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Conversational Threads

Combining sewing and knitting

katina | Posted in Knitting and Crochet on

Hello!  I love to knit, I love to sew.  Many years ago Threads had an excellent article on lining a knit jacket which was very useful, but I’ve not really found much information in publications.  I probably need to experiment more.


  1. SewingWriter | | #1

    Katina, I can tell you why because I've proposed knitting/sewing articles to several magazines.  The knitting magazines don't want the sewing, and the sewing magazines don't want the knitting.

    1. katina | | #2

      Thanks Stephanie; how disappointing for you.  What a pity they have that attitude as there's so much scope for some unusual garments.  I'll keep looking!


      1. kjp | | #3

        What a disappointment!! I would love some articles featuring a combination of sewing/knitting/crochet!  I've seen some high end designer sweaters which have beautiful linings to add to open work stitching effects.  I have also been thinking about ways to add knit or crocheted edging or embellishments to garments I sew.  I'm starting to experiment.  I just knit a ribbon yarn seed stitch purse & made a lining for it complete with pockets & magnetic snaps.  It took more time experimenting with the lining than it did to knit the purse - but I'm thrilled with the results!  Karin

        1. stitchmd | | #4

          This sounds great to me too, though I wonder how many of us there are who really do more than one textile avocation. So many people seem wedded to just one and are stumped if they need to do something like crochet a border on a knitted piece, or add a lining or a button band with fabric.

          I have a few fabrics I've matched to someday (hah) make a wearable art jacket, and I know I have some yarn that goes with them too. I've been trying to come up with ideas on how to incorporate it all together.

          1. anneelsberry | | #5

            Agreed.  I'd love to see an article on mixing and matching yarns and textiles to create an outfit -- picking the right fabric to match a sweater or vice versa.

          2. cer | | #26


            I've done it! I've put knitted sleeves on a fabric jacket with a knitted collar, button band and waistband. MAKE SURE the weight of the fabric is equal to the finished knit weight! I've only been successful with upholstered or tapestry (heavy) fabric. You will hate yourself if the idea is great but the weight and drape do not match. It's too much work to be dissappointed.

            TO ATTACH a button band, etc to the fabric -- ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE FABRIC you must embroider a chain stitch with matching DMC thread to the fabric edge. Make sure the spacing (size) of chains are equal to the stitch number (guage) needed for the future ribbing and yarn chosen.

            Then crochet a chain stitch picking up the DMC embroidery. DO NOT CUT the crochet yarn. Next grab your knitting needle and pick up the stitches that you just crochet. You will need a very large (long) circular needle comparative to the number of stitches you picked up. (I've even used two circular needles because my stitch count was in the 300+) -- you gotta think this thing up as you go.

            Knit your ribbing design of choice and add button holes as needed.  Make sure your needle size is comparible to your fabric and yarn chosen!

            YOU WILL NEED TO increase slightly when designing a lapel or collar. I cannot give you the 'how to' on this. It is an experience thing. Sorry.

            I recommend making the waistband first. Stop. Then pick up and make the collar and button band. Make sure to pick up the finished, knitted waistband when make the button band. You pick up the waistband edge just like you would with a knitting project. Just pick up stitches you allowed for selvage. Pick up from right side. (A seed stitch selvage edge on the waistband would be excellent choice to pick up from.)

            Making the sleeves. I just find a sewing pattern piece that I know will fit the jacket and match the shape, knitting and decreasing as needed.

            As far as attaching the sleeves. Just hand sew it. Attach like you would a fabric sleeve. Use the yarn as thread or matching DMC thread. This seam is the only one in the project that does not lay exactly flat so hand stitch closely. Sometimes I let the raw edge of the knitted sleeve show on the jacket front and sometimes not. You need to be the designer here.

            I think I've covered it all. I'm racking my brain in order to get all the info written down. Give me a holler if you are stuck.

            good luck. Carolyn

        2. Jean | | #6

          Karen, could you post a picture, please?

          1. kjp | | #9

            Jean,  I haven't posted pics before, hope this works!  Here's the seed stitch purse I made.  Karin

          2. Jean | | #10

            Very pretty. Nicely made too. Have you considered selling them?

          3. kjp | | #14

            Jean, Thanks so much!  I got some compliments from friends & did consider making them as gifts, but I don't think I'd sell them.  I have too many projects waiting to be done!  Karin

          4. Marion6422 | | #11

            Karin, that is beautiful! Is that silk ribbon, what size, and how much did it take for the purse? Hope you don't mind all the questions. Also, did it need some kind of stiffening when you put it together? I, too, would like to combine sewing and knitting and would like what I make to have the same sophisticated look of your purse. -- Marion

          5. kjp | | #13

            Marion, thank you for the compliment!  It encourages me, since I'm just really starting to have the confidence to experiment in sewing & knitting - following patterns is getting boring!  I used katia venecia (only $9) - nylon ribbon yarn- for the main color and leftover katia idea from a summer top I made.  My purse measures about 9 1/2" wide x 8" high x 2 1/2" deep.  It took about 1 1/2 balls of venecia (93 yds each) on 9 needles (I think!) in seed stitch & is knit in the round on an odd # of stitches (I forget how many).  I did use a craft fusible interfacing on all the lining pieces to give it support.  The biggest challenge I had was that the venecia has a lot of elasticity, so the handle stretched a LOT when I filled the purse!  I did a row of slip stitch crochet over it (the green stripe), which seemed to work.  It really was a very quick project.  I spent a couple hours experimenting with the lining, but much of that was due to poor planning for the pockets & seam allowances.  Karin

          6. rjf | | #19

            That's a great tip...an odd number of stitches to work seed stitch in the round!    rjf

        3. rjf | | #12

          An article like that would have been useful to me when I had a dressmaking business.  One custumer had crocheted a dress for her daughter-in-law and wanted it lined so it would keep its shape. I invented something but it would have been nice to read about a good method for doing it.     rjf

    2. UKknitter | | #7

      I design and machine knit professionally in the UK . Would love to see info on combining sewing with the knitting so please keep trying. Ideas on how to  give a knitted skirt with an elasticated waist a lining without bulk at the waist is my challenge.

      1. katina | | #8

        Hello PJ

        May I chuck in my 2 cents worth?  What are you using to line your skirts?  I have found that rayon is best for my needs - the one I like is called Ambiance.  Are you attaching the waistband to the skirt and the lining at the same time? I presume the waistband is of the knitted fabric?  Do you shape the skirt on the machine or use the cut and sew method? Sorry for all the questions!


        1. UKknitter | | #15

          Hi Katina

          Thanks for the interest. The skirt is a 4 panel flared design. Each panel is shaped on the machine. The waistband is knitted by picking up the stitches from the panel tops, knitting enough rows to hold the elastic, then picking up stitches from below to enclose the elastic. I then knit a couple of rows to give something for the lining to be sewn to. I use habitue for lining which is very light weight, feels like habotai silk. Still, enough fabric to allow for the hips has to be attached at the waistband which I am not so happy with the look of. Guess I should stop being a chicken and learn to put zips in properly! Unless you know better. Any advise would be gratefully received.


          1. katina | | #18

            Hello PJ

            I've noticed that RTW knitted skirts often leave an opening in the lining as though a zip were to be inserted, to allow for the ease over the hips; sometimes this is done on two side seams.  I wonder if this would work: try making a yoke for the lining in a very lightweight stretch knit in a matching colo(u)r.  You'd need to keep the seam as flat as possible so that a line doesn't show.  I've noticed similar treatments on good quality petticoats where the yoke is made of stretch lace and the petticoat skirt of silk satin.  Good luck! Katina

          2. kswolff | | #23

            Hi PJ

            Have you tried lining on the bias? It seems that your fabric choice is a good one but if you need more 'give' to play nice with the knit in the skirt, bias might provide that. Tricot might also work but it won't be as luxurious :)

          3. UKknitter | | #24

            Hi, many thanks for the idea I will try it next time I have a skirt to line. I'm sure it would help in reducing the amount of bulk at the waist.

            Regards Paula

      2. SewNancy | | #16

        Burda pattern magazine has had patterns for combining knitting with sewing.  They have done jackets with knitted collars and sleeves and or cuffs. 


        1. UKknitter | | #17

          Thanks Nancy, I shall keep a look out for Burda magazines.

      3. enidshapiro | | #22

        I would use china silk as a lining - it's very very light. 

      4. cer | | #27

        PJ: I know this is an old (April) e-mail you posted. But to answer your question. I just purchased INTERWEAVE KNITS special CROCHET edition magazine. It has a pattern of a knitted or crochet skirt with an elastic waist AND lining.

        Look at http://www.interweaveknits.com site to see if you can get the magazine. Remember it is their special CROCHET edition. Sorry I don't know the publish date because it was a special edition. Maybe August or September 2004?


  2. Imzadi | | #20

    While this scarf technique isn't knitting, it can use a variety of decorative yarns (like ribbon, railroad, those slubby cocoon yarns & fringe/eyelash yarns) & is sewn. I ran into this thread a while back while reading through the archives. I've been ga-ga over this technique since. I made two scarves, and can't wait for more materials to arrive to make some more. It is definitely addictive.

    Make sure you use hand washable yarns. One of my scarves bled while trying to wash out the stabilizer.


    Directions from: http://sewing.about.com/library/sewnews/library/aafashthreadsofdistinction.htm

    One tip: Anyone using a fabric adhesive spray, like 505 Basting Spray, use the lightest coating possible, otherwise it is next to impossible to remove the residue from the yarn & ribbons. It would require scrubbing the material, which is impossible with this delicate open-lace process.
    Do NOT use Sulky kk2000 spray (which I think the poster of the thread above used,) as water SETS the spray permanently. You won't be able to disolve the water-soluble stabilizer right away after making the scarf. You'd have to wait until after the required 3-5 days for the the spray adhesive to naturally dissipate from the fibers before soaking & disolving the stabilizer. As explained here: http://www.sulky.com/faqs/faq.cfm?cat=4&sub=36 .

    Another link for more scarf ideas:


    Edited 5/12/2004 7:28 pm ET by Imzadi

    1. katina | | #21

      Now that's a really great idea - I agree that it can easily become addictive.  Seems like a good way to use up the yarn leftovers also.  I did a bunch of pillows once by couching novelty yarns onto fabric and a chenille that gave me fits when I tried knitting it.  The couching can be random, or in grids, with buttons or tassels, and so on.  I'm going to start on scarves today - thanks for pointing me in a new direction.

  3. Imzadi | | #25

    Have any of you tried "Belle Armoire" magazine? It's sold at Barnes & Noble. I love the magazine. I devour a new issue when it comes out. It's specialty is combining multi techniques.


    If they haven't had any articles on combining sewing and knitting, how about as a group effort, writing/email them & asking for them? It seems like this magazine might be more open to having a feature on that. :-)

    Also, check out "Quilting Arts Magazine". http://www.quiltingarts.com/shop/backissues.html

    They are really into multi-dimensional techniques. In issue 13, they show a technique for a hot water soluble fabric dress, so their quilted arts aren't just limited to square, flat blankets. http://www.quiltingarts.com/shop/Issues/TOC_13.pdf 

    Emails asking for techniques on cutting, sewing & patching together sewn & knitted sections might be up their alley. Even if you don't want all the quilting techniques, the articles might be invaluable for any "how to piece together" info.

    Edited 10/4/2004 8:13 pm ET by Imzadi

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