First Attempt At Cut And Sew

Yesterday I finished the cut and sew top and although it didn’t turn out exactly as planned it’s not a complete disaster and hopefully I will have learnt from my mistakes.


The seams aren’t brilliant, neither are the hems and the neckband is atrocious!


I made a complete hash of the neckband, there’s no getting away from it. The pattern instructions said to use bias binding which I didn’t have so I decided to just knit a length of stocking stitch and sew it on. As you can see I made a mess of it. It might not have looked so bad if I’d managed to get my stitching straight but I didn’t – it’s about as straight as a dog’s hind leg! It also gapes at the back:


This is how it looked before I added the neckband and hemmed the bottom and the sleeves:


Anyway, now that it’s finished, would I do it again? The answer is yes. With practice I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to do a lot better than this and there are things I would do differently.

I wish I hadn’t knitted a patterned fabric for my first attempt, I wish I’d just done plain stocking stitch. To make things more complicated for myself my patterned piece wasn’t long enough (due to it coming off the needles when it shouldn’t have) so I knitted a plain piece and joined the two together. This might not have been a problem if the join had been smooth but of course it puckered and the only way I could flatten it was to steam and press it which ‘killed’ the acrylic so I ended up with a lot thinner fabric than I had originally. It ended up more like a thick T-shirt fabric than a woolly jumper fabric.

I didn’t knit enough fabric to make long sleeves so I had to make short sleeves instead.

I have a Brother sewing machine which I bought about twenty years ago. A couple of years ago I won a Silver Bug sewing machine in a giveaway and decided to use that one to sew up the top. I figured it’s a newer machine so it will be better but I was wrong. I couldn’t find the right zig zag stitch to use on the edges to stop it fraying, every one I tried made the edges stretch out and go wavy. It wasn’t until I put the neckband on at the end that I decided to try the Brother instead and after a quick read of the manual I found the recommended settings for an overlock stitch. I tried it and it worked perfectly. I wish I’d used the Brother from the start, I will definitely use it for my next attempt.

I do have an idea for my next cut and sew project and hopefully it will turn out better than this one, I think I just need a little more practice.

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55 Responses to First Attempt At Cut And Sew

  1. Margaret Cummings (known as Mrs. Badlyironed, but for some Reason Facebook atfer 9 years have booted me out)! says:

    I absolutely admire you for posting it when you are not happy with it. The main problem is that you know where the mistakes are, so they stick out more for you. But I think it is fantastic for a first attempt. I have a pattern for a blouson with a zipper that I am keeping for my first attempt, in possibly a weaving material, which will be my first attempt at that on the knitting machine. Looking forward to seeing your next item in cut and sew.
    It just gets better !
    MARGARET Cummings

    • susyranner says:

      Thanks, Margaret. I always struggle with zips, maybe I should make a jacket and get some practice in.

  2. martha ross says:

    If I did that, I would consider a success… Like it…Martha

    • Yvonne says:

      Susan it is far from atrocious.I think it looks so neat.You have done a great job.
      You know I did my first cut and sew neckline recently and you have given me courage to knit 2 oblongs (front and back) sew the shape and cut it out. And I am hoping for a jacket also with your round edging from your jacket.
      If it s good then I send you a pix!!
      Keep motivating us!
      Take care.

    • susyranner says:

      Thanks, Martha.

  3. Germaine says:

    It is just lovely. I just want to make a correction in your grammar. You wrote hopefully I will have learnt from my mistake. It is learned from my mistake. There is no word as learnt. I hope you won’t be offended.

    Thanks for your teaching us how to knit.

    • susyranner says:

      I’m not offended but I would like to point out that I am from England and speak British English. The word ‘learnt’ is widely used here and can be found in the Oxford English Dictionary.

      • Maureen says:

        Good job she doesn’t read my blog which is written with a lot of slang terminology
        and both the English and American way of spelling depending on where my head is that day!

      • tildama says:

        I hope the grammar police-person won’t be offended if I point out that “learnt” is also used in Australian English as well as British English.

    • Tanya says:

      Seriously? You’re a guest here, it’s a bit rude.

    • Cerita says:

      I beg your pardon but learnt is how we say it in British English. The English language is as varied as the many countries it’s spoken in, learnt and learned are both acceptable. I’m Indian, we learnt British English, learnt is what we use and is MOST certainly a word.

  4. louise kaye says:

    It’s so ugly, I really think you need to send it to me! 🙂

  5. anne says:

    Yes, Louise but I think I need an ugly sweater more than you do. Seriously Susy you have worked wonders and I think perhaps you are being a bit too critical of your self. Go to the photocopier run off a copy of your hand, stick it on the wall and then lean your shoulder back and forth a few times on it. Why? because you deserve a pat on the back for being so adventurous.

    • susyranner says:

      Thanks, Anne. I think I’m being over critical just because it didn’t turn out the way I had originally planned it.

  6. Cheri says:

    I think it looks lovely. I didn’t even notice the neckline and others wouldn’t either. If you take a look at some of your purchased ready wear in your closet I think you’ll be surprised that the manufacturers don’t have the same high standards you do,

    • susyranner says:

      Thanks, Cheri. That neckline just bugs me because I know I could have done a better job of it – I’m annoyed with myself.

  7. I agree with the others. You are too hard on yourself! The quality that you produced in this top is much better than anything you can buy in a store these days. If it were perfect, I’d be afraid to wear it because I’d probably mess it up. Thanks for being willing to show your work – even when it isn’t perfect. But, in my book, most of the time it is!

    • susyranner says:

      Thank you. I don’t think anything will ever be perfect, at least when things go wrong it makes me more determined to get it right the next time.

  8. Morag Walker says:

    Hi Susy At least you could still wear it. It’s not too bad and you will know the next time. I was going to do a wee jumper for a charity and try out the cut n sew but took a floopy and decided against it. Maybe this time, you have inspired me to try. Thank you. Morag W

    • susyranner says:

      I think you should just go for it, you’ll never know if you can do it if you don’t have a go.

  9. leenrue says:

    I love this and as it is no one would know it wasn’t store bought have seen a lot worse on the rack and as you said you will get much better as you make more this way. The pattern you put in made it great makes me want to try cut and sew my self. thanks for showing and working this was a great job for the frist time just love it . Mary

    • susyranner says:

      Thanks, Mary. I have now completed my second attempt which I think has turned out much better.

  10. Geeta Dutt says:

    It does get better (although I do think this looks quite lovely) with practice. I just finished my second knitweave cut and sew skirt, and I really like it. I used fusible knit tape on the seams to prevent the wavy seams that no matter what I did in my last project, I just couldn’t prevent it. This time around, no wavy seams!!! I really like the cut and sew technique as it opens up loads of possibilities.

  11. Maureen says:

    I love the change in knitting pattern on the front. Looks really professional. Could you combine cut and sew and regular knitting too? Is it possible to pick up stitches after you have cut and sewn? Maybe a row down from the cut then do something like a picot edge for the neckline or do you think that would be risky?

    • susyranner says:

      I have done that with an aran jumper I knitted on the Bond. I zig zagged the edge then just hung it onto the machine and started knitting. I didn’t know if it would work but luckily I got away with it.

  12. i think it is lovely and would wear it in a minute. you see the ‘imperfections’ because you know they are there but all i see is a lovely garment. great color too.

    • susyranner says:

      Thanks, Leslie. You’re right, I do see the imperfections because I know they are there. I think I’ll probably forget about them once I’ve worn the top a couple of times.

  13. verna bohnert says:

    Hey, you are being a little hard on yourself. I think it looks good and what knitting machine do you use, I really like the patterned part combined with the stockinette stitch. I AM GOING TO DO A CUT AND SEW! Thanks for sharing

    • susyranner says:

      Thanks, Verna. I knitted the patterned fabric on the Orion double bed machine and the plain on the Knitmaster 4500.

  14. Tanya says:

    Hi Susy. Good for you for trying cut and sew, and thanks for sharing your first cut and sew adventure with us. It’s something that scares a lot of machine knitters, that’s for sure. I have no advice to offer, as I have yet to try it. I would offer, though, the blog of O!Jolly. Have you seen her stuff? She did several detailed entries about cut and sew. These are just a few of her entries. There are many more:

    • susyranner says:

      I have seen O!Jolly’s blog and really should have had a good look through it again before I started this project but I was too impatient and just got stuck into it! I’ve just sent for a book about cut and sew which should be here soon so I’ll have a good read of that too.

  15. Margaret Cummings (known as Mrs. Badlyironed, but for some Reason Facebook atfer 9 years have booted me out)! says:

    See ! Everybody said it far better than I did ……… It looks good and you have also learnt along the way.

  16. Yvonne says:

    I realise you are not a teacher of English, as I am, because you would have been taught at university about the past participle of the verb ‘to learn’!
    My mother tongue is Queen’s English and if I corrected the incorrect grammar of many bloggers, I would be constantly online.

    “Learnt” and “learned” are two acceptable forms of the past simple/past participle of the verb learn, which means exactly the same thing. Learn is an irregular verb in the British English where the past tense is spelt with a ‘t’ at the end – [learn/ learnt]. Conversely, Learn is a regular verb in the American English where the past tense is spelt with a ‘ed’ at the end – [learn / learned]. Thus, neither is incorrect as “learnt” is more commonly used in the British English, and “learned” in American English.

    Wherever you are from and whatever your preference of grammar is, Germaine, it was extremely rude to post a message about Susan’s grammar and just absolutely not neccessary.
    She says she is not offended but I am annoyed by your comment.
    We are here for only one purpose and that is to share a wonderful hobby and, certainly, not for one-upmanship. I can only praise Susan, not only for being a very dear person but, also, for passing her knowledge onto us to help us improve our craft.

    By the way, your last sentence is incorrect.At least, where we are from!
    “Thanks for your teaching us how to knit.” Do we need the your or don’t we need the your?
    To your or not to your, that is the question. (Shakespeare modified).

    As my dear old grandad used to say in his Geordie dialect –
    Ah am ganin neeo bonny lass.
    Do you want to correct me on that sentence?

    Have a nice day!

    • Maureen says:

      Bravo Yvonne. You said it so much more eloquently that I ever could.

    • tildama says:

      Thank you Yvonne! People should learn that sometimes it is better to hold one’s tongue, rather than say something and make a fool of oneself. .

  17. tildama says:

    Susan, I have been eagerly awaiting this post because I too have been anxious to give “cut and sew” a go. I have practiced cutting up and sewing the edges of old socks on my overlocker and also using different zig zag stitches on my regular sewing machine, but every time the cut and sewn edge becomes wavy and stretched. So what do you think your Brother machine did differently to your other Silver Bug machine, because your experience with the Silver Bug sounds exactly like my failed experiences. Thank you for sharing your experiences and your knowledge, it is so very much appreciated.

    • susyranner says:

      Well, my Brother machine has made a liar out of me! The settings I used for the overlocking stitch were stitch width 3, stitch length 4, needle position L and the edge didn’t go wavy at all. I’ve now just completed a second top using some aran fabric and guess what, the edges went wavy! Maybe it was because it was a thicker fabric, I don’t know.

      • tildama says:

        So sorry to hear this news. I thought you must have cracked it with your Brother. Maybe the very edge of the thicker fabric needs to be “killed” with the iron first. I don’t know what the secret is to this one. All I know is I feel your pain, because I have never ever been able to produce (despite many many attempted variations) anything but stretched wavy edged fabric.

  18. tildama says:

    OK Susan, you have inspired me yet again, thank you. After reading your post I had a think and wondered whether I might be able to use the dreaded linker (we are not very good friends but I was prepared to try to renew our relationship) to sew around the cut fabric instead of using an overlocker or sewing machine – I had a little piece of fairisle fabric I wanted to use to make a sample. I used a thick-ish crochet cotton in the linker (it actually worked for me) and it came up with a decent sized chain stitch so I could put the cut fabric onto the machine, by threading the needles through the chain stitches to make a mock neckline. Anyway I am pleased to say it worked. I will do a few more practice pieces before I actually try it out on the real thing. Thank you again for all that you do.

    • susyranner says:

      Sounds good. Did it stop the edges from fraying?

      • tildama says:

        I don’t know Susan, I’ll find out today when I give the sample a wash – so we’ll see. I could well end up with a washing machine full of loose threads – who knows. However I’m going to have a try at something else today though. This time I’m going to place some light/soft interfacing over the cut on the fabric and sew it on with the linker to enclose the cut. In my head it works (for fraying issue) and stability but what happens in reality is generally a very different story. Anyway I’ll let you know how I go with my next experiment.

        • susyranner says:

          Good luck, I hope it works out for you!

          • tildama says:

            Sadly the linker and I have fallen out of love (once again), while trying my experiment. But it is way too hot and humid here at the moment to cope with the frustration of a non-operating linker (breaking thread constantly), so I am going to give it a rest for a couple of days until I am ready to face another round with the Hague.

            • susyranner says:

              I don’t use my Hague linker any more. It seems to only work properlybwhen it wants to. It can be working great for ages then it will suddenly decide to have a hissy fit. I’ve packed it away in a cupboard where it can sit and sulk for as long as it likes!

              • tildama says:

                Well Susan, our Hagues have come to similar ends. I have decided that I never want to look at it again because it makes me so frustrated. And like yours, it has now taken up residence in the back of a cupboard in the garage where it can’t do any more damage to my frayed nerves.

                • susyranner says:

                  I can’t decide whether to sell mine or keep it in case I ever get the urge to try it again.

                  • tildama says:

                    hahahaha . . . so funny you should say that, I am at this minute preparing mine for sale to put it on ebay (along with a number of machines). I have decided I don’t have the patience to give it another “last chance” – it has had too many and it always ends up letting me down. .

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