Tips and Tricks for Sewing with Knits – Threads
Knits offer comfort, ease, and wearability that fashionistas and sewing enthusiasts have embraced, and there are some techniques that make sewing with knits easier and more enjoyable. Here are a few to get you started on the right needles and techniques for perfect knit hems.
Use the right needle
Ballpoint and Stretch needles are the two types I use for knits. Ballpoint needles are best for sweater-type and loosely woven knits, while Stretch needles are ideal for sewing through tightly knitted jersey fabrics.
Stitch type and length
Set the stitch length on a straight-stitch-only machine to medium (2.5 mm to 3.0 mm) and stretch the fabric slightly (and gently) as it passes under the presser foot when sewing knits with a straight stitch.
Seam finishes for knits
You can stitch and finish seams in one step if you have a serger or overlock machine, which I like to do when working with sweater knits, terrycloth, or any knit that has a tendency to “shed” slightly at the edges.
When working with knits, especially stretchy jerseys, you can often skip the facing entirely by folding the seam allowance under and stitching it in place. If you’re working with a curved edge (like an armhole), practice on a scrap of fabric cut to the same curvature.
Shouldering the burden
I fuse a piece of interfacing to the back shoulder piece or pieces to stabilize the shoulder seams and prevent stretching when making a knit top or dress. For heavier knits or sweater knits, I sometimes center a selvage of silk organza in the seamline.
Manufacturers use a specialized machine called a coverstitch to achieve a double row of stitches on the outside of most ready-to-wear knit garments. Most zigzag sewing machines can accommodate a double needle for a professional-looking hem.
Can you sew knits on a regular sewing machine?
You have a few options for sewing knits on a regular machine. When sewing knit fabrics on your sewing machine, look for jersey or ballpoint needles, which have a dull tip that slides between the fibers of the fabric rather than through them.
What Stitch is best for stretchy fabric?
A zigzag stitch is the best stitch for stretchy fabric because we need a flexible stitch that can stretch with the fabric. There are different zigzag stitches depending on the fabric and its intended use.
What Stitch do I use to sew knit fabric?
A zigzag stitch is a great way to seam knit fabrics because its inherent stretch allows the fabric to stretch and move without popping a seam. Use a stitch length of 1.5 and a width of 5 on light to medium weight knits.
Do I need a walking foot to sew knits?
A walking foot, also known as an Even Feed foot, feeds the two layers of fabric through the machine at the same time, preventing the fabric from stretching out as it is sewn, which is why it is ideal for very stretchy knit fabrics.
What should the tension on my sewing machine be?
So we’ll just talk about the top thread tension because that’s where you’d usually make the adjustments: the dial settings range from 0 to 9, with 4.5 being the ‘default’ setting for normal straight-stitch sewing and most fabrics.
What does a stretch stitch look like on a sewing machine?
It looks like a lightning bolt and works similarly to a zig-zag stitch, except the needle goes back a little to overlap the previous stitch, giving the stretch stitch a more straight-line appearance while remaining just as stretchy.
Is Cotton Jersey hard to sew?
Sewing with jersey fabrics isn’t as difficult as you might think; all you need is the right stitch and needle, as well as the right fabric for the job.
Why are my Serged seams wavy?
When the Differential Feed is set at 1, knit fabrics will stretch as they are sewn, resulting in a wavy edge seam. To correct this waviness, adjust the Differential Feed setting toward the 1.5 mark until the seam lays flat and even.
What setting should I sew stretchy fabric on?
The following are the best stitches to use when sewing stretch fabrics:
- Narrow zigzag: choose a very narrow zigzag stitch length equal to the stitch width.
- Overedge stitch: a specialty stitch that stitches and finishes a seam in one pass.