Friday, 6 April 2018

Wendy Ward's A Beginner's Guide to Sewing With Knits: Book Blog Tour!

I am so happy to be a part of Wendy Ward's A Beginner's Guide to Sewing with Knitted Fabrics book blog tour.  The book actually came out at the beginning of the year but sold out so quickly, the tour had to be delayed to allow the second run of copies to be printed!  Wendy has a particular talent for demystifying and simplifying the sewing process and knitted fabrics are her specialism.

I made the Kinder cardigan which comes with three length options. Wendy has posted lots of versions of these on Instagram and it has been a popular pattern with many social media sharing sewists.  I made a test garment from some gold french terry that's been in my stash for a while: I wanted to check the sizing and experiment with length and pockets. As with Wendy's other books, the patterns are full-size and printed on paper sheets at the back of the book and you trace off the pieces you need. Some pieces extend over two sheets and there are extension lines, matching scissor symbols and numbered points to help you match the pieces - just remember to transfer all the markings when you are tracing off the relevant section.  A quick reference key for locating the pattern pieces for all the garments can be found on page 23.

I made a tester version first in some gold coloured french terry that I've had for a while. I traced the smallest size, extended the length beyond the shortest option but not as long as the mid-length option. I also included the pockets but placed them higher. You do need to plan the length of the Kinder before you stitch it up as the pockets are sandwiched in the neckband and side seams and the neckband creates the hem length.  I chose long sleeves without the cuff. There are five size options and you use your actual bust measurement to decide. Wendy includes finished measurements for bust, sleeve and back on this garment so you can make pattern alterations if needed before you cut out. This pattern has plenty of room built in so it can be layered over clothes.

Good result, great pockets, but I thought the shortest length would suit me better and work well with skirts and dresses. The fabric for the second version was kindly supplied by Minerva Crafts. It's Atelier Brunette french terry which is a wonderfully soft, mid-weight, french terry sweatshirt fabric- this is the same weight, different print.  It is stretchy, especially for a french terry and the colour is a deep navy with bronze/gold sprinkles.  I've used this fabric before and I find it easiest to hand baste all my seams before overlocking to manage the stretchiness and keep the seams even whilst sewing. If you've been following the book tour, you'll remember that Zoe used the same fabric and also made the short version, before going on to make a longer version in Ponte de Roma. You can find other sweatshirt fabric options here at Minerva.

So let's talk more about the Kinder. I see it as the beginner-friendly cousin of Wendy's MIY Langley cardigan. Construction is simpler and with a neat finish and the result is a wardrobe stalwart that will enjoy lots of wear! As with the other book patterns, it can be sewn on a sewing machine or using an overlocker and a sewing machine. On the Kinder, the hems are finished with straight stitching on the machine as no stretch is needed- so on my version, the neckband top stitching and all the hems are sewn with a long straight stitch. My favourite part is the neckband which just like the Longley cardigan, fits like a dream and sits very nicely on my neck. My only change on this version was to taper the sleeves from armhole to wrist and shorten the sleeve length by 1"/2.5cm at the cuff.
There's a plethora of guidance in the book for sewing the Kinder, as well as the other patterns and for sewing knits in general. There are extensive fabric recommendations for each garment and all the photo samples have fabric credits so you can recreate the look. Wendy suggests beginners start with a stable knit for the Kinder as it's loose fit doesn't rely on stretch.  Ponte Roma would work well, as would sweatshirt, jersey or scuba, so there are lots of options.  As with Wendy's other books, instructions are detailed and clear, supported with generously sized diagrams and photographs and there's something to learn for all levels of sewing experience. The aesthetic is clean and modern with classic basic shapes suitable for everyday, active and loungewear. There are lots of other bloggers to catch on the tour all with different styles and the tour continues with the Minerva Crafts Blog

A big thank you to Wendy's publisher, for sending me a copy of the book for being part of the book tour.  They are also offering blog readers 25% discount when buying a copy of A Beginner's Guide to Sewing With Knitted Fabrics via their retail site, Just enter the code BLOG25 at the checkout, valid until 21st April 2018. Bargain!


  1. It looks like a fantastic book and I love your Kinder cardies!

  2. So cute Kerry and I really like your first in-between length tester version. Might have to give that a go myself! Big thanks for taking the time to be a part of the tour, I appreciate what a commitment it is.

  3. I love this book too. I made the shirring elastic feature T-shirt and it is a keeper. The Art gallery fabric made it super special too. I like the shorter version on you it looks really lovely. jo x


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