Sewing with Birch organic knits

knit yoga pants and t-shirt 1

I usually find knit fabrics to be too thin and flimsy, not really good quality and, as a result, difficult to work with.  The Birch organic knits, however, are entirely different.  These knits are thick and plush, still with a lot of stretch and give, but they feel so nice, and I love the color palette!

I bought two yards of Teal and one yard of Sky and sewed up a comfy pair of yoga pants and a t-shirt to lounge around in this summer.  The yoga pants pattern is here, and it’s incredibly easy – although I have to say, the sizing seems WAY off.  I fell somewhere between a large and extra-large, so I went with extra-large, figuring that I could size it down as I went . . . which I definitely needed to do!  I must have re-stitched the seams three times, each time cutting out multiple inches.  In the end, I had to reduce the entire piece substantially, and especially the legs – even with a wide-legged look, the way I originally cut it out would have been ridiculous.  So, I just kept sewing, trying it on, pinning in a new seam, re-sewing, re-trying it on, etc.  In the end, I’m pretty happy with the fit – there’s still a lot of fabric around the upper thighs, but then, they’re yoga pants – they’re supposed to have a lot of flow :)

knit yoga pants and t-shirt 2

One note – I used metal grommets for the waist ties, and I like the look, but keep in mind that when you cut a hole in knit fabric, it will GROW – on the first hole I cut, even though it seemed really small, by the time I inserted the grommet, the edges of the hole were showing outside the edges of the grommet – so, just poke a very small hole in the knit and wedge the grommet in, that way you’ll keep from growing the hole beyond the borders of the grommet.

I had a little more difficulty with the t-shirt, largely due to the neckline.  I didn’t have a pattern, so I cut the shape from one of my current tees, and cut the neckline high (as it would be for the back).  Then, you need to trim down the neckline a little in the front, so that it’s not so high on your neck.  Somehow, even when I was really careful trimming it only a little bit (after trying it on and marking with pins how low I wanted it to go in front), it still kind of bags and gaps once I had the edge hemmed.  I even tried sewing the shoulder seams in closer to compensate, and that helped, but not completely.  I’m not sure why I can’t get the neckline to lay flat – it must be something about the shape I’ve cut it in, but heck if I can figure it out!

Otherwise, the t-shirt was easy – I just cut out a front and back, sewed it together at the shoulder seams, then the side seams, then hemmed the neckline, sleeves, and bottom.  The sleeves are part of the front and back (that is, no separate sleeves), and there’s no yoke or facing, which makes it as easy as sewing a pair of pants – just a front and a back.

knit yoga pants and t-shirt 3

I always feel slightly dissatisfied with my sewn wardrobe – for some reason, I can never get the fit to look just right, or maybe it’s that I can never get the piece to look really smooth and finished.  You’d think it wouldn’t be that way – since I can custom-size the clothing piece as a go – but I always end up feeling like whatever I sew just isn’t that flattering on me.  I love the idea of a largely handmade wardrobe, but I need to first get past feeling like the FOs aren’t attractive or flattering in fit and style.

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One comment on “Sewing with Birch organic knits

  1. I started sewing when I was in elementary school and sewed a lot of my own clothes through early 20s. And then I just quit because I was never happy with the result. I think it was a combination of cutting corners too much, not good enough quality fabric/not knowing the properties of fabric/which fabric to use, and fit. I just came back to sewing this last year. I’m more mature and cut corners less; I take my time to get the finished product right. I think good quality fabric is more easily available to the home sewer (although this requires a bit of ‘leg’ work to source). And I’ve spent a lot of time on fit. I took a couple Craftsy courses. My favorite was the Suzy Furrer course on making a sloper, and I’ve purchased the sleeve one but haven’t had the time yet to do it. I’ve made a half dozen knit shirts that fit really well, and I’ve made two dresses (just finishing my third today) that I’m really happy with.

    Separately, I finished a shawl with the green cashmere sock yarn you forwarded to me awhile back. It’s here:
    http://ravel.me/Soposie/l4pxw (I also made a Paloma after seeing yours.) I really love the fabric, nice yarn!

    Anyway, I empathize! That outfit looks comfortable, and hopefully you’ll enjoy it!

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