I’ve got a great new project to share with you today! This Girls Knit Tunic Tutorial is perfect to pair with leggings and you can customize the length so it is perfect for school.
Looking for more free patterns? Be sure to check out my free patterns and tutorials page here.)
Every time I look at this adorable striped knit fabric, the colors make me think of rainbow sherbet. (I bought it here.)
I’ve been throwing around different ideas for the fabric, but wanted to make sure whatever I made could be worn to school. Once I made this knit dress for myself, I knew a tunic top in this style was perfect for the fabric. (The tunic top is practically the same as the dress, just w/out the neck and sleeve binding.)
Even though this tunic top/dress is made with knit fabric, it is super simple to put together. You can sew successfully on knit fabric without a serger. All you really need is a ball point needle. In fact, I almost prefer sewing on knits since so much time is saved by not having to finish the seams. (and I definitely prefer wearing knits…)
- Always use a ball point needle. A ball point needle has a rounded tip and allows the needle to move in between the thread fibers instead of piercing the thread fibers. (Which will cause holes in the fabric.)
- When sewing seams that need to stretch, be sure to use either a narrow zig zag stitch- set at a medium stitch length, or many newer machines have additional stretch stitches you can use. (Refer to your manual to find out which ones your machine does.)
- It helps to loosen the needle thread tension just a tiny bit. (experiment on scraps til you find what works best on your fabric.)
- For seams that don’t need to stretch (like side seams) a regular straight stitch is fine. To keep the fabric from stretching when you sew, you can try a slightly longer stitch length and loosening the needle thread tension just a tiny bit. ALWAYS do a few practice stitches on the fabric you will be using and then make any adjustments needed.
- If you are working on a fabric that keeps curling, use fabric starch and your iron to flatten out the fabric. This technique is helpful on all knits as the starch makes it less stretchy and moves through the machine smoother.
- For hemming on knits, you have a few choices: 1. Leave the edge raw. This looks fine on casual garments. 2. Add a bound edge. (You can see examples of how adding a bound hem works here and here.) 3. Use a walking foot and hem the edge with either a zig zag or other stretch stitch or using a twin needle. (The walking foot helps feed the material through the machine with less stretching.)
- Remember to try a slightly longer stitch length and to loosen the needle thread tension just a tiny bit!
- If your fabric is getting sucked into the machine or is still stretching, you can place a piece of thin tissue paper between the fabric and bottom feed dogs. After you are done sewing, you can gently tear the tissue paper away.
For this particular project, I folded the sleeve, neck and bottom edge over and used my twin needle to sew the hem. I love using a twin needle and do suggest it for hemming knits. It creates a very stretchy stitch and looks most like a professional cover-stitched hem.
Many new machines come with a twin needle, but you need to make sure it is a ball point twin needle before using it on your knit projects. If the needle is not labeled, I would assume it is NOT ball point, since these can be more expensive.
If you don’t have twin needle, here is a link to the one I use: Schmetz Stretch Twin Needles – Size 4.0 75/11. You can order it today and be using it by the end of the week!
I have left many a sleeve edge or bottom hem raw and just allowed the edges to curl up. Other times I have added binding to the to the sleeve or bottom hem if I felt the item needed “dressing up”. So choose whichever method works best for you.
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