Which Way DO Knit Strips Roll?
How To’s for trimming with knit strips was the subject of my column in Sew News
April/May 2018. When the editors accepted my proposal, I had no idea how much ADDITIONAL knowledge I would gain as I tested and tested and tested knit strips, grain, and rolling.
Which Way DO Knit Strips Roll?
I always assumed that cross-grain cut strips would be the best, as the most stretch is found cross-grain, but jerseys (single knits) curl towards the right side, exposing the wrong side – NOT pretty with a printed knit! See the fabric on top in the picture below. SEW….. for printed knits, lengthwise cut strips are the answer, since they curl to the wrong side of the fabric, exposing the right side. Understand here that the curl covers up the 'wrong' center part of the strip....it is the curl of the fabric that is visible.
Until I discovered that some prints (in my healthy stash) are printed on the WRONG side, I was scratching my head. For prints like this, cutting on the cross-grain achieves curling to the wrong side, exposing the printed side. See the fabric at the bottom in the picture below.
To Clarify ‘Right’ and ‘Wrong’ Sides of Jersey Knit Fabric
The jersey at the bottom above (burgundy and cream) has been printed opposite of the norm, as it is printed on the ‘course’ side of the jersey, not the vertical ‘ribs ’ side of the fabric, as with most jersey knit prints.
‘Ribs’ = vertical ‘rows’ ‘Courses’= horizontal rows
THEREFORE, on fabrics like these, printed on the ‘reverse side’ of jerseys, the crosswise grain curls to the wrong (un-printed) side of the fabric with tension applied, exposing the right (printed) side of the fabric.
Experiment! Weight, print (or not), and grain will all yield different results.
Conclusion: lengthwise strips that roll to the wrong side (exposing the right side of the fabric) will generally work best for this technique.
Therefore, this is my recommended STITCHING TECHNIQUE:
Cut 3/4” lengthwise grain strips
Lay the strip on the Base Fabric so that the ‘pretty’ or desired side of the curling Trim Fabric is exposed as it curls. Anchor with a few stitches to start. Stop with the needle in the fabric. Pull the Trim Fabric to establish the curl, but then let it relax as you stitch. Do NOT pull the Trim Fabric, or apply any ‘tension’ to it as you stitch. Beware: it is really quite a task to do this without ANY puckering of the base fabric – especially when using cross-grain cut strips. Hover a good steam iron over the trim and give a shot of steam as you encourage the ‘roll’ of the Trim Fabric.
Below are some quick snapshots of garments in my closet on which I did Curled Knit Trim. SUCH FUN!!! Give it a try.
Observation: Sew News Tunic
When you read my above instructions, then look at the blue/maroon tunic feature garment in the Sew News magazine, you’ll likely observe the puckers around the lower part of the garment, where the tunic attaches. Boohoo. All I can say is that on my ‘fluffier’ body, this hemline is stretched and it doesn’t pucker. On the skinny model on which they have photographed it, it puckers. On the other hand, if I hadn’t just pointed this out to you, you’d likely not have observed it at all. I’ve learned that writing magazine articles is a HUGE job, and one over which one has no final say, and pays very little. To 'see' my newest stuff, subscribe to my YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/londasews
Sew....have YOU done any curled knit trim? Comment to share below.