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Six months ago my knowledge of fabrics was so limited that all I knew was 100% cotton quilting fabric. Everything else was lumped into this Other category. I had basically only ever sewn quilting cotton, using only a straight and zigzag stitch, and using only the standard sewing needles that came with my sewing machine (like 13 years ago). Honestly, I had only replaced my sewing machine needle like twice, always used the same standard foot that came on my sewing machine, and had no idea that there were different kinds of thread for different things. I had actually attempted to sew clothing items before, but never actually finished anything wearable.
I have two daughters, a five year old and a two year old. They are both girls, so the two year old has inherited all of the five year old’s old clothes, including an adorable pair of strawberry print pajama pants that my five year old apparently wanted back even though they were four sizes too small. So I suggested we look for some strawberry pajamas, but then could not find any in her size. I’d been slowly learning about knit fabrics, and been wanting to try sewing knits ever since I first came across Jam Clothing Company. Jam Clothing Company makes absolutely adorable upcycled tshirt dresses. They mix and match patterns in a way that only Clarissa Explains it All, Punky Brewster, and my five year old can really pull off. Seriously, my daughter will wear two different legwarmers, two different armwarmers, and a mismatched top and pants. She’s been picking out her clothes since she was two, and I tend to encourage that sort of creativity, so I thought she would really dig one of these upcycled dresses. And while I love to support other artists, I really love to learn new things and try to make things myself. So I decided that I would try to learn to sew knits. The strawberry pants incident, plus watching a few youtube videos, made me think that maybe I should start there. So I searched for strawberry knit fabric online and was really struggling. One of my recent obsessions was the website Spoonflower, a custom fabric site where you can upload your own images and have them printed on fabric. It’s a local business for me as well, so I really wanted to check them out. When I searched for strawberry fabric, I came across this absolutely adorable print from kristinnohe.
I knew this was the one and my daughter loved it, but again, I knew nothing about fabrics so I ordered Performance Knit. When it arrived I was thrilled with the vibrancy of color, and the color stayed perfectly through the wash, and it was quite easy to sew. I realized though why it was called Performance Knit, though, because it feels like workout fabric. It makes for silky pjs, but it is definitely not the tshirt kind of knit fabric I was thinking of. I would definitely purchase it again from Spoonflower because it prints amazingly and is incredibly soft, but I would probably not use it for pajamas for my kids again. I decided to take a pair of new pajamas I had bought for her to make a pattern from. This was a good idea and worked fine, except the pajamas were way too big. (Evidently there is a big difference between size 5 and size 6. Haha.) So… they still don’t quite fit. But she loves them, we roll them up, and there is plenty of room to grow.
I actually made these a few months ago now, and while the fabric has held up beautifully, my sewing has not. Since I made these I have learned that there are different types of needles for knit and woven fabrics, something that I will discuss in later posts. Lesson learned- use a jersey or stretch needle for stretch fabrics! But the good news is, I can totally cut these apart and sew them again and they’ll still fit.