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Adding Knitted Elements to Your Garments

I am notorious for not having enough fabric for a project. Sometimes, I fall in love with a remnant despite knowing it is skimpy in the yardage department. Other times, the fabric’s price tag is hefty so I skimp on the yardage on purpose. Whatever way it happens, I often end up with a gorgeous length of fabric that is not enough. One of my favorite ways to stretch the yardage is to add knitted elements to the design. This is particularly effective with chunky, textured wool fabrics.

I like adding hand-knitted sleeves and collars because they are fairly easy to translate into a knitting pattern from a flat pattern piece and are comfortable to wear in the finished garment.

Prepare to knit

First, I find yarn that, when knitted, will create a fabric that’s approximately the same weight as the fashion fabric I’m working with. This usually takes several samples on different size needles and different stitch patterns. When I’m happy with a sample, I record the gauge and stitch choice so I can translate it later to my pattern.

The basic idea is to knit a piece that covers the selected pattern piece. Once the gauge is established, it’s a math exercise to calculate how many stitches will be needed and when increases or decreases are required to create the desired shape.

Knit the sleeves or collar

The sleeve below will be added to a boiled wool jacket. I used the pattern tissue as a guide to create the knitting instructions and to block the resulting knitted piece.

The knitted pieces won’t follow the pattern piece exactly, since they will be created with stitches and rows that make more of a stair-step edge. Because they are knitted, however, they can be eased and stretched…

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