I know I said that my next post would be a tutorial on sewing a knit skirt but I felt it was important to provide some information about the difference between knits and wovens.  These two types of fabrics have very different uses and also require different techniques when sewing. It can be hard to distinguish these fabrics from one another but once you do, so many more projects become available for you to make.  

How Their Made:

Woven fabric is produced on a loom. It is made by-you guessed it- weaving yarns together. The main property of woven fabric is that it usually has very little stretch when pulled either widthwise or lengthwise. Because of its limited stretch most garments sewn from wovens have to incorporate shaping in their seams in order to fit properly. Wovens also fray and therefore require seam finishes to make sure that your project doesn't unravel over time. 

Knits are made on a knitting machine. It is produced by interlocking yarns together through the use of needles, very much like hand knitting except it involves a lot more yard and a lot more needles. Knits have a lot more stretch than wovens do, especially width wise. This stretch allows knit garments to have minimal shaping integrated into the design. Knits don't often fray and don't necessarily need to be seam finished however they can be prone to runs. 
How to Tell the Difference? 

Sight Test
As seen in the picture above, woven fabrics look similar to how a basket looks with crisscrossing yarns that run lengthwise and widthwise.
Knits however resemble a braid with interloping yarns that run lengthwise. 

It can be tricky to tell the difference just by sight. Sometimes the weave or knit is so fine that its hard for your eyes to pick up. If this is the case than a  stretch test will help you determine the difference between the two. 

Stretch Test 
When you stretch a woven either lengthwise or width wise you will find that both directions have little to no stretch. The only exception to this is when the yarn contains elastic.
When you pull a knit fabric across its width you will find that it has significant stretch to it. If you pull knits lengthwise, it will still have a slight stretch. 
*Make sure when you're performing this test that you are pulling the fabric straight. If you pull any fabric on an angle it will have a degree of stretch no matter how its manufactured. 

Make it a habit when you are in the fabric store to examine the many different types of textiles available. Look at the weave, preform a stretch test, and see how it fells. If you continues to do this soon you will be a pro at distinguishing knits from wovens and hopefully gain some inspiration for your next project! 

 
 
I really love pencil skirts.  They are extremely versatile and can be worn in every season.  AND they are very easy to sew! Don't worry if you've never worked with knits before, as you are reading this I am working on a post about sewing knits on your regular sewing machine! I'm also going to include a post about sewing and fitting this skirt to suit you perfectly. 

But for now I am going to show you how easy it is to draft a basic knit pencil skirt to your own measurements.  Having this pattern in your portfolio is going to be incredibly useful. It's the perfect stepping stone for many other patterns and designs.

Supplies and Tools
  • Measuring tape 
  • Large Sheet of Sturdy Tissue Paper, Newspaper also works well
  • Straight Ruler 
  • Pencil
  • Curved Ruler  


Step 1. 

Using the guide below, gather the four necessary measurements. 

(1) Waist (divide your waist circumference by 4. This will be the measurement that is used for this draft) 

(2) Hips (divide your hip circumference by 4. This will be the measurement that is used for this draft) 

(3) Waist to Hip
 
(4) Waist to Knee


Step 2.  Drafting the Skirt 

Draw a rectangle using  the following measurements 

1/4 of your hip circumference measurement  (2) wide

and your waist to knee measurement (4) long

Step 3. 

From the top of your rectangle measure down the same distance as your waist to hip measurement (3). From this point draw a line straight across your rectangle making sure to keep it squared.

From the top left hand corner of your rectangle, measure across the same distance as a 1/4 of your waist circumference measurement (1). Mark with a notch. 

Step 4.

Connect your waist notch with your hip line using a gentle curve as shown in the picture. 
Step 5. Optional 

If you want a more fitted silhouette for your skirt than taper the right hand bottom line in 1-2 inches depending on how fitted you would like it. If you're looking of a more traditional pencil skirt than just leave the bottom squared and skip this step. For this draft though I've tapered the side in. 

Step 6. 

You can now trace your skirt pattern as shown below. You will have to trace it twice so that you will have one front and one back piece. Label them accordingly. 
Step 7.  Adding your Seam Allowance 

When adding seam allowance you are basically expanding your draft 1/2"  ( or whatever your preferred seam allowance is) on all the sides of the skirt that you will be sewing on. 

For this draft you will add 1/2" Seam allowance to every edge with the exception of the center of the front skirt since this piece will be cut on a fold and won't be sewn as all. 

Add your grain lines to each piece as pictured. This will help you determine how you will cut out your skirt from your fabric.
Step 8.

Drafting the Waistband

Draw two rectangles 3" high by 1/4 of your waist measurement (1) long. Label one Front and the other Back. 
Add 1/2" Seam Allowance around both pieces with the exception of the center of your front waistband piece. Add your fabric grain lines to each piece. 
Your Basic Knit Pencil Skirt draft is now complete! 

Thank you so much for reading my first tutorial. I was super excited and nervous about posting this.  I hope that my instructions are clear and if you're not sure about something or if  you have any questions about this draft please comment below and I will do my best to help. 

Like I said before I am working on a post that will be about sewing this knit skirt and what fabrics to use. I will be showing you how to sew knits using a regular sewing machine and what stitches are best when sewing stretch fabrics. Also I'll be covering step by step instructions on how to sew and fit this skirt.  

Cheers and happy drafting!