Recently my sewing student Jackie finished a new skirt. Here she is in her sunny living room. She chose a lovely brown and turquoise knit fabric — but it was difficult to sew. It wanted to slide all over. But, her goal was to sew something worthy of Title Nine, which is an expensive women’s sportswear store and catalog. She covets the clothes but can’t bring herself to afford the price tag. Not that I blame her: Simple skirts typically run $40 to $60 at Title Nine. Now she can make her own just like ready-to-wear. To work with this fabric, we used a roller foot to keep it from sliding. This worked on even her simple Brother machine, which goes to show that you do not need an expensive machine to sew knits. The roller foot is a $12 item but if you’ve found sewing knits tricky, it’s worthwhile. A roller foot will also anchor slippery fabrics such as chiffon and satin. It’s also important to use a ballpoint needle on knit. These needles slid in between the fibers instead of putting holes into Jackie’s tightly-spun polyester fabric.
Roller foot (works for most sewing machines)
We tried to find a slight zigzag that would give the fabric some stretch as she wears the skirt. I hope Jackie will attempt another Title Nine look. Not all of the fabrics found in Title Nine can be found in fabric stores for mere mortals (read: non-industry fabric oglers), but it’s worth a try to copy their no-nonsense, slim-fitting fashions.