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Friday, August 31, 2012

Working with Knitted Fabrics: Cutting Knit Fabric

Okay, I lied. Except maybe I didn't. Last week I said that I'd be knitting for a few weeks and so all my posts would be about knitting. But somewhere during the course of the week I set my knitting aside and picked up some knit fabric. I have a few projects on my plate, from gowns to cloaks to wedding gear requiring knit fabrics, so I decided to get back on track.

As a result, my tip this week involves working with knit fabrics. So, maybe I didn't lie last week. Knitting and knit fabrics are closely related, after all. Slight shift, but not by too much.

Anyway, one of the first things you do (though not THE first) is cut out your pattern pieces. But this can present a problem when using knit fabrics. Accuracy is of the upmost importance when cutting knits. When you're paying out your pattern (assuming you're using a commercial pattern), you'll want to follow the "with nap" instructions. Don't get creative. This layout is specifically designed for those fabrics that won't look the same if you hold them upside down. For example, velour catches the light different depending on the direction of the fabric. You certainly don't want your garment looking ... odd. Yes, odd is a good word. Odd and silly.

Once you have your fabric pieces laid out, make sure you use very sharp, burr-free scissors. Better yet, pick up a new rotary cutter blade to prevent snags, stretching, and bunching. You can stick with scissors, but only if they're very sharp. Practically new would be my suggestion.

As your cutting, don't stretch the fabric. Yes, I know holding the fabric taunt helps with accurate cutting, but that's only for woven fabrics. Knit fabrics don't get taunt. They stretch. And if you cut the stretched fabric you'll only end up with misshapen pattern pieces. So don't touch the fabric while you're cutting if at all possible.

Well, that's my tip for this week. Who knows what my tip for next week will be? If I'm still working with knits, it will probably be about knit fabrics. If not ... you'll have to tune in to find out.

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