Knit fabric – playing with ponte

model 1

I love knit fabric! and feel very confident sewing jersey in all kinds of blends – rayon, cotton, polyester, and so on. But, ponte knits have stumped me at times. It’s an interlock double knit. A bit different, and I’ve had some magnificent failures, mostly due to my lack of practice with this fabric.

One thing I learned early on is that ponte di roma tends to come in two blends, poly/nylon/lycra and rayon (viscose)/nylon/lycra. I will never sew the poly blend again – did it once – it was awful, unpredictable, crazy stretchy, and not fun.  So I stick with the rayon blend. Having several nice pieces in my stash, I decided to get with the program. I.e., work with ponte, learn how to sew it, and understand the designs with which it works best. Time for a sacrifice with a couple yards of ponte from Fabric Mart.

I chose to use Burda Style 01/2018 #119. size 36 (it’s pretty boxy). It’s a hooded jacket, with a front zipper, and curved hems. I really like this pattern! and think it would be lovely in pink sweatshirt fabric. Check out that pleated dropped sleeve…

Screen Shot 2018-04-06 at 6.28.45 PM-side

I modified my pattern to move the side seams to the outside, but kept everything else. I’ll use it again, but my focus here was on the fabric, not the pattern.

Sewing notes:

  • Technicalities: I used a size 80 universal needle in my sewing machine, and size 90 in my serger. I released the presser foot pressure on my sewing machine, since ponte is a bit thick, and used longer stitch, 2.8, and 3.0 for topstitching.
  • Also,  I sewed all my seams on the SM, and serged the seam allowances to finish. Ponte wants to stretch at the serger.
  • The pleated sleeve on my jacket – so easy., what a great design detail. I stitched the pleats down a bit to avoid ‘ballooning’ at the seamline.

sleeve pleats

  • I decided to stabilize curves and critical straight edges with knit tricot interfacing. On curved edges, I cut the interfacing across the horizontal, the stretchy pitch of the interfacing (neckline and curved hems). On straight edges (front edges, shoulders, and the straight edges of the hem), I used interfacing cut on its grain which has almost no stretch. On the pic below, the shoulder interfacing is cut on the grainline, while the interfacing on the neckline is cut horizontally.

stabilize 1

  • I drafted front and back neckline facings, also stabilized with interfacing. The facings a look so nice – no exposed seam lines, tape, or serging where the hood is attached to the jacket.

front inside

back inside

  • Some results! The front edges are super nice, no waving, and I could easily have inserted a zipper.

front

  • The lined hood is lovely and not too heavy for the jacket.

hood

  • This curved hemline is so pretty and reflects a lot of trial runs. In the end, I stabilized the edges, turned them up 3/8″, and topstitched them. Note: the pattern has bound hemline edges. I can’t imagine doing that with sweatshirt or any other fabric!

curved hem 1

stabilize 2

  • The sleeves – I ran out of fabric, so I just worked with the cuff and shortened sleeves.  The pattern has the sleeve gathered into a cuff, usual for a ‘sweatshirt’ style. And it worked out really well.

gathered cuff

  • Out of curiosity, I did two more tests: a cuff the same length as the sleeve edge, on the left, and a cuff with the sleeve edge stretched to fit. Interesting.

straight fit-side

  • On to buttonholes – a hoodie has them on the underside so that a cord can be inserted. I got the best results by using a piece of mid-weight non-woven fusible interfacing over the area on the inside, and stitching with the fusible facing the needle and the fabric against the feed dogs. Buttonholes in ponte are iffy anyway, because they tend to stretch out and take on an urban decay look.

Buttonhole

Last shot – I always have the TV in the background in the loft, usually a movie I’ve watched a gazillion times.

model 2

I’m really glad I did this, all 4 days of it! But there’s a payoff 🙂 And I hope you find this useful,

For now, Coco

6 thoughts on “Knit fabric – playing with ponte

  1. I’ve never made anything with ponte. But yes I have many many years ago with double knit. Ha! I bought a meter of a ponte a couple of years ago to test it out. Still in the stash 🙂 Love this pattern.

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  2. I’m not a big fan of ponte either. To it’s just another name for double knit which I never did like! I broke down a couple of years ago when I got back into sewing my own clothes since it was everywhere and everyone was raving about it’s incredible properties (as each generation seems to do until they get why it was rejected by the earlier generation – re: polys which are also in resurgence with this new generation until they find out how horrible it really is). I made a pair of pants out of the rayon ponte and I have to say YUCK – the knees bagged out almost immediately and the feel of that fabric against my legs was just creepy. I wore them once and donated them. Artificial double knit is heavy without being warm, it stretches but not enough for clothing that requires stretch, it loses it’s recovery fast, and for the price you normally pay for it, you could buy a lovely, natural fabric!

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    1. I’m chuckling…you’re so right. My remaining ponte will go into Megan Cardigans, something for which ponte works really well. OMG, ponte pants, you were brave! Ponte is as bad as 100% cotton jersey when it comes to bagging

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  3. I really like this jacket! And thanks for explaining your adaptations and reasons; that is so helpful. The funny thing about Burdastyle designs, is that the images they use to show their designs are not really showcasing what the garment really looks like. So I never noticed this one. Thanks for drawing it to my attention, I want to try it.

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