Sewing French Terry

Posted by Joanne Naghten
French Terry ( or sometimes called loop back knit) fabric is one of my favourite fabrics for cooler weather because it is so cosy.  Many people think that to sew knit fabric you need an overlocker, but you don’t!  I made this tunic top with only my sewing machine, the Designer Jade 35.
 
French Terry is a more stable fabric (has less stretch) than regular jersey fabric so it is easier to sew.  That said, the loops on the back of the fabric make unpicking almost impossible (I learnt this the hard way!) so make sure you sew carefully.
 
The Designer Jade 35 makes finding the right stitch to use SO easy, thanks to the built in sewing advisory buttons.  I just selected a heavier knit & straight seam (as opposed to the overcasting...that comes later) and the machine produced the perfect stitch.  If your machine doesn’t do the thinking for you (consider upgrading!! LOL!), or you can select a narrow zig zag stitch.  I finished all the seams of my tunic using the overcast stitch programmed into my machine, or you could use a wide zig zag stitch.  Unlike regular jersey fabric, French Terry will fray a bit (those loopy bits unravel on the back) so I advise finishing the seams. 
 
finishedseam.jpg
To hem my tunic, I simply overcast the bottom and then pressed up the seam allowance and sewed it in place.  You can also finish your hem with a twin needle if you so choose.  Because you don’t typically need to iron your knit clothing, some people don’t press seams/hems when sewing with knits which is a mistake!  You get a much better finish, as with all sewing, when you press your seams!
 hem.jpg
 
The pattern I used for my tunic is a hack of The Bondi Top by Sew To Grow.  I extended the length to tunic length and added ¾ sleeves (which I made by cutting 2 rectangles the same width as the armhole opening & my desired length).  For a little bit of interest, I also added a contrast band to the sleeve.  This is a pattern for woven fabric and I used a woven bias tape to finish the neckline, however it works really well for French Terry.
 
Now you know how easy it is to sew knits with your sewing machine, I hope you will give them a go if you’ve been avoiding them because you don’t have an overlocker.  Don’t get me wrong, using an overlocker is fast and easy, but you can achieve great results with just your sewing machine.
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