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Tip #20 Every Sane Women Needs To Take A Break From Quilting Once In Awhile

Updated: Jul 26, 2022

While 99% of the time I am a quilter in the past I made clothing, wedding wear and even vestments. I fell in love with quilting and left most of my garment-making behind. Last year I went to a retreat and a very talented woman, Robin Wright, was showing guests how to make tops and leggings that actually fit and people would wear. She was very patient took each person, measured them, and made a separate pattern for each. I was very impressed with what they all achieved. I was busy at the time and did not get a chance to work with her but the seed was planted. Years before I had pretty much-stopped sewing clothes. Patterns never seemed to fit the way I wanted them to.

Jump ahead to January and I have been watching Marie Kondo's series on Netflix about simplifying belongings. I have always been pretty good about getting rid of things but decided to open my closet one more time and see what I could live without. Marie's theory is to keep the things that give you joy and leave the rest go. So I purged a small pile and as I was putting my things back I picked up my favorite shirt. It was a knit shirt I purchased from J. Jill about 3 years ago. I realized that I wore this shirt as often as I could. Then I remembered Robin and decided that I would try and replicate this simple shirt that I love so much.

I ran to a huge fabric warehouse near me by the name of S. R. Harris. When I say huge, think of a warehouse with 25-foot ceilings the size of a department store filled to the brim. Is this an easy or beautiful place to shop? No, but they have some of the most interesting fabric of whatever I could wish for. I picked up four pieces of good quality knit that appealed to me.

Once back home I did some research online on how to copy a pattern. I found many, but these worked the best for me:

Making a Body and Sleeve Pattern by Izzy Meimsaab - This one has the basics but the explanation on how to get a correct sleeve pattern was very good. My sleeves fit perfect with her method.

How to Copy a T-shirt - Mimi G Style: She has a simple way of explaining things.

A few months back I purchased an old Bernina Coverstich machine. While a serger is what you need to sew knits the cover stitch machine is what makes the project look professional. The cover stitch is the hemming part of the project. I have tried using a double needle on my sewing machine but I still seem to stretch the knit and it looks funny. The cover stitch machine takes care of all of that. If you are looking for a cover stitch machine and you aren't going to be sewing a great deal you don't need an expensive machine. They aren't so easy to find, but if you can find a used one it should work. I paid $200 for mine, again, nothing fancy. I contacted my local sewing machine dealer and asked them to be on the lookout for a used machine. I like buying it from the dealer because I know they do a checkup on all of their used machines and if I have questions they are there to help me. I also have a twenty-five-year-old serger that works perfectly. So, I was ready to start my project.

A picture of a serger, cover stitch machine, and sewing machine.
A serger and cover stitch machine makes sewing knits a breeze.

A picture of the tools needed for pressing.
My sleeve board and ham

I followed the directions on how to copy a pattern and took my four pieces of fabric and began my projects.

A while ago I got rid of my ironing board and now just have a flat surface because most of the things I sew are for quilting. When making clothes an ironing board comes in pretty handy. I do have a sleeve table and a tailer's ham. If you don't have a ham these are easily made. You can find

tutorials online. As in quilting, pressing is one of the more important parts of sewing.

Sewing knit fabric and using clips to hold the fabric.
Using clips for knit fabrics

I found that I really liked using my Clover clips when working with knits. They grasped the fabric better.

Black, mint green, and blue handmade tops.
Three Shirts I made

What surprised me was how quick the shirts went. I was able to make three shirts that fit me perfectly and were exactly the color I wanted in about four hours. I have one piece of fabric left which I hope to get to in the next week.

I was pretty impressed with myself. So, impressed I think I might make myself some pants next.


I have been working on my granddaughter's quilt this week as well. I am using Superior Thread's Fantastico on this project. I love the sheen of the thread. I have most of the thread art portion done. But, of course, just as I was finishing up I didn't have exactly the right color thread so I had to order a bit more which means I have to wait a bit. I especially like how the legs turned out.

I am planning on using appliqué to attach this to a background. I keep on getting these strange ideas such as having the background with trees, apples, and a snake, doing a Van Gough scene behind the body, or using something with atoms and the idea of the big bang. If you have a moment let me know what you think.

For now I give you my Irish goodbye.



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