My Rolled Knit Trim How-To’s in Sew News April/May 2018

How To’s for trimming with knit strips is the subject of my column in Sew News on the magazine racks now – April/May 2018.  When the editors accepted my proposal, I had no idea how much ADDITIONAL knowledge I would gain as I tested and tested and tested knit strips, grain, and rolling.


Which Way DO Knit Strips Roll?

I always assumed that cross grain cut strips would be the best, as the most stretch is found cross grain, but jerseys (single knits) curl towards the right side, exposing the wrong side – NOT pretty with a printed knit! See the fabric on top in the picture below. SEW….. for printed knits, lengthwise cut strips are the answer, since the curl to the wrong side of the fabric, exposing the right side.

Until I discovered that some prints (in my healthy stash) are printed on the WRONG side, I was scratching my head.  For prints like this, cutting on the cross grain achieves curling to the wrong side, exposing the printed side.  See the fabric at the bottom in the picture below.  curling details for single knits

To Clarify ‘Right’ and ‘Wrong’ Sides of Jersey Knit Fabric

  1. The jersey at the bottom above (burgundy and cream) has been printed opposite of the norm, as it is printed on the ‘course’ side of the jersey, not the vertical ‘ribs ’ side of the fabric, as with most jersey knit prints.

               ‘Ribs’ – vertical ‘rows’                ‘Courses’ – horizontal rows   

  1. THEREFORE, on fabrics like these, printed on the ‘reverse side’ of jerseys, the crosswise grain curls to the wrong (un-printed) side of the fabric with tension applied, exposing the right ( printed) side of the fabric.   

Experiment!  Weight, print (or not), and grain will all yield different results.

Stitching Technique

Conclusion: lengthwise strips that roll to the wrong side (exposing the right side of the fabric) will generally work best for this technique.

                  Therefore, this is my recommended TECHNIQUE:

                                     Cut 3/4” lengthwise grain strips

  1. Lay strip on the Base Fabric so that the ‘pretty’ or desired side of the curling Trim  Fabric is exposed as it curls. Anchor with a few stitches to start. Stop with the needle in the fabric.
  2. Pull the Trim Fabric to establish the curl, but then let it relax as you stitch. Do NOT pull the Trim Fabric, or apply any ‘tension’ to it as you stitch. Beware: it is really quite a task to do this without ANY puckering of the base fabric – especially when using cross grain cut strips.
  3. Hover a good steam iron over the trim and give a shot of steam as you encourage the ‘roll’ of the Trim Fabric.

Observation re Sew News Tunic

When you read my above instructions, then look at the blue/maroon tunic feature garment in the Sew News magazine, you’ll likely observe the puckers around the lower part of the garment, where the tunic attaches.  Boo hoo.  All I can say is that on my ‘flufflier’ body, this hemline is stretched and it doesn’t pucker.  On the skinny model on which they have photographed it, it puckers.  I’ve learned for future magazine articles to ask to approve photographs for the article.  🙂  On the other hand, if I hadn’t just pointed this out to you, you’d likely not have observed it at all.  Right?

There is more info in this article in Sew News for fun learning with knit strips, reversible knits, etc.  That info will be another post, but for this week, I know you’ll understand when you see the picture below that I have more important things to do with my time…like snuggling my wonderful 20-month-old granddaughter…

Londa with granddaughter


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2 Responses

  1. Kelsi says:

    Two years later, but I love this idea! I wanted to do some cute contrast trim on the skirts of some knit dresses I’m making, but I didn’t want to just bind the bottom edges, and I wasn’t sure how else to use knits for trim. I think this is exactly what I was looking for.

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