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Knit Tricks

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Lovely new silk jersey Tabula Rasa Knit Tunic

Hopefully you already know how fun and easy it is to stitch up tops using the Tabula Rasa Knit pattern (TRK). They have become a staple in my wardrobe and several of our friends were sporting their TRK tunics at the last ASDP (Association of Sewing and Design Professionals) conference.

As sewers we know how important it is to pre-wash our fabric if we are making garments that we want to be able to wash after they are constructed. I wash most of the knits I wear on a gentle setting with cold water and a fine fabric detergent. So, I pre-wash new knit fabric using the same method to accommodate any shrinkage or color change before construction.

But what if you have a piece of fabric in your stash or something just purchased on a sale rack, and you are not certain if it is washable? This happened to me just this summer. I found a wonderful piece of emerald green silk jersey in one of my favorite NYC fabric haunts. It was printed with birds and branches in colors as intense as the green.

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The sample, cut from the yardage

Because I was unsure how it was printed, I was nervous about throwing the entire piece of fabric into the wash. Knowing I did not have much extra fabric, I decided to test a sample. I carefully cut off a wedge along the most uneven end. I made sure to get a bit of the white selvage in the sample since selvages are good indicators when assessing shrinkage and color change.

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Serged sample as it is traced onto paper

I serged all around the raw edges and traced around the piece so I could check the size after it was washed.  The sample then went into a lingerie bag and into the washer for its gentle washing. I laid it flat to dry.

Once it was dry, I lined it up with the tracing to check for shrinkage and compared it to the original fabric to check for color changes. I am delighted to report that there was no noticeable change in the size, color or drape, so I serged and pre-washed the entire piece using the same method. It gives me great confidence to sew and wear a top in this special fabric knowing it will hold up to additional washings.

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Sample as it is compared to the traced shape

I hope this little knit tip will be useful. In fact, this tip for testing fabric is not just for knits. You can use this method to test the wash-ability of any piece of fabric.

The very first TRK tunic was made from a piece of ITY knit that had been in my stash for a very long time. Read a blog post written by our great sewing friend Jane, who was one of the first to test the TRK pattern back in 2014. She also offers some additional tips about underlining and constructing her TRKs.

Jane in one of her lovely new tunics

We would love to hear your knit tips, too, as we continue to encourage you to hop on the Tabula Rasa Knit Tee and Tunic bandwagon. See more of our fun knit tee’s and tunics in the photo gallery.

Happy Sewing, RAE

2 thoughts on “Knit Tricks

  1. Is there a pattern coming out for different necklines on the knit tunic? You folks are awesome. I love this blog. Hope you can get some rest soon after all your marketing travel.

    1. Hi Jane, There are some variations planned for the Tabula Rasa Knits, look for the first one in the spring. Thanks for your compliments! RAE

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