Aurora Tank: Sewing the forbidden knits

Sometimes I get really ahead of myself — especially when learning a new skill.  With sewing, everyone said, “Start with wovens.  Move on to knits when you’re more advanced.”  But … while I’d been working through the Closet Case Patterns Learn to Sew Clothing Class, for months I was thinking and dreaming about KNITS.  The fact that I wasn’t to go near them only made me want them more.

YouTube videos only heightened the mystique. Most videos will say, sure you can sew with a “regular sewing machine,” but a serger/overlocker is going to make things so much easier. And even better still is a coverstitch machine.

But then I ran across an article in Seamwork magazine that shared a lot of details about how to replace serger and overlocker stitches with a zigzag and twin needle. It looked do-able. I downloaded their Aurora top and picked out some knit fabric from Joann. What have I got to lose?




Like they say on the Love to Sew podcast, “There’s always more fabric!”  I tried it and now I have a knit tank top. Woo hoo!  I had just a few setbacks.

  1. Twin needles on my Singer 401a just do not work. I set it up and threaded the twin needle and it seemed like it would work. On a test scrap, it looked awful. I ended up doing most of the seams on the shirt with a zigzag.

2. Cutting knits was difficult with scissors. I probably need a mat and rotary cutter. However, I’m not sure how this would work on my small dining room table. So for the time being, it will have to be scissors.

3. The tank has a gathered shoulder detail. The instructions said to stitch above the gathers as part of the detail. I followed the instructions but didn’t end up liking the way this looked. I could have done without it.


On the right side of the pic above, you can see what happened when I ignored my scrap test and tried the twin needle technique on the neckband. The neckband had further problems because I had cut out tiny pieces of Wonder Tape to turn it under. You can see the outline of each piece of Wonder Tape underneath. The box says it comes out in the wash, though, so I’m looking forward to that.

I posted pics of my new tank on Instagram, and complained about my experience with the twin needle on the Singer.  A very helpful person sent me a direct message and said she sews all kinds of knits using a “very tiny zigzag” and “very tiny straight stitch”. Even lingerie and swimwear! That’s when I abandoned the twin-needle concept and finished the top with a very tiny zigzag and guess what — it worked.  At least for the near future, I will sew knits again using only that stitch. -rp