Pink Castle Blog

Professionally finished hem with a Janome CoverPro!

Posted by Brenda Ratliff on Mar 22, 2017 2:52:00 PM
A professional hem with the Janome CoverPro 1000CPX!  The best deals from Pink Castle faabrics!
A professional hem with the Janome CoverPro 1000CPX!  The best deals from Pink Castle faabrics!
Ever wonder what a CoverPro (or a cover stitch) machine does?  This little beauty makes amazing professional looking hems!   When you look at the bottom of most knit shirts (you may be wearing one now) you will see 2 or three lines of straight stitching on the top and some crazy loops on the other side.

This allows your hem to stretch with the fabric without breaking.  It gives a really nice clean look to the hem and stops the other side from fraying.

Janome CoverPro machines!

The Janome CoverPro 1000CPX can be used for 2 or 3 thread stitching.  The cover stitches look professional, just like a shirt you would buy off the rack.  I love to use a contrasting thread like the awesome  NEON yellow serger threads we have in stock from Maxi Lock to give my garment a cooler look.

You can use Nylon Stretch thread (also called Wooly Nylon) in your loopers (both in the CoverPro and/or your serger) for a SOFT wooly feel next to your skin.  This is particularly nice when making clothing for a baby or small child!  

You can achieve a similar look on your garments without a coverstitch sewing machine using a twin needle!  Although it's faster using a Janome Coverstitch machine, most machines have an extra attachment on the top to use two spools of thread and you wind the Nylon Stretch thread onto your bobbin if you want it to be extra soft next to your skin.  Amy did a post on how to use a twin needle for our blog a few years back.

Sew knit fabrics like a professional!
Sew knit fabrics like a professional!
Sew knit fabrics like a professional!
Sew knit fabrics like a professional!

Jersey Knit Fabrics in Stock

Topics: knit fabric, Janome CoverPro, Apparel Sewing, Techniques

Sewing with Knits - Millie Kids Dress Tutorial

Posted by Kara Neal on Mar 7, 2017 2:46:00 PM

Hi everyone!

This past year we brought in a great selection of jersey knits to Pink Castle Fabrics, and we've been having fun learning to make garments.  Sewing with knits is fun and easy. And it's even better when you find a free dress pattern for kids!

When I (Kara) came across this super cute cute (and FREE) pattern from Mix it Make it, I knew I had to try it out. You can find all the pattern pieces and steps on her website, but I thought it would be fun to show you how I made mine.

I would say this pattern is great for a beginner. It's simple, but that ruffle adds some fun!

Millie dress FREE pattern


First things first: this pattern is listed in metric measurements, so you're going to want to use a conversion calculator (like this one) if you're used to imperial measurements.  And now to choose an awesome Jersey knit fabric.

Jersey Knit Fabrics in Stock

I choose to use Wire Flowers Foil in knit from Art Gallery Fabrics. I love that the neutral color palette makes it wearable in any season. Art Gallery knit fabric is 95% cotton and 5% Spandex. This pattern only required 1 yard, too.  

Art Gallery knit fabric

First, print out your three pattern pieces and lay them on the fabric to cut out. I like using pattern weights so that I don't have to pin into the fabric.

Millie dress pattern

You'll also be cutting out a skirt piece and the 2 ruffles. Here are my pieces all cut out.

Millie dress pattern
Making the Millie Dress!  Pink Castle Fabrics Blog!

Next, you'll take the dress top pattern and fold it along the vertical line. Place the pattern piece on the fabric and draw a line to mark the ruffle placement.

Millie dress pattern
You'll want to do this on both the front and back piece. I marked the lines in pink, below, so that you could see where they line up. 
Millie dress pattern

Now you're going to sew the shoulder seams right sides together. I used a serger, but you can also use the overlock stitch on a regular sewing machine.

Millie dress pattern
This part is scary! cut along the lines you drew to divide the top into 3 separate pieces. 
Millie dress pattern
Take your two ruffle pieces (the long rectangles) and gather them using a long stitch on your sewing machine. 
Making the Millie Dress!  Pink Castle Fabrics Blog!
Line up the ruffle right sides together along the cut sides of the middle top piece. Mark the middle of the ruffle with a pin, this will make placing the ruffle much easier. 
Making the Millie Dress!  Pink Castle Fabrics Blog!

Make a sandwich with the far side, ruffle, and middle top piece as shown. Sew through the three layers making sure the ruffles are evenly distributed.

Making the Millie Dress!  Pink Castle Fabrics Blog!
Here are the ruffles sewn in place.  
Making the Millie Dress!  Pink Castle Fabrics Blog!

Next, you'll attach both sleeves at the shoulder seams

Making the Millie Dress!  Pink Castle Fabrics Blog!

Turn the shirt inside out and sew along the side seam and sleeve seam.

Making the Millie Dress!  Pink Castle Fabrics Blog!
We're getting close! Now onto the skirt. Sew the rectangle together to create on continuous loop. Then hem the skirt and sleeves. I did this by using a coverstitch machine. It made is SO easy to get a great looking hem. 
Making the Millie Dress!  Pink Castle Fabrics Blog!
Quick tip: use duck bill scissors to trip your hem. The bill keeps the tips from accidentally cutting the fabrics and makes it so easy to get a close trim. I used these and love them! 
You're also going to want to turn under the neckband of your dress. I used a stretch stitch on the Janome Skyline S7 machine and it worked beautifully. 
Making the Millie Dress!  Pink Castle Fabrics Blog!
There we go! A super easy, and extremely cute dress all ready to wear. 

Let us know if you try it out! Tag your projects with #PinkCastleFabrics on Instagram or share them to our Facebook page.

Janome Sergers!

Janome CoverPro machines!

Topics: knit fabric, Apparel Sewing, Techniques

All new knit fabric online! Best patterns for knit!

Posted by Amy Stevenson on Jun 10, 2014 12:59:00 PM

I went to Camp Stitchalot this last weekend, and I had a blast. My sister, who is more of a garment sewist went with me, and when I brought out my patterns and ideas to decide what to work on, she grabbed a knit nightgown pattern out of the pile and said that if I wanted to make it, she would be happy to help.  And since we don't often find ourselves together, I jumped at the chance.  

Jersey Knit Fabrics in Stock

Though I didn't have any appropriate knit fabric on hand! But never mind that, we went to Pink Castle Fabrics and perused their knit selection before heading off to camp.  You might not be lucky enough to live near Ann Arbor, Michigan but you can see all the knit fabric online! 

I chose Desert Blanket by April Rhodes for Art Gallery which had just arrived a day or two earlier. The new Art Gallery knit fabric are super soft and somehow hit that perfect balance of being thin without being translucent.

Awesome nightgown using Art Gallery knit fabric!
Modeled by me at Camp, before hemming.

I put it together in a day, basically, from cutting out the pieces to finally hemming it. And I did need her expertise putting that neckline together. Admittedly, I sewed the neckline facing in after we left camp, but I had decided that it would drive me less crazy to do that by hand.

What I want to show you all about this is not so much this pattern, but the seam finishing:

The inside of my knitgown made with Art Gallery knit fabric.

Because there isn't any. I hemmed the sleeves and the bottom with a double needle (as we discussed in my previous post about knits), but I only folded them over once, rather than twice like you would with a woven fabric. And for the sleeve and side seams, I didn't do anything at all to them. Knits don't fray! My rule of thumb for knits is that as long as it doesn't look weird on the outside, you don't need to worry about the seams. You can also read this post about using a Janome coverpro machine to hem!

And it's so soft! Did I mention the softness?I

Of course when my daughter saw this nightgown, she's decided she needs one, too. For her I've been looking at the knits from Bari J's new line, Emmy Grace for Art Gallery Fabrics. She's sure to love this one:

Ripples in Rose knit fabric, from Pink Castle Fabrics!
Ripples in Rose Jersey Knit by Bari J for Art Gallery


Summer patterns for Jersey knit fabric:

If you are just starting out with knits, probably you don't want to start with a nightgown. I picked a few of the best patterns for knit. Skirts are always a good starting point. There are fewer seams and you don't have to deal with the potential heartbreak of setting sleeves into the garment. Let's look a few best patterns for learning to sew with knit.

We have the Ashland A-line Skirt and Culottes in sizes for both women and girls.

Ashland Kids A line knit skirt pattern at Pink Castle Fabrics.

Or maybe a child's tank top!  The Blank Tank from Blank Slate pattern is a quick and easy boys tank top pattern! And the PDF pattern is available for immediate download!

Easy Blank Tank pattern for boys! PDF download at Pink Castle Fabrics.
The Blank Tank

Or maybe the Jorna (which can be either a tank or a dress, and is available for girls and women) by Jenna Brand, which is fully lined so you don't have to deal with finishing the neckline or the armholes:

Modeling a fancy Jorna tank top!

My recent discovery on the web is Peek-A-Boo patterns which has a great many patterns for kids using knits, including some for shorts and swimwear, and lots for boys, which can sometimes be a challenge to locate.

I hope you're inspired to try something new with our new knits!

Topics: knit fabric, Apparel Sewing, Techniques

How to Sew Knit Fabric Without a Serger - Hemming with a Twin Needle

Posted by Amy Stevenson on May 1, 2014 2:31:00 PM

When we start sewing, we normally start with woven fabrics or fabric without any stretch. But when we buy clothing, for ourselves, for our children, we are generally buying knits. Knits have some stretch, are forgiving to wear, and so comfortable!

But after we have sewn for a while, we of course begin to wonder if we can't just sew our own t-shirts and knit dresses. At first I had no idea how to sew with knit fabric. But after some practice I was able to make some lovely garments that I love to wear. 


knit fabrics from Pink Castle Fabrics

After all, Pink Castle Fabrics is now offering a wide variety of knit fabrics, with many more to come as new collections come out.

Let me assure you, you can learn how to sew knit fabric without a serger (overlocker).

Schmetz needles

Except for needles. You will need to use ball point needles for knits, sharp needles do weird things to knit fabrics. And I would suggest investing in a twin needle, too, but more on that later.

What is knit fabric?

The difference between knit fabrics and woven ones is the stretch. Knits have it, woven fabrics don't. The stretch is mostly in the horizontal direction (between the selvages, though some knits don't have selvages). The issue with sewing knits is that you have to build some flexibility into the seam, or when you pull on it, you will snap the thread. This is not such a problem for seams perpendicular to the direction of stretch (side seams), but really important to those parallel to it (hems).

You probably already know that you can use the zig zag stitch on your sewing machine to mimic the overlock stitch you would get with a serger for side seams. But how do you achieve a stretchy hem without a coverstitch sewing machine? Just using your own home sewing machine?

The answer, my friends, is that mysterious twin needle! Allow me to show you how:

Sewing Machine with a twin needle attached
My home sewing machine set up with a twin needle.

Using a zig zag foot, and threading two spools of thread on the top, run them through the machine as if they were one thread, then thread one through the left needle and one through the right. (Ideally, you want them to be the same color, but I didn't think far enough ahead to arrange that!)

When you sew it, the top of your twin needle sewing will look like this:

hem using a twin needle

The bottom will look like this:

hem using a twin needle

Because the bobbin thread is looping between the two top threads this means of hemming provides that all important flexibility, and when you stretch the fabric, the hem stretches too.

Isn't that a neat trick? My sister taught me that.

Other knit resources, since we all don't have a sister who is into garment sewing.... I have Sew U Home Stretch: the Built by Wendy Guide to Sewing Knit Fabrics which seems pretty useful (though she wants you to buy both the serger and the cover stitch machine, though she mentions workarounds, and I'll have to admit to not having done any of the projects yet). Another book I thought had a good explanation about the differences between knits and woven fabric and why patterns that work with one won't necessarily work with the other is Cal Patch's Design it Yourself Clothes, which is definitely worth a read even if you're not planning on designing clothes and just need to alter patterns to fit you. As most of us do.

As for more virtual reading, our friend Rae Hoekstra has a series about knits on her blog. Full of useful tips! Here is her post on hemming knits from which I just learned a few new things.

Now, all we have to do is decide on what pattern to start with! How about some t-shirts

Jersey Knit Fabrics in Stock

Topics: knit fabric, Apparel Sewing, Techniques

Make a Jorna with Jenna Brand! Learn to Sew with Jersey Knit Fabric

Posted by Brenda Ratliff on Sep 15, 2013 10:25:00 AM

Make a Jorna!  

A Pink Castle Fabrics Class on sewing with stretch knits.

This class will be taught on Saturday, September 28, 2013.  This is one of the best patterns for learning to sew with knit fabric!

Picture of the Jorna Dress
The Jorna dress

 Join pattern designer and modern quilter Jenna Brand as she teaches her pattern Jorna. In this class you will be given the complete pattern for the Jorna dress, the Jorna junior, and the maternity-style Jorna. Throughout the class you'll learn tips and techniques for working with jersey knit, how to do an all-in-one bodice lining, and you'll leave with a finished garment!

Image of the Jorna Junior Dress
Jorna Junior!

The Jorna dress comes in sizes XS-XL for women, 2T-5T for toddler aged girls. The "Knocked-Up Jorna" is for pregnant women sizes XS-XL (pre-pregnancy sizes). The patterns come with length options, and can be made either as a top or a dress, making this a garment you can make again and again, achieving different results that are always flattering.

Image of the Jorna Top
The Jorna top.

This class will benefit beginning seamstresses as well as those looking to polish skills, or tackle knits for the first time. No special equipment required! Bring your sewing machine, prewashed fabric, and other supplies for a fun late morning/ early afternoon of garment making!

book now
Shop knit fabrics to make your own Jorna!
Jersey Knit Fabrics in Stock

Topics: Class, knit fabric, Apparel Sewing, Techniques

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