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Pattern Insight - Circular Knit Twist

Saturday, November 28, 2015
This entire post is inspired by my fascination with circular knits.  I've not had much experience with this particular cloth but have always been hooked by the possibilities.  I found this piece (slight grey marl cotton) at the back of one of the local fabric shops and grabbed a couple of meters to play with.  My first idea was to try the twist, especially with a fabric that's half way to dressing you without any side seams.
  1. I cut the circular knit cloth a little more (+5-8cm) than twice the length of my finished top.
  2. Using a boat neck tee pattern that I have to hand (or a knit block); I traced from centre back neck, across the shoulder line, including the back armhole.   Then continued with the front armhole, shoulder line to centre front neck.  In this case the armhole is in the centre of the cloth.   In this example I'm working with a circular knit that is 50cm wide (100cm total circ.) which has left a little extra space at the underarm point.
  3. At the other end of the cloth I trace the front and back tee with the underarm (side seam) on the fold line of the circular knit.
  4. At this stage I've effectively cut a quarter twist into the pattern.  That is the same pattern shape cut at either end of the circular knit, a quarter pattern turned onto the fold.

  1. To assemble the twist; connect the same underarm points from each end of the cloth creating a quarter twist turn in the tube of fabric.  
  2. A twist in the two layers of this top should bring the fronts and backs together with underarm points matching.  Pin in place and pin the other underarm point in place to see the twist.  
  3. With right sides together, join all four shoulder seams with the four thread overlock on the inside.  
  4. Sew the armholes and neckline together to make the two layers one, ready for a bind or turned hem.  It's possible at this stage to finish the neckline from the inside before securing the armholes if you prefer.

  1. Then cut the sleeves to finish this garment.  I'm using a little leftover merino in the mid-grey to match the light grey marle in the circular knit.  
  2. These sleeves are from the pattern I used in the beginning to trace neckline and armholes, so you can be sure they fit back together.
  3. In this case I will be sewing the knit sleeves in on the round, rather than flat.
  4. To finish, hem the sleeves and bind the neckline.

Overall the outcome is not spectacular.  Well ok, the twist worked but the fabric's too crisp (even for a knit) to be flattering.  I've a much softer two-way stretch knit that I shall try in the next round of samples.  It will unfortunately have a side seam but I believe the soft drape will make this twist idea work as I intended.

In conclusion I've become aware that these circular knits do come in many different widths.  I've got my hands on some other circular knit fabrics and will experiment with a twisted skirt idea and let you know if it works.  Let me know if you have any questions and use the comments section below if you have a circular knit story of your own to share.  :)

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Alix commented on 18-Dec-2015 12:25 PM
Love it but it made my brain hurt trying to work out how you put that twist in! Hoping to get some sewing in over the vacy. Thanks Anita!
Anita commented on 18-Dec-2015 12:37 PM
Hi Alix It's great to hear from you. I also have a fantasy about getting loads of sewing done in the break. Finger's crossed I'll pull it off. Wishing you and yours all the best for the festive season. Happy to demystify the twist next time we get together. speak soon <3
/anne... commented on 20-Jan-2016 05:28 PM
Lots of knits start life circular, but are cut lengthwise before appearing in your local fabric store.

The annoying part is sometimes they look like they've been chewed open by rats!
Anita commented on 20-Jan-2016 08:59 PM
HI Anne, thanks for sharing. :) I always wondered why some knits have the most appalling selvedges. Now I know. :)

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All images, designs, photos and layouts on this blog are created and owned by Anita McAdam© of Studio Faro. They are available FOR HOME AND PERSONAL USE ONLY.  If you would like to use our content for teaching or commercial purposes please ask.  I have some amazing resources for teachers and manufacturers. ;) enquiries@studiofaro.com

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