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 Advice re: sewing down hems
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Gabber Extraordinaire

378 Posts

Posted - 01/23/2006 :  09:30:05 AM  Show Profile  Visit LilyBeth's Homepage Send LilyBeth a Private Message
I'm actually beginning to see the end of the Eris cardigan approaching.

This pattern has lots of hems to be sewn down, and I'm considering the best approach. I knitted the sweater in Den-m-nit indigo cotton yarn, which is supposed to shrink when washed. So question one: Should I sew down the hems before or after washing/shrinking?

Second question: What kind of thread should I use? I was thinking of using an all-cotton yarn (holdover from quilting days, when you never use polyester thread on a cotton fabric because polyester can cut the cotton.) Is that a good strategy? Does it matter?

Thanks, you wise knitting mavens!

Permanent Resident

2176 Posts

Posted - 01/23/2006 :  09:38:31 AM  Show Profile Send COgirl a Private Message
First of all (and it may be too late for this), a row of purl stitches across the bottom where the hem is supposed to turn makes it a lot easier to turn and gives you a smooth edge. If you haven't done this, I would put a row of straight pins across the bottom where you'll turn up the hem so that it will be even.

I would probably sew it down before I washed and blocked it, but I'm not an expert on this stuff. Plus I don't use a lot of cotton yarn.

I would use the yarn for tacking down the hem. If it's too thick, you can always unply the yarn and use just one or two strands. But this way your thread will absolutely, positively match the yarn in the sweater.

Good luck.
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Guardian angel

9776 Posts

Posted - 01/23/2006 :  09:40:23 AM  Show Profile Send fmarrs a Private Message
I usually use the same yarn that I used to knit the garment for all of my sewing on that garment. Just stitch through the back side of the stitches and nothing shows on the front (purl bumps are good for this) With a hem be sure that you use a stitch that will stretch as this is knit fabric. Make 5 or 6 stitches and then stretch them out as you go along.

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Gabber Extraordinaire

378 Posts

Posted - 01/23/2006 :  11:43:26 AM  Show Profile  Visit LilyBeth's Homepage Send LilyBeth a Private Message
OK, so the yarn isn't going to be too thick? I was worried about creating extra bulk, but maybe that won't be a problem. Fran, the tip about keeping the stitches stretchy is a good one--I wouldn't have thought of that.

COgirl, the pattern has a nifty little slipped stitch line two stitches in from the edge. The edges are already curling under at the right place--I just need to anchor them in place. (This pattern has a horizontal band along the bottom of the garment.)

Any other opinions about hemming before or after shrinking?
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Laura Ver
Seriously Hooked

656 Posts

Posted - 01/23/2006 :  4:19:35 PM  Show Profile  Visit Laura Ver's Homepage Send Laura Ver a Private Message
I would definitely launder the cardigan before sewing the hem, otherwise it may pucker. I learned this the hard way with a v-neck pullover knitted in linen. The linen acted in the opposite way when laundered: it relaxed and stretched, and the v-neck facing (which I had sewn on before washing) expanded and wouldn't lie flat anymore. I had to undo my sewing and wash the pullover again before hemming.

I have a cone of the Elann Denim yarn and I noticed that the label recommends making a swatch, laundering it along with the pieces you have knitted, then frog the swatch and use the yarn (now shrunk) to sew the pieces together.

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