Tube Knits (from Theory)
by Shannon Gifford
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  • Tube Knits (from Theory)

    Tube knits can look a little unusual to the home sewer. After all, where else will you see fabrics that are 20 inches wide? But these fabrics are delightful to wear, and easy to use, if you keep a few simple principles in mind. Once you learn to use them, you'll love the convenience of the narrow width!

    Special Instructions:

    Bear in mind that the narrow width of these fabrics will require additional yardage. For garments, purchase approximately 2 ½ times the amount of fabric the pattern originally requires. For larger pattern pieces, cut the tube open along one fold and allow the fabric to lie completely flat for cutting the pattern piece.

    Pretreatment:

    Delicate cycle wash, mild detergent, no bleach, cold water. Dry flat. Do not expose this fabric to high heat in a dryer or with an iron.

    Needles and Thread:

    Use stretch needles, size 11, for construction. Cotton-covered polyester, or all polyester threads are best for this fabric.

    Seams, Seam Finishes, and Hems:

    If you are using a conventional machine, use a small zigzag (2.0 length, 1.5 width) for most construction. Seams do not require finishes, as the fabric does not ravel. If you have a serger, a three-thread balanced seam is perfect for a strong seam and finish all in one pass. For hems, use a stretch twin needle, size 4.0/11, or a coverstitch if you have that option.

    Interfacing:

    Use the lightest weight fusible for areas that need interfacing. So-Sheer or Touch of Gold are good choices. If you prefer to use a sew-in, use a layer of self fabric for interfacing.

    Pattern Suggestions:

    Tees, tanks, shirts, cardigans, skirts, scarves, hats, leggings. Because of the narrow width, pants may require creative piecing when cutting.

    Creative possibilities:

    Cut the tube knit across the grain into loops about ½-1" wide. Link these together to make a trendy chain scarf, or to use as trim for your garment.

    Additional Tips:

    The tube can be used "as is" when you cut out your sleeves. Fold your sleeve pattern in half and match to the fold of the tube. Trace the cap of the sleeve along each side of the tube. You'll eliminate the underarm seam in this manner. For leggings, simply cut the tubes to length and hem each end. What an easy project!

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