Knit romper

I almost titled this post “Shit Romper” as it is both brown and composed of a silhouette that, from the back, makes me look like I pooped my pants (all this in addition to being a shitty pattern), but I decided to take the high road lest I deter any sensitive readers from actually reading the blog post. Let’s get into it!

I’m sure most of us in the sewing community who use patterns to make garments have a love/hate relationship with the Big 4 (Big 6?? how many is it now??) but for those of us who are advanced enough to know what to look out for and how to navigate many of the failures of these patterns, we will often still make them, albeit trepidatiously. I haven’t fallen in love with many of the releases from the Know Me brand over the past few years but when I do, I fall hard, and ME-2074 was no exception. It was an immediate YES for me, with it’s super short length, romper option, and fun, dramatic sleeves. I’ve actually attempted to make a version of this knit romper before with a couple different patterns in my stash, but I never quite got the proportions right even though it turned out fine. This look is exactly what I was going for, though, so you can imagine how excited I was to finally have the exact pattern I needed to bring it to life with no hacking necessary.

Of course I forgot that not only are Big 6 patterns frustrating to work with, but they are damn near impossible to make quickly and easily if its drafted for a knit fabric. Even though the garment itself should have been a breeze and come together in no time at all, I forgot that Big-However-Many is STILL, IN THE YEAR OF OUR GODDESS 2024, GIVING US 5/8″ SEAM ALLOWANCES!!!! WHYYYY???? I understand that not everyone has a serger, but even if you are using a zig zag stitch on a regular machine to sew your knits, you only need 3/8″ seam allowances tops to successfully make your garment. Otherwise you need to go back in and trim those bulky seams down which just creates extra work.

But the most egregious thing the pattern did in regards to the seam allowances was change them up, so that the standard allowance for most of the seams is 5/8″, but some of the other allowances, like around the neckline and front placket pieces, are 3/8″. They should all be 3/8″, but ok, whatever, I can handle toggling between different measurements in one garment- that’s not the issue. The issue is that you need to actually REFERENCE those changing allowances in the instructions! DUH! It’s infuriating to me when sewing patterns change up the seam allowance and only list the measurement on the pattern pieces but not in the instructions. It seems lazy and inconsiderate, yet another example of these brands not actually setting their customers up for success when they make these patterns.

I didn’t make the mistake of sewing any seams together with the wrong allowances because I thought I had paid enough attention to the discrepancies in the pattern pieces, but I did unfortunately make an annoying mistake regarding something else. First of all, the pattern instructs you to stay stitch the neckline, which with knits is absolutely unnecessary IMO, but guess what, I did it anyways, against my better instincts, because when I am making a pattern for the first time I often want to follow their instructions as closely as possible in case there is something new for me to learn. I know, I know- I should have known better! My very favorite brand of knit patterns is a vintage line called Stretch and Sew. They are incredible, so full of helpful tips and information and the construction methods are excellent, some of which I see show up in modern patterns and others of which I don’t see often at all and employ on my own whenever I have the chance. Never in the dozens of times I have made those patterns have they suggested you stay stitch your knit fabric, so I was so close to not doing it, but again, my curiosity got the better of me and I figured, it can’t hurt to try it! Which is true, stay stitching doesn’t have that much of an effect on your final product if the technique isn’t actually necessary….unless the instructions don’t remind you that the allowance you are stay stitching is smaller than the standard 5/8″ of the rest of the pattern. So of course when I went back to stitch the seam at 3/8″, I realized that my stay stitching was visible and outside the allowance (I stay stitched at 1/2″, just inside what normally would have been a 5/8″ allowance).

Dear reader, if you have been sewing knits for any length of time, you already know how absolutely tedious and demoralizing it is to unpick stitches from knit fabric. Knit fabric eats stitches up so that they are so tiny it’s virtually impossible to pick them out with a seam ripper without also nicking the surface of the fabric. I did my best, but with the biggest scowl on my face you can imagine.

But guess what. GUESS WHAT, DEAR READER! That wasn’t the worst offender in the instructions! All my issues prior to this could be blamed on a lack of clarity and nuance in the pattern, but nothing was blatantly incorrect…until I got to applying the neckline placket and facing. The illustration is wrong. It details that you are supposed to sew the outside edge of the placket to the raw edge of the neck opening all the way around, when in fact they do NOT want you to do that, they actually want you to sew the inside edge of the placket to the neck edge all the way around. Of course I didn’t recognize this until the entire placket had been sewn on incorrectly, so then I had to take THOSE stitches out as well and redo the whole thing. If you sew the placket/facing the way the illustration tells you, the whole placket has to be folded to the inside of the garment (making the attached facing unnecessary), but the romper is meant to have a visible placket on the outside where the buttons will go. Of course it makes sense for it to be sewn this way, but I (unfortunately) tend to assume that the illustrations and instructions are correct because they have been edited, tested and okayed by several pairs of professional eyes (insert eyeroll emojis here).

Needless to say, I was completely over this garment before I even got halfway through sewing it and I couldn’t wait to come here and tell y’all what a pain in the ass it was to make, haha. The final laughable instruction they gave was to sew up the side seams before setting in the knit sleeves, which is a ridiculous technique that makes me want to rip out my eyelashes. Unless your knit sleeve has gathers or some other unique design detail that needs special attention, sewing your sleeve head flat to the shoulder seams before the side seams are sewn up is the quickest and most efficient way to attach a sleeve to a body. I truly have only seen “setting in a knit sleeve” suggested a couple of times in literally dozens and dozens of knit sews I have made over the years. And here’s an *accomplished sewist* tip- if that sleeve has a folded hem instead of an attached band, you can also press and sew that hem while the pattern piece is flat before you sew up the side seams- it just eliminates the need to press and sew the hem in the round which can be a little fiddly and time consuming.

Ok, so I managed to sew the entire garment without ripping massive holes in it with my seam ripper or setting it on fire, and, despite every single cuss word and complaint I made to my partner and my sewing friend Cyndi, I think the final result is super cute and exactly what I was aiming for. The romper version has a little gusset connecting the front and back which is a fun and unexpected detail, and the sleeves, while super dramatic, are delightful although I think they will be way too hot for the summer so I plan on making another one of these without the long, gathered sleeves. I adore this jersey knit fabric I got from Lyrical Fabrics, which is light weight but substantial enough to not feel like pajamas, and the little ditzy print coupled with the brown and black colors makes it feel a little like animal print- it was the perfect textile for this make.

always jumping at the opportunity to get my partner Bear into some of my memades lol

When I went to Frocktails Los Angeles in May, I spotted the designer of this Know Me Pattern, Alissah Threads, and told her I had just recently made this romper and that I loved it, but that I absolutely hated the instructions. She was kind and gracious, laughing as she told me that the designers unfortunately didn’t get to create their own instructions for their patterns, so she empathized with my criticism but was excited that I still enjoyed the final result. She told me the designers submit lots of different ideas for their next launch and that this romper was a bit of a throwaway for her out of all the ideas she had- she was surprised that they chose it to include in the line and was a bit nervous about how it would be received. I was happy to tell her it was a standout design in my opinion and one I was sure I would making again and again (after I make a few alterations to the pattern of course).

Speaking of, my second Frocktails was a fantastic experience and, though my mask kept me from being able to interact as freely as I would have liked, I am glad I got a chance to attend with my best sew buds, Cyndi and Bear. And I am thankful for being able to reasonably protect myself, although socializing in masks at large parties is exhausting and something I can only do a handful of times a year!!!

Comments

3 responses to “Knit romper”

  1. CouchCrafts Avatar

    Hiiii I love this post so much. I love your irritation and your specific critiques that would be so useful to anyone else attempting to make this. I love that Bear modeled the garment too — one of my favorite things about being queer is the magic of sharing clothes with your sweetie even if you’re totally different sizes, shapes, genders, somehow it often just WORKS. And then my heart just melted when you talked in the last paragraph about keeping yourself safe while sewcializing. I appreciate your externalizing these important thoughts!! Thank you <3

    1. Jasika Nicole Avatar

      Thanks so much for reading and for leaving such a kind reply! I appreciate you!

  2. shana Avatar
    shana

    Your opening lines had me laughing out loud and you can bet i would have read it if the post was titled shit romper! The sleeves are great but I’d go short with the shortness of the legs.
    Hmm. Those instructions sound like woven instructions to me. The mis-matched seam allowance that pisses me off?… When the shirt front has a different allowance than the shirt back (to avoid trimming when flat felling??)! W T F! You want me to use my ruler to measure the difference every couple of inches while lining those pieces up? Even if it comes out right (not likely), I’m just mad the whole time. The worst part is I never adjusted the pattern and forget each time I go to make it up again (a TNT for my partner), after I’ve cut out the fabric. Sigh.

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