Friday, November 1, 2013

Made by a Fabricista: Sewing with Mesh Knits


I'm going to interject into the Fashion Challenge with a tutorial on mesh knits!

Over the weekend, I was working on an inspiration piece for our Julie's Picks customers. I used a mesh print and jersey knit that will be included in the November Julie's Picks. (Sorry, these fabrics are only available to JP member's, but we have plenty of others available on our website.) Some people may be intimidated by mesh knits, but have no fear! I did some research on how to sew with them first and was prepared from the beginning. They are easier to work with than you think. Think of them as a lightweight or sheer knit.

Here are a few tips I researched, then used in my project:

1) Sew slowly and with a new needle. It is always good to start a project with a new needle, but I felt like if I had a dull needle it would pucker the fabric. Because I was sewing a mesh to a knit, it was even better. The knit and mesh stick together and allow for easy sewing. There were only two places I was sewing only with mesh: the hem of the mesh knit bodice and the sleeve hem. I stretched the mesh slightly and also used a stay tape, which helps keep it in place through wear.

2) Use stay tape if only sewing mesh. The stay tape helps keep it in place through wear.

3) Pre-wash your mesh. It is recommended to hand wash mesh knits because of pulls and puckering. I will machine wash my shirt, but probably by itself or in a lingerie bag on gentle cycle. Do not put it in the dryer, you don't want to risk it melting! Lay flat to dry.


I used Angela Wolf's Ruched T pattern. We carry this pattern on our website, but it is sold out right now. We have it on order and hope to receive it in the next couple of weeks! This pattern is really easy and fits great! I don't like fussing with patterns and you don't have to with this one. I made this pattern before so knew what to expect. It comes with three different sleeve variations and five different collars. I selected the regular collar and decided to do long sleeves without ruching. I also did not do ruching on the side seams.

Here you can see the bodice hem. I pre-hemmed the mesh knit, and pressed a line in the knit so I knew where the mesh knit hem needed to end. Then sew right sides together as usual. 
Since I made the pattern before, I had made note that the bodice needed to be cut about 3-4 inches shorter for a non-ruched top. I cut the jersey knit out first, then the mesh knit. I decided to hem the mesh and knit separately. When laying the mesh and knit together, I pre-hemmed the mesh. Then aligned the mesh piece on the knit. The pattern directions tell you to press a hem on your fabric before sewing the side seams, so I did that. That also helped me determine where the bottom of the hem on the mesh knit needed to be because I didn't want the mesh to go past the knit.


After I had the bodices sewn at the shoulder and the hem in the mesh print, I attached the sleeves. The directions call for you to do this, rather than on some patterns they want you to sewing the side seams first. (I really don't like doing them that way, so I was thankful for this direction in the pattern!) I laid the mesh knit only sleeve on the right side of the bodice pieces and sewed them together. Then I sewed the side seams together. I had to bring the sleeve in a little bit. I think it is the nature of the mesh knit --- a normal sleeve is a little looser, and I wanted the mesh to be a bit more snug, but not tight.


When sewing the sleeve together, I used stay tape to keep it stable. I also used it in the hem of the bodice and sleeves.  
I made the standard collar out of solid knit for a very RTW look. I also top-stitched just under the collar on the mesh. I love the way it turned out! I especially like it because it was quick, easy and fit without hardly any changes. I fooled a lot of people--they asked me where I bought my shirt!




Don't be afraid of the mesh knits. They are harmless. Plus if you add a regular knit fabric to them, it becomes even easier!

9 comments:

  1. Thanks for the tutorial. I loved the mesh knit samples I received with the Julie's picks; but did not know how to sew them. This tutorial was very helpful.

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  2. I have a mesh knit that I bought last year from you and have been trying to decide what to do with it! I love the layered Tshirt look and may do that!

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  3. This is great. I just bought some mesh knit and can't wait to use it. Thanks for the tips.

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  4. So you basically made two bodies and sewed them together by binding the neckline? And the sleeves were the mesh only attached to both the mesh and lining layers? Great top!

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  5. Is the stay tape a mesh type or do you carry this tape

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    1. This particular stay tape does have a mesh-look to it, but you can use any stay tape. Unforntunately I do not have any stay tape available at this time. Good luck!

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