I had the chance to do something new for me the other week. Shelly Figueroa, a local children's designer of Patterns by Figgy's, asked me if I'd be willing to test a pattern they are planning to release this fall--the Little Woo Jacket. Of course, I jumped at the chance knowing I could squeeze in some sewing between the last week of school and our travels to Indiana. I'm crazy, I know, but I've been wanting to learn how to sew knits for Silvie and this seemed like the perfect chance.
The pattern came in a pdf so that's always fun....getting the printer to work, matching up all those pages, trimming the margins, taping, cutting, etc. Getting the pattern ready to go is a bit of work. But it's the kind of work that appeals to my geekier side.
I read some really helpful tips about sewing knits here. I've tried to sew a bit with knits in the past but I was always frustrated with how the seams would stretch all whopper-jawed about and the fabric would get sucked down into my sewing machine. This tutorial encouraged me to try water-soluble stabilizer on the seams of the fabric. Although my technique is certainly not to be copied (!) I have to say that this is GENIUS! Why didn't I ever hear about doing this before?! It takes an extra step and some drying time but it really makes the knit so much easier to sew.
The Little Woo Jacket is unique in that it mixes knit and woven fabrics. The hems are left unfinished on the knits and that makes it go together super quickly! I had trouble figuring out the directions for the collar and button area so they didn't turn out right and I intend to rip some of it out and redo it. That was part of the fun of pattern-testing---trying to figure out what the pattern author intended and then giving her suggestions about how to word it more clearly. I felt a little weird critiquing the pattern to the designer and author over email, but on the other hand it was sort of satisfying (remember my geekier side?). How often have I puzzled-over a poorly-written pattern and thought, "I could write this more clearly myself!"
Here's the Sprout in her new Little Woo Jacket. She is not a patient model these days so I have to quickly shoot just as many photos as possible before she wanders off, rolls in the dirt, starts crying or demands for some unidentified object with an "UHHH!!" and a point and is distraught when I have no idea what on earth she desires.
Both fabrics are from Jo-Ann's. While I have no great love for Jo-Ann's, it is the closest fabric store to my house and will usually do when I am in a hurry. I actually really like this Love Bird fabric and I adore the buttons.
Of course, I couldn't help but make a matching Lazy Day's Skirt with the left over calico! And I plan to use the left-over knit fabric to make some matching leggings since there are only a few months out of the year here in the Pacific Northwest that a little girl can run around in a skirt without some leggings.
I found pattern testing to be a fun challenge and it motivated me to figure out some things about sewing knits with my machine (stabilizer and long zig-zag stitches are the key). Thanks, Shelly and Karen, for giving me the chance to play around with the Little Woo.
P.S. The Little Woo pattern is scheduled to be released this fall. Stay tuned for details.