Pom-pom and Starburst Knits
Pompon and starburst knits are sweater knits with a design including raised balls of knit, similar to a "popcorn stitch" (for those of you who are hand-knitters). These fun, textured fabrics are soft to the touch, with just the right amount of surface interest for garments from classy to trendy.
Treat as you would a sweater: cool water wash, lay flat to dry. Most of these fabrics will machine-wash successfully on a gentle cycle, cool or cold water, with no bleach. I recommend putting the fabric in a lingerie bag for machine washing to avoid snagging the fabric.
Jersey or stretch needles are preferred for these knits. Size 75/11 is a good choice for general sewing, with a stretch twin size 2.0/80 or 3.0/90 for twin-needle hems. Cotton/polyester or all polyester threads are the best choices for construction.
A mesh knit or a tricot knit in the same color as the base of the pompon or starburst is the best choice for interfacing. Fusibles will tend to show through to the visible side of the knit.
For a standard sewing machine, a zigzag stitch (2.0 width, 2.0 length) is the best choice for most seams. If you have a serger, use a 3 or 4 thread balanced stitch for construction. Hems can be done with a twin needle, a coverstitch, or the same zigzag that is used for construction. These fabrics will benefit from a seam finish. If you use a serger for construction, your seam will be finished at the same time as construction, so no further finish will be needed. If you use a conventional machine, cover your seams with lightweight rayon seam tape or cut cross-grain strips of mesh knit to bind the raw edges.
Anything that looks like a sweater: cardigans, jackets, cowl neck tops, turtleneck tops, twinsets, sweater coats, ponchos and capes.
These fabrics work well in conjunction with velvet, fake fur, printed mesh, and slinky knit. Try using your pompon or starburst knit as the body of the garment, and trimming with leather or fake fur on collars or pockets. Or stitch together strips of the pompon knit with printed mesh knit and make a great poncho!
As you stitch shoulder seams or any other seam that needs to be stable, insert seam tape under the presser foot to be included in the stitching. If you want the seam to be somewhat stable, but still retain some stretch, use clear elastic in the stitching instead of the seam tape.