and give it a good shot of steam to help it lay flat.

That's it! You sewed with knit!! Was it as scary as you thought?

As you can see, the hem is nice and thick so you only see the right side of the fabric.

Now, go sew up a nice, cozy pillow case to cuddle up with at night!

Special thanks to Mabel Madison for providing me with the fabric for this post!

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