Jeez n bread… I HATE knit fabrics! Al’right, maybe hate is too strong a word, but over my 5 year sewing journey, I have pretty much avoided Knits like I tried to avoid Covid. But whaddu you know, covid eventually caught me, and so has sewing knits… it would seem. *Shrugs.
This year, I vowed to keep pushing myself, and challenging my own [sewing] boundaries. What better way than to sew up some knits and some trousers… but for now, let’s stick to the former, shall we? Y’all already know that I’m a Love Notions Ambassador. A perk of being an ambassador is that I get a first look at Love Notion pattern releases. When I saw the notification for the Lenox test, I took one look at the recommended fabrics, and hard passed on the pattern test. Once the pre-test was completed, again, the option came up for ambassadors to get their hands, and machines, on this pattern. I’m not sure what moved me, perhaps I had too much Disarrono, but before I caught myself, I had volunteered to sew up the pattern.
After I realized what I had done, ya girl started panicking. For goodness sake, I didn’t even have any suitable fabric on hand. WHAT was I thinking? One thing I like about the ambassadorship program (and pattern testing in general) is that it keeps me accountable and forces me to finish a project I might otherwise kick to the curb. IYKYK!
Sometimes, a pattern boasts that it has multiple views, but when you investigate further, you realise that the ‘difference’ is a mere change in the length of a skirt, or the addition of a sleeve. You guys, Lenox is NOT one of those patterns. When the Love Notions team described this pattern as versatile they were not lying. Lenox is a crop top; Lenox is a ‘shirt’, AND Lennox is a dress with 2 length options. Lenox also has 2 necklines and 4 different sleeves to choose from. Y’all, Lenox, is everything! Lol
The pattern is available in sizes XS up to 5x which spans a bust size of 33” up to 57.5” and comes with a standard bust and a full bust option. I’m sure you’d agree that this pattern hits it out of the park so far as size inclusivity is concerned! There are files for the print-at-home sewist (like me), as well as large format printing files ANDDDDDD projector files. Seriously, Love Notions wins with the options.
The pattern is designed for light to medium weight knit fabrics with at least a 40% stretch, with fabrics like rib knit and jersey being suggested. Did I sew one of the suggested fabrics? No, no I didn’t! I feel like such a bad ass hahahaa, but if I’m honest with you, I just sewed what was available. You see, I didn’t have any of the suggested fabrics on hand, and ordering online would have meant missing the deadline by a LONG SHOT. I probably wouldn’t have gotten my fabric until June. Ugh. Perks of small island living. So off I went to the one store on island that sells fabric hoping and praying I could find something I could use for this project. I came across a fuschia pink lycra, and bought a piece. For one, this pink is my energy colour!!! For two, after pulling and stretching it to check the stretch percentage, I was sure that it could work!
I traced off a size large in the standard bust option, which has become my go to starting size and block in Love Notions patterns. I then made a couple of ‘standard’ fitting adjustments to accommodate my unique body shape. Teee hee heee. If I were using woven fabric to make an unfamiliar pattern, I would have done a toile… but ummm how do you toile knits? What’s the equivalent of knit muslin? lol. NADA as far as I know since different knits stretch and move differently. I made my flat pattern adjustment, laid out my pattern pieces and said a prayer whilst cutting out the pieces.
Lycra fabric is the devil straight out of hell, I cannot lie to you. Ok maybe I’m exaggerating but I found it to be kinda slippery and fiddly; I realized that it didn’t like pins [even the special jersey kinds] annnddddddd I discovered that a rotary cutter gave a much cleaner cut than my scissors.
More times than not, I ignore or just skim through pattern instructions, I’m NGL. I guess, for the most part, I’ve gotten kinda comfortable with constructing many woven garments. Not this time! Once I got my pieces cut out, I was a leech to the tutorial. Can I just tell you, if you’re a beginner and can’t figure out where to start, go get you a Love Notions pattern because their tutorials are always jam packed with lots of info. It’s like a sewing angel guiding you through each and every process. This pattern [like all knits] could be constructed using a serger, or an ordinary sewing machine. I opted to construct it using my serger, and topstitched using my machine and a stretch needle.
Lord have mercy. Lycra is on my machine’s list of favourite foods, apparently, because, when I tried to top stitch, Sandra Singer kept trying to eat it up. The result? If you were to quality check this make, you miiiiiiiggggght find a tiny hole somewhere in my fabric! When I work with slippery wovens, I usually use a piece of ‘bounty’ (paper towel) when starting a line of stitching. After my machine ate my fabric, I ran to the kitchen, grabbed a piece of bounty and tried it with the lycra. Thankfully, that worked and I was able to complete my topstitching without much incident.
According to the instructions, Lenox is meant to be fitted with negative ease at the bust and 1-3” of ease at the waist. I thought it fit nicely at the bust area, but the waist turned out a little too baggy for my preference. If I were to make this again, I would totally size down to a medium at the waist for a much snugger fit.
IDK if it’s obvious or not so let me tell you… sewing with knits is like an out of world experience. Seriously! If you don’t sew, you probably have no clue how garments come together, or how different fabrics need to be handled. I was ignorant to it all when I solely shopped RTW. Now, I know differently. Sewing a woven garment is NOT akin to sewing a knit garment! Knits can be constructed on a serger, whereas wovens MUST be sewn on a machine (with a serger used for finishing). Needles, both in the machine, and pins for holding fabrics together, are very different depending on your fabric substrate. For example, if you were to use a woven needle on a knit fabric, you’d probably end up with skipped stitches or holes in your fabric where they shouldn’t be. There is even stretch or nylon thread just for constructing stretchy garments. I love using the Maxi Lock stretch serger thread. It goes in the loopers of your serger and makes for even more stretch and give at the seams. Perfect in a knit garment! Wooosh. It’s a lot.
The upside to knit garments, are that they are usually quicker to construct, and are typically easier to fit to the body. I’m sure an advanced sewist could run through Lenox in about an hour or two. I took my time, and did a little here and a little there until it was done, but compared to a woven, I still think I finished it quite quickly.
LENOX is on sale from today until May 9th 2023 over on the Love Notions website. I think it’s the perfect wardrobe staple for spring and summer, and the shirt, would make a great layering piece for the fall and winter. If you’d like to give this pattern a go, I would really love if you used my code 💖Kris10💖. That’ll save you an ADDITIONAL 10% off the pattern, and puts a few coins in my sewing bucket!
Now tell me, are you team knits or team wovens? Drop me a comment below!
Gotta luv ya and leave ya.
Until next time,
You look fabulous and that outfit is magic. So well done to you and being courageous. I love sewing with knits, and dislike (to be nice) woven fabrics, I’ve only been garment sewing for around 7 months, after a lapse of 30+ years. I guess we are all different. Lol.
Thanks so much Marilyn! It was a test of my faith lol. Wow. Its good that you’re getting back into sewing!