A second try at knits: Two Molly tops

If you read about my first try at sewing knits, you wouldn’t think I’d want to go near them ever again. My conclusion after sewing a Seamwork Aurora top was that my vintage Singer was just not made for the job. After all, Spandex was invented in 1959 and was younger than my machine.

The problem was, I kept thinking about knits!Ā  The Aurora top — though a big mess — was sooo comfortable. When I posted it on Instagram, a lot of really nice people messaged me with helpful tips about sewing knits without a serger. I had also found a cache of excellent posts on sewing knits by The Last Stitch. Weeks went by and I felt ready for a second attempt.

Second attempt project: The Molly top

A few weeks ago I had run across the Sew Over It My Capsule Wardrobe: City Break ebook and purchased it to help me with The Great Module Sewalong 2020. The Molly top in the book seemed like a beginner project that would also slot nicely into my module for the sewalong. I purchased some very stretchy rayon/spandex on clearance for $4/yard at Joann. The print was pretty wild and it was not module-compliant, but anything could happen with knits so best to start with a bargain fabric.

I came home with the fabric, but still didn’t feel like my thoughts on knits were organized enough to try a whole shirt. So I printed and cut out the Megan Nielsen Acacia underwear, which Megan’s website sent me for free after signing up for the newsletter.


Needless to say, making the underwear was not a confidence booster. The fabric was really just too stretchy and thin to be underwear. And I massacred the fold-over elastic.

But it did cement the idea in my mind that I need to come up with maybe five knit rules, write them down and adhere to them. No more doing it this way, and then that way, then forgetting and doing it differently. I was going to cut out the Molly top and follow these rules with no deviations. Spoiler alert: It worked!

Here’s my first Molly in my wild coral rayon from Joann:




Yes, those are slippers and, yes, that’s my front “yard”. In California, we’re not allowed to have lawns or wear real shoes (see: The Big Lebowski)

I was really happy with how my first Molly turned out. It’s a great pattern. I took some time in lining up the pattern pieces to get the stripes where I wanted them. I ended up getting cute striped faux cuffs on both sleeves without even trying!

Here’s my second Molly top in a rayon/spandex, this time from Califabrics:



On this second try, I took some advice from a new YouTube video by Johanna Lu, and stabalized the shoulders with some knit interfacing. This made the top not pull down in the sleeve as much — which is exactly what it’s supposed to do. But then the sleeves were about 2″ shorter than the first Molly. I went back to the pattern and added 2″ to the sleeve piece for next time to compensate.

I have plans for this second one — for now at least — to be one of my tops for The Great Module Sewalong, due March 24.

These first two Mollys I liked so much that I even tried making a third, again with a rayon/spandex from Joann. But I washed it and must left it in the dryer too long (um… with a bunch of blue towels).Ā  I thought it had pilled up in an ugly manner, but I started making the top anyway. Then I really messed up the neckline and was sure I had subconsciously sabotaged it because I didn’t want to wear the pilled fabric.


To the scrapheap you pilled thing!

In the end, I was pretty thrilled to have made great leaps in my experience with knits. I have Breton stripe fabric coming to do yet another Molly top also for The Great Module Sewalong.

Next time: a complete description of those five new rules. -rp

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