Stitching Knits

Sewing clothing has always been a frustrating experience for me, largely because of fit. I'm your basic straight-up-and-down gal without much of a waist. It's that way whether I'm sleek or slightly plump. But sewing patterns never seemed to work for that body type...if the things fit my hips then they were too tight in my waist and if they fit my waist they'd balloon around my hips. (Except for shifts...anyone remember shifts? They were perfect for my body type.) My mom had some complicated methods for altering patterns that my math-phobic mind never let me grasp. So I quit sewing for many years, until my friend Anne taught me to quilt. It was perfect for me. I got to play with color and pattern and never had to worry about darts, set-in sleeves, or zippers.

But as time has gone by I've been intrigued by lots of kinds of sewing. And this weekend, I was brave enough to try sewing clothing again. I took a Sewing with Knits class at Home Ec Workshop with Alissa. There were five of us and it was four hours we all cut out and finished a long-sleeved t-shirt (and many people finished in less time). It was so satisfying, and I wore my shirt all the next day. Sorry not to have pictures, but I used a knit from Moda—a very springy turquoise and white dot from the City Weekend line by Oliver and S. It is so soft and cozy the color makes me think winter may eventually come to an end, something I've been doubting of late. And best of all, Alissa altered the pattern (a Burda pattern, I believe) for each of us in the class, so our shirts actually fit.

All this was exciting enough, but the new Stitch magazine has a fantastic article about sewing with knits, as well as some truly adorable patterns. I'm itching to try the Spiral Skirt. Check it out here. (The instructions are in the magazine.) And if this pattern isn't for you, seriously check out the issue, anyway. It's a real keeper, with explanations of great sewing techniques and tons of fantastic projects and patterns. I'm also seriously thinking about using my stash of Woolylady fabrics to do the cover pillow. And there's a Malka Dubrovsky freebie pattern here. How I love her work!

In addition, there are a couple of short articles by yours truly in the issue. One about Collecion Luna, a wonderful endeavor that seeks to preserve Guatemalan  textile traditions while provide a living for families, and another about the New Dress a Day blog, where Marissa creates a new frock each day from an old one (and it can't cost more than one dollar).

Yes, my name is mispelled in the bylines for these pieces...they had a new proofreader and as a former editor I know that these things happen. But they did get it right on the back page, where staffers and contributors were asked about their 2011 sewing resolutions. I said that one of my goals was to take more classes in the new year, and I'm pleased to say I did just that at Home Ec on Saturday.