Vintage Singer Sewing Book & Raschel Knit Fabric

Make It Monday FAIL! This is the first time I’ve failed my self-imposed quota to make something every week. Considering I’ve successfully made something (or a few somethings) every week for the past 18 weeks, I don’t feel so bad about it. Besides, I did get a little knitting & sewing done, just nothing finished.

And really, it’s hard to make things when you’re busy huffing dust. By that I mean cleaning & sorting & tossing & packing & making trips to the local thrift shop with donations in tow. Moving is messy. And I ought to make an effort to dust my new apartment on a regular basis.

But I did take some time out for a bit of fun. Yesterday was the Vintage Garage, a pop up local flea market dedicated to vintage things. While there I saw a lot of vintage dresses, but my favorite was this neon green number.

The best little nick knack I encountered was a mini, plastic toy sewing machine. When you turned the wheel the needle actually went up & down! But it extended down into the face plate, so actual sewing may not have been possible.

I bought a lamp- just what I need to do before moving! But it was from the 60’s & it looks great when it’s turned on & I bargained the price down low so my covetous, hoarding self can more easily justify it. I can be good at talking myself into things.

What I did not need to talk myself into was buying a vintage sewing book. Eagerly, my hands flew towards the book, then they slowed as I remembered to not let excitement & enthusiasm get the better of an old book. I daintily leafed through the pages, skimming each how to section: sew with knits parts 1 & 2, layout a pattern & cut, fit your pattern, tailor a jacket parts 1 & 2, home dec sections I’m not much interested in, fit pants, sew lingerie- sold! I’ve had grand lingerie sewing plans for some time now. Plus, look at the colors, the graphics. Too fun.

While I have little intention of sewing cushions, I love how abstract the graphics can be in this book.
Another great abstract representation..

Inside the front cover is a handy fabric guide, with info on which fabrics qualify as light, medium & heavy weight as well as the stitch length, thread & needles to use.

The back inside cover has an illustrated guide to woven & knit fabrics with their advantages & “characteristics requiring caution”. Such a nice way to not discourage people from trying difficult things. Like chiffon- I’m a little leery of using chiffon- even though I’ve used it before with moderate success. Maybe I should think about it as requiring caution instead of being a hell beast you’re trying to control.

Is anyone familiar with raschel, a type of knit fabric, seen second up from the bottom? It is a “warp knit made on the raschel knitting machine, which knits many types of lacy, open-work fabrics and patterns that look like hand knits.” The advantage to raschels is that they can look like expensive hand knits. Caution is warranted with lower quality raschels, which may stretch or sag out of shape. And the fabric can be made in a variety of fibers.

I believe raschel is the one in the middle on the bottom row, but I could be wrong.

According to, raschel knits are, “A warp knitted fabric in which the resulting knit fabric resembles hand crocheted fabrics, lace fabrics, and nettings. Raschel warp knits contain inlaid connecting yarns in addition to columns of knit stitches.” Threads magazine further informed me, “Description: Raschel-knitting machine produces wide variety of fabrics and can incorporate conventional or novelty yarns, thereby creating interesting textures and surface designs. Knits can be fine and lacey, highly patterned, and even piled. Properties: Runs gamut from dense and compact to open and lofty; can be either stable or stretchy, and single-faced or reversible. Best use: Almost any garment. Assessing amount of stretch, give, and recovery in a raschel knit is essential, since its nature is so diverse.” I came across this info in a very handy guide to knit fabrics.

Raschel knit, courtesy of Threads Magazine

After all this not very exhaustive research, I still don’t know if I’ve ever seen a raschel knit. Have you seen or worked with one?


2 thoughts on “Vintage Singer Sewing Book & Raschel Knit Fabric

    • Then I shall take the credit! Although I’d probably are it easier on myself if I didn’t insist on leaving my sewing machine & notions unpacked until the very last minute on the off chance I actually make something. It’s so hard to admit you’re not wonder woman & can’t pack & craft at the same time.

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