Lesson One: Introduction
Sewing since she was 10 years old, Meg McElwee has since gone on to create her own pattern line and two successful sewing books called “Sew Liberated” and “Growing Up Sew Liberated”. She has a degree in young childhood development which has led her to believe that the body – especially children’s bodies – should be able to move naturally and not be restricted by clothing.
Lesson Two: Fabric Primer
Woven fabrics have a warp and weft thread to provide structure. Knits instead have vertical “wales” that look like loops or rows. Meg explains the differences between knit and woven fabrics, provided clear examples on completed garments.
Meg highlights just some of the types of knits that you are most likely to come across whilst shopping, such as jersey and interlock. Just like regular fabric, knits can vary in construction materials; the most common being cotton, polyester and silk.
If you aren’t sure what kind of knit to use for your first project, Meg suggests a heavier weight; it should be easier to handle in most sewing machines.
Lesson Three: Supplies
Meg begins by explaining that you don’t need a serger by providing examples of garments finished by traditional sewing machines.
Meg suggests the following basics in order to sew with knits:
- A sewing machine with an adjustable width (so can sew a zigzag stitch),
- Stretch needles (or ballpoint needle),
- A walking presser foot,
- Sewing shears or rotary cutter,
- Ballpoint pins, and more.
Option supplies include:
- Maxi lock thread (elastic thread),
- PerfectSew Wash-away Fabric Stabiliser,
- Lite Steam-A-Seam2, and more.
This lesson also covers the types of stitches that you will most likely use when sewing with knits.
Lesson Four: Starting the Fleece Hoodie
Meg starts the lesson by showing certain features of the provided patterns, such as how to determine your size. She then proceeds to trace the paper pattern out onto tracing paper.
Meg demonstrates how to find the grain-line on knit fabric, prior to tracing the pattern pieces out onto the fleeces.
Lesson Five: Sewing the Fleece Hoodie
Meg covers all the necessary steps on how to sew the fleece hoodie, including many techniques and tips such as:
- which type of stitch to use when sewing with knits,
- how to press the seams, and
- how to set-in sleeves.
Lesson Six: Scoop Neck T-Shirt
Just like the last lesson, Meg covers each step required to construct the scoop neck t-shirt, including attaching a very simple collar to the t-shirt.
She also covers tips such as:
- how to stabilise seams with elastic tape.
Lesson Seven: V Neck T Shirt
This lesson starts with the shirt already constructed, with only the V neck collar band and hems to be completed. Meg demonstrates in this lesson how to join the V neck collar piece to the cut V on the bodice, before top-stitching in place. Finally she shows you how to calculate the width and length of a hem band, before joining it with the bodice.
Lesson Eight: Yoga Shorts
Meg walks you through all the steps on constructing your yoga shorts, including a pocket and a wide waistband.
She covers tips such as:
- how to sew a strong crotch seam.
- how to stabilise the pockets with elastic tape,
- how to ensure the pocket openings have stretch.
Lesson Nine: Surplice Dress
The final pattern for Sewing With Knits class is a deep V neck empire waist dress. By now you would have learnt all the techniques for working with knit fabrics, so the class is designed as a way to practice the techniques with guidance.
Lesson Ten: Bonus Cloth Dyeing
If you have always been interested in dyeing your own cloth, but haven’t got any idea where to start, then Meg gives you a very nice tutorial on how to do this.
Despite popular belief, you don’t need a serger to sew knit fabrics. Meg McElwee demonstrates all steps on a traditional sewing machine for those of us who can’t afford to spend the extra dollars for that serger.
Meg does tend to say “umm” a lot; this can be quite distracting.
Whilst not hard to do yourself, it would be nice to see the documentation include metric measurements for things such as sizing charts and the fabric dying instructions.
As with all the patterns in this class, no instructions are provided, instead they have assumed you will follow along with the video.
When sewing with woven fabric, it is common practice to baste curved edges to reduce stretch. Meg does not baste any of her raw seams – nor does she mention this until lesson eight; it would have been a very helpful tip for beginner sewers (or anyone concerned about stretch) and should have been mentioned in lesson one.
- Supplies and resources PDF that covers all the tools you will need for this class.
- Hoodie knit pattern,
- Skirt knit pattern,
- Surplice dress pattern,
- T-Shirt knit pattern, and
- Yoga shorts and pants pattern.
Sewing with Knits by Meg McElwee isn’t as long or in-depth as other Craftsy classes, justified since it is nearly 1/2 the price of other classes. None-the-less, Sewing with Knits does what it claims: teaches you the basics with sewing with knit fabrics. Since not all of us can afford sergers – they can be quite expensive – Meg demonstrates how to sew all the steps on a standard sewing machine. Given the “free” five patterns and the details step-by-step video instructions to produce some very functional garments that are a wardrobe staple.
A similarly priced class that teaches you to sew with knits is The Perfect Wrap Dress by Dyanne Marte.