Welcome to week 1 of the Linden Sweatshirt Sew Along! If you’ve peeked inside our latest issue of Sew News or watched the video, you know I’m pretty obsessed with this pattern. I’ve made 6 (six!!) and I’m still finding inspiration to make more. Today, we’ll cover fabric options and tools. There’s still time to grab the pattern and join us! Or read about ideas for creative sweatshirt customization!
First up, tools. Please, please don’t me like me and think you have to have a serger before you make anything with knit fabric. I started with a sewing machine and, honestly, it’s still my preferred method for knit sewing – I feel like I have much more control. If you’re new to sewing knits, start with a stable mediumweight knit, nothing too bulky!, and practice with a few specialty stitches on your machine. My go-to is the triple stitch.
Other tools that will make your life easier when it comes to knits:
Rotary cutter and cutting mat – You’re less likely to get warped, uneven pattern pieces if you cut them while flat.
Pattern weights – I’ve pinned my fair share of paper pattern pieces to knit fabrics but pattern weights are much more efficient. Pins can also cause the fabric to gather and stretch and pull in odd ways.
Ballpoint sewing machine needle – This is what you want when sewing any kind of knit fabric. You might also consider a twin needle for hems, but that’s not a must-have.
Now the fun stuff: let’s talk fabrics. As luck would have it, it’s one of my favorite topics. Recommended fabrics for the Linden include mediumweight knits with a minimum of 20% stretch – so think French terry, sweatshirt fabric (duh!), heavier knits. If you’re making the t-shirt, you have even more options. I love raglan sleeves for color blocking, fabric mixing, scrap busting and even some clever repurposing.
Repurposed fabric is great in lots of ways. I particularly like it for doing fit checks – or for wearable muslins. Here’s a list of creative repurposing options that I’ve tried:
- Maternity clothes
- Clothes that no longer fit
- Garments that are worn in places (that you can work around)
- Kids clothing that’s been outgrown
- Thrift store shirts of all shapes and sizes and prints and unique textures
And if you get to the end of the list on all your sewing plans (hahaha!), don’t forget to refashion your past memades that aren’t getting worn.
Other Knits & Stretch Fabrics
Once you’re sure on the fit, think outside the box for sweatshirts that pop with:
- Stretch sequins
- Stretch velvet
- Tightly woven sweater knits
- Textured doubleknits
- Sport-weight and performance knits
- Thermal knits
It’s relatively easy to mix fabrics with a pattern like this, especially if you keep the fabrics similar in weight and stretch percentage. I would recommend doing a little testing first, to see how the fabric stitch together – does one stretch more than the other? – and how the weights work together. For example, if the neckband fabric is might lighter in weight and stretchier than the body fabric, it won’t pull the neckline in the way the pattern intends. If the sleeves are stretchy and light and the body fabric is more stable and heavy, chances are the body will pull down on the sleeves and hang low, causing sleeve wings and all kinds of weirdness. And yes, totally speaking from experience here!
You know, wovens maybe?!? I’ve heard tell that this pattern can work in wovens, but I would suggest experimenting first, particularly at the neckline, and sizing up at least two sizes. One thing I’ve been interested to try is mixing a stable knit with a woven for this pattern – using the knit for the neck and sleeve bands and maybe the sleeves? I feel another Linden coming on!
My Fabric Picks
Since I’m onto fall sewing, I’m planning a version A. I’ve had this mystery textured knit in my stash for a while and I think I’m finally ready to use it. I’m going to use the textured knit for the body, with black contrast sleeves and a black neckband. I’m undecided on the sleeve length and the hemband…I think I’ll see how things shape up as we take some next steps. What about you?