#Dakota Sewalong: Guest Post from lladybird: Sewing with Knits

Sewing with Ponte Knit As a recent convert to ponte knit, I can’t get enough of this stuff. It takes any knit garment and steps it up a notch, is easy to care for, and is SO. COMFORTABLE. Seriously, if you haven’t worn a piece of clothing made entirely out of the almighty ponte – you, my friend, are sorely missing out.
Leopard Knit Dress  So what exactly is ponte (pronounced “pon-tee”), anyway? The best way to describe it would be as a doubleknit – it is thicker than a typical knit, and although it has stretch, it is also much more stable. The weave looks the same from both sides. I’ve heard it compared to a high-quality sweatshirting without the fuzzy wrong side, which sounds about right. Thanks to the combination of the thickness and the stretch, this fabric is very comfortable to wear, yet shows minimal bumps since it’s not very clingy. Personally, I LOVE wearing ponte leggings – the comfort of leggings with the coverage of pants, yes yes!

Lumberjack Archer; Ponte LeggingsPonte is a great fabric to start with if you are juuust ready to dip your toe into the world of knits. It’s stable, it behaves itself, and it’s just really fun to work with! Here I’ve compiled a few tips on sewing up this fabulous fabric- 

PREWASHING: As a general rule, you want to prewash your fabric in the exact same manner that you plan on laundering the final garment. I wash my ponte on cold in the washing machine, and throw it in the drier on medium. It’s not a terribly fussy fabric, so no special care required.

 INTERFACING: I tend to sew all my ponte as extra-thick knit garments, which don’t require interfacing, but occasionally you may want to swap out a woven pattern with some ponte love (such as with the Dakota dress). In this case, you will want to interface any areas that need to be super stable – such as the cuffs, the sleeve plackets and the pocket flaps. I would also recommend interfacing the pocket edges and collar edges so you get a nice, sharp crease. For the button holes in the cuff, ponte won’t put up a fight like a less stable knit, but make sure you interface the area and test a few button holes on a scrap of fabric before you dive in. You also may want to consider omitting your buttonholes and just sewing the cuff closed with the buttons on top.

 PRESSING: Most pontes tend to be a blend of rayon, polyester and spandex (and some of the super hardcore ones are just straight-up polyester), so they will need a little coaxing to get a good press. I like to turn my iron up a bit hotter and use a press cloth to diffuse some of the heat (else you’re gonna get a wicked shine). If the ponte is still struggling to stay down, use a clapper to hold the seam down until it’s cool. Don’t have a clapper? Lord, just use whatever – I’ve used a wooden cutting board in the past. Just don’t use your hands, unless you want a surprise burn.

 SEWING: Despite ponte being a knit, you can treat it the same way you treat a woven when sewing – with a straight stitch. I personally like to sew all my ponte on my serger – mostly because it’s faster, and because faster means more ponte for LT – but it’s not required. You may want to consider swapping out your needle for a ballpoint needle, as it’s better to not piece the loops that make up the weave of the fabric (the ballpoint will just gently push them aside, like a gentleman), but don’t sweat it if you’ve only got universals in your stash. Ponte is pretty easygoing!

 FINISHING SEAMS: Ponte is magical in the sense that it doesn’t unravel, so finishing seams are not necessary. If you’re not using a serger, just press those puppies open and leave ’em alone.

 HEMS AND TOPSTITCHING: As I’ve stated before, ponte works well with a straight stitch. For topstitching, try to increase your stitch length just a smidge (for me, it’s going from 2.5 to 3) for maximum topstitching beauty. You can do the same with hems, but I really love using my twin needle on ponte hems as I think it looks really nice. You can interface the hem edge with Stitch Witchery (or even strips of interfacing) for a nice, sharp crease before you top stitch. I also like using wooly nylon in my bobbin when I’m using a twin needle (and bonus- you can use your color bobbin as the second spool instead of buying two spools of thread, I know, I just blew your mind a little), but it’s not 100% necessary. Lumberjack Archer; Ponte Leggings
 I think that about covers it! Hopefully y’all will be inspired to go out and make those ponte garments of your dreamz. I know I’ve got two yardages sitting in my sewing room as we speak, and we’ve been eyeballing each other for way too long…

 ♥ ♥ Lauren lladybird.com

  • Now I need to get my hands on some ponte!

  • Lauren,
    thank you so much for sharing this wonderful info on Ponte knits.. I have been scared of knit sewing, and have been reading so much about the ponte knits.. I will be trying this out, real soon..

  • With all of the ponte love that’s been evident recently, I fell foul of breaking my fabric embargo this week and secured myself a few metres. Thanks for the tips – I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in now!

  • Thanks so much for helping us out on the sewalong Lauren…you’re the queen of knits! I also love how these tips are relevant to anyone wanting to try their hand at sewing with knits…not just the Dakota!

  • I’m really grateful for this sewalong. I’m learning so many new tips. Would a crepe jersey be similar to ponte jersey for the Dakota? Does anyone know the main differences of these fabrics?

    • Ponte is pretty different from crepe jersey on that it has a smooth face with a slight sheen rather than a matte, grainy texture due to twisted yarns. Think of a super thick regular jersey with less stretch. Also be extra careful to keep track of which side you use as the “right” side. There can be slight variations that are really difficult to distinguish if you’re not careful.

  • Not following the SAL but great post, love the idea of working with Ponte.

  • Ponte!! I have heard so many good things about this and now am all set to go out and purchase some!

  • I’ve never sewn with knits & have a dress pattern (New Look 6176) which has darts – are they sewn in the normal way with ponte? I’ve been told to use zig zag but I don’t think that will look great.

    • My advice is to do a test sample with both stitches on a scrap of fabric.