Scramble Sweater Knits
by Shannon Gifford
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  • Scramble Sweater Knits

    Scramble knits are a slightly open-weave knit. The surface of the right side of the fabric has a lacy appearance like that of a sponge; the wrong side is a ribbed surface. Scramble knits have 2-way stretch, and are available in synthetic fibers, natural fibers, or a combination of the two. While this fabric is not a true "sheer", it has a see-through quality similar to a fine lace. This knit has the potential for very sophisticated garments as well as trendy pieces; it is a real pleasure to sew!


    Synthetic scramble knits do not shrink; natural-fiber scramble knits do shrink. Test a sample of your fabric to see if there is any change in width or length. If you have a natural fiber knit (linen, cotton), pretreat it by washing in cold water to prevent further shrinkage. Treat the finished garment as you would a fine sweater by hand-washing and laying flat to dry.

    Needles and Thread:

    Because of the open nature of this lacy fabric, a stretch needle is not necessary. Use a universal needle, size 75/11, and cotton/poly or all poly thread.


    Fusible interfacings will not succeed on this open-weave, lacy fabric. Any interfacing used will be visible from the public side of the garment. Therefore, use a sheer silk, such as organza, or a matching cotton batiste as your sew-in interfacing. In some cases, a third layer of your scramble knit will work as interfacing; test your particular application to see if this is the best choice.

    Seams, Hems, and Finishes:

    A straight seam, 2.5 in length, works well for the vertical seams. Some fabrics may require a second line of stitching 1/8" away from the first for additional support; test yours to see if this is the case. Because of the openness of the fabric, a zigzag stitch is not often consistent in results and may stretch the fabric unattractively. Horizontal seams can be stitched with a slightly longer stitch (3.0 or 3.5). Again, test your fabric first. Seam allowances may require some stabilization, particularly in areas of stress (darts, shoulder seams, side seams). My preference is a matching seam tape or bias binding. Stitch the seam, trim to ΒΌ inch and press to one side. Center the binding over the seam and topstitch on each side of the binding. For hems, stitch seam tape or bias binding on the cut edge of the hem before stitching in place. You may either machine hem or hand hem on this fabric. A machine blind hem will be nearly invisible. If you have a serger, use a 3-thread balanced tension stitch for seam finishes. Test first, as you may need to shorten the stitch length for better coverage. If you have a 4-thread capability, this will work for the stitching of your seams on scramble knits.

    Pattern Suggestions:

    This knit would work well with garments that have dart shaping. Dresses, tops, sweater-type garments, scarves, cardigans, ponchos, and shrugs are all good possibilities. Creative Possibilities This knit mixes well with other fabrics. Try making a classic, high-necked jacket with a collar and cuffs made from eyelash knit, boucle, or fake fur. Or, line your knit with a contrast color, and use that color for your chosen outer garment trims. Another option is to use the "right side" for the majority of the garment, and use the "wrong side" for accents such as plackets, collars, cuffs, and attached hem bands. This last option makes a very classic, tone-on-tone garment. Scramble knits also respond well to some surface embellishments. A thin silk ribbon can be randomly threaded through the lacy holes of the surface. Beading (by hand) is another option. Avoid using glues, fusible applications, or fabric paints, as they will not adhere well.

    Additional Tips:

    Garments to be worn alone (without a second piece underneath) will benefit from a lining for modesty. A woven lining such as bemberg rayon or china silk will work well for this lining.

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