Waverly_Leaderboard_FabricCookies

Facebook Twitter Sew4Home RSS Feed Follow Me on Pinterest

Sew4Home

Oh Baby! with Fabric.com: Sewing with Knits

Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version

Although hugely popular in ready-to-wear and more, knit fabrics tend to have a bad reputation among home sewing enthusiasts. Poor little knits! All too often, that bad rap comes from false information, or a complete lack of knowledge about the category. We promised our knit friends we’d tell their story and help clear their names. To know knits is to love them! Plus, our current Oh Baby! series with Fabric.com uses a number of pretty knits, because soft knits and soft babies are a natural pair. 

Fabric.com carries a wonderfully wide variety of knits. Carve out a little time to browse online through all the categories: from designer knits to thermals to jersey and more. They also have some of their own articles with knit sewing and preparation tips. Our thanks to all our friends at Fabric.com for sponsoring our Oh Baby! series and providing such great shopping inspiration every day of the year. 

This article focuses solely on sewing knits with a sewing machine. In mass production, knit fabrics are traditionally sewn on a serger (also known as an overlock machine). These machines are specifically designed to sew knit fabrics so the stitches stretch with the stretch of the fabric. Since not everyone has a serger in his/her budget, we have collected the top tips, techniques and tools that allow you to use your sewing machine instead. Most models can produce a stretch stitch of one kind or another that will act similarly to the overlock stitch on a serger.

Nothin' but knit

We will give you the basics today, but if you want to become a true knit expert (okay... we have to say it: a Knit Wit), we encourage you to purchase a fabric reference guide, use the Internet, and ask questions of your local fabric store staff. Each will help you build your knowledge exponentially. It’s always a good idea to get to know the fabric you plan to use, and knit fabrics really are a world of their own. They’re available in all types of colors, weights, textures, fiber content, and degrees of stretchiness. The choices are virtually endless! 

In previous tutorials, we’ve mentioned the importance of working with quality supplies. When we say quality, we mean the best your budget will allow. Purchasing good quality knit fabric is no different.

Before we get into the actual sewing techniques for knits, let’s discuss some of the details about knit fabrics: how they’re made, as well as the main categories and types. Sound boring? It’s actually very interesting, and the better you understand things, the less scary that knit aisle will be the next time you venture in. 

Warp and weft

Knit fabrics are produced using two methods: warp and weft. Warp knits are made with many yarns, which move vertically, and one warp stitch. 

Weft knits are made with one yarn and one single stitch, or a combination of stitches (plain, purl or rib). If you’ve ever tried hand knitting, some of this may sound familiar to you. A basic knit stitch in hand knitting is a weft knit. 

It’s the warp or weft method, along with the fiber content, that dictates the amount of stretch in a knit fabric.

Categories

Knits are put into three main categories based on the amount of stretch.

Stable Knits: These knits have limited stretch, but more movement than a woven fabric. You can use similar sewing techniques to those you'd use  for standard woven fabrics.

Stretchable Knits: Similar to Grandma’s hand knitted items, these have more stretch in one direction than the other (usually from edge to edge) and do require specific sewing techniques.

Two-Way Stretchable Knits: These are the knits we love to wear! They stretch in both directions – across the fabric and down the length. Swim suits and exercise wear are made from knits in this category.

NOTE: There’s also something known as a Four-Way Stretchable Knit. The difference relates to specific production methods we won't go into here. Rest assured, both are really stretchy knits.

Types 

Below is a list of some of the knits you probably have in your closet and around your home. Of course, this isn't a comprehensive inventory; there are certainly more types available. As we mentioned above, should you become a Knit Wit, you can write in and give us an advanced tutorial on some of the specialty knits. Until then, we'll deal with the most common variaties. 

Jersey: This is the soft "T-shirt type" knit we adore. It has a distinct right and wrong side, which you can tell by the direction in which the fabric curls at the edge; it always goes toward the right side.

Double knit: The same on both sides, it has minimal stretch and retains its shape well.

Interlock: A lightweight, very drape-able knit. (We’ll be sewing with it later in this tutorial.)

Rib knit: You’re probably most familiar with this one as the knit fabric used around T-shirt necklines.

Stretch Terry: Looks like a towel, little loops and all, but has stretch. 

Stretch Velour: If you grew up in the 70s, you probably had a pantsuit made out of this (maybe two)!

Stretch Velvet: You can always tell velvet by its shine, but this kind has shine and stretch.

Sweater knit: This one is fairly easy to identify; it looks like a sweater but is on the bolt instead of your back.

Sweatshirt knit: Another fave! This thicker knit is soft and comfy year 'round.

Tricot: You probably have something made of this in your fine lingerie drawer.

Action: Where would we be without this type of knit? We'd have nothing to wear to the gym. 

Other tidbits about knits

Knit fabrics can stretch anywhere from 20% to 75%. The stretch will dictate exactly what you can make out of it. In addition to the degree of stretchiness, there’s also the direction of stretch to consider. 

Depending on the type of knit fabric you’ve selected, it may have a right and wrong side. Or, like your T-shirt, it can be the same on both sides.

Finding the grainline on a knit can be a bit of challenge due to its "movability" on the cutting table (we’ll talk more about this in the next section). Where you find the greatest amount of stretch is the grainline of a knit fabric.

In home décor sewing, "ease" is not something your normally worry about. However, we wear knit fabrics because they are so comfortable and move with our body. If you choose to sew a garment from a knit fabric, remember the stretch of the knit is the "ease." When sewing with woven fabric, you have to build in "ease" to be able to move comfortably in a garment. With knits, you simply don’t have to worry about this. This is also why fitting is not as much of an issue either. 

Whether made of natural fiber, synthetic fiber, or a combination of both (just like their woven counterparts), knits are available in various weights, from extremely delicate to quite heavy. You will have to adjust your machine settings, needle size, and thread type to correspond with the weight with which you are working. 

Most knits do not require a seam finish, but sewn projects always look more professional when they're finished on the raw edge. Plus, just like pantyhose (also a knit), many knits can run. Finishing the raw edges helps avoid this problem.

Cutting

Learning how to properly cut knit fabric is a must! That statement isn't meant to scare you, but rather to make you aware it’s really, really important! 

If you’ve ever cut fabric with a nap, such as velvet or corduroy, you may have learned the hard way that you have to cut the pattern pieces in the same direction. Otherwise, the fabric will have a different color appearance because of the nap of the fabric. For example, if you cut a skirt front with the waist facing up, and the skirt back with the waist facing in the opposite direction, your skirt will appear to be two different colors front and back! Cutting knits creates a similar scenario because of the stretch. If using a comericial pattern, follow the “with nap” layout. This ensures your finished project stretches in the right direction when finished.

Always cut knit fabric on a large flat surface, making sure it does not hang off the edge. It can become distorted as well as stretch out of shape, causing you to have cut misshapen pieces.

Securing pattern pieces in place is equally important on knit fabrics in order to eliminate bunching or moving of the knit fabric on the flat surface. Use the proper type of pins. Sharp pins can damage a knit’s weave. Instead, use ballpoint pins, which are rounded at the top and slide between the loops of the knit. 

You can use pattern weightsto hold pattern pieces in place.

As for actual cutting, you must use very sharp scissors or a rotary cutter. Remember, some knits are more delicate than others; be precise and move slowly as you cut around each piece.

All markings should be done with chalk or a fabric marking pen or pencil. If you’re accustomed to clipping into the fabric, cut notch points rather than a simple straight snip. This helps prevent runs. 

Sewing machine supplies

Another word of caution: if you do not use the recommended sewing machine needle type, size, thread, and foot for the knit fabric you’re sewing, you will have a very bad experience. The fact that knit fabric has a bad rap is probably because these important steps were skipped, or maybe not understood at all!

Needles

As we mentioned in the previous section about straight pins, you must also use a Ballpoint needle. Depending on the weight and type of knit you’re planning to sew, you will also have to consider the size of the ballpoint needle. In addition, there’s a Stretch needle that is recommended for use with those super stretchy knits, such as swimwear. 

In addition to the single needles mentioned above, it’s also recommended to use a twin needle to sew knits on a sewing machine. When you use a twin needle, you use two spools of thread and one bobbin. As you sew, two parallel lines of straight stitches are formed with a zigzag underneath. The zig zag underneath gives you stretch for your stretch fabric.

Twin needles are available in various widths (meaning the width between the two needles) in both Ballpoint and Stretch.

Thread

Believe it or not, this area is pretty basic. For knits, use all-purpose polyester or cotton covered polyester thread. The polyester content allows for stretch.

Sewing Machine Feet

We’ve gathered our favorite sewing machine feet for sewing knit fabrics. By no means do you have to own all of them, but there are a couple well worth the investment. Be sure to visit your local sewing machine retailer for the complete selection of feet designed to work with knit fabrics for your make/model. Depending on the exact type of knit, one of these feet may be a better choice than another. Overall, it’s recommended you use an Even Feed or Walking foot with knits.

For sewing:

A. Standard foot This is the basic foot that comes on your machine at the time of purchase.

B. Even Feed foot  Also known as a Walking foot. The additional set of feed dogs on the foot helps to evenly feed two layers of fabric under the needle. Since knits stretch and move a lot, this is the ideal foot to keep everything even as you sew.

C. Rotary Even foot The little tracks on this foot act similar to the extra feed dogs on the Even Feed foot. Again, the idea of using this foot is to keep those pesky knit layers even.

D. Tricot foot If you’re sewing with a very lightweight knit, like tricot, you can give this foot a try.

E. Straight Stitch foot and Straight Stitch Needle Plate This combination is a good idea for any lightweight fabrics (woven or knit). Remember though, you can’t use a twin needle with this foot and needle plate!

For finishing:

As we discussed earlier, knits require no seam finish because they do not ravel. However, they are bulky and tend to curl. So, the traditional suggestion is to add a second row of stitching about ¼” from your seam, then trim away the excess close to this second row

Most raw edges on knits where there is no seam are finished with a single fold hem and topstitching, but there are times when a blind hem is in order. In these cases, you’ll need a Blind Hem foot (F).

We’re fortunate to have Janome as our exclusive sewing machine sponsor here at Sew4Home. They provide us with wonderful sewing machines that sew knit fabrics with ease due to their Superior Feed System (or SFS). If you’re ready for a new sewing machine visit their website to learn more.

Other supplies

There are a few other items you may want to have on hand when sewing with knits. Similar to sewing with other fabric types, areas of stress are important to reinforce. This may require interfacing. Look for interfacing specific to knits, such as Pellon’s Easy-Knit® Fusible Tricot.

You may have noticed a clear tape in the shoulder and waist seams of knit garments you own. This is necessary for high stress points. 

The next time you’re at your local fabric shop or online, look for Stay Tape, Twill Tape, and/or Clear Elastic.

Sewing steps

Your main objective when sewing a knit fabric with your sewing machine is to keep the seams flat. Knit fabric tends to fight itself under the pressure of the foot. If you try to sew it like regular fabric, it does one of two things: 1) goes nowhere and jams up under the needle plate, or 2) stretches as you sew and becomes highly distorted. Don’t let this scare you; think about all you’ve learned already! You have most of the information you need to sew knit fabric successfully with your sewing machine. All we need to do is make proper stitch selections and a few minor adjustments. 

NOTE: In our stitch examples below, we are showing a variety of stitches available on the Janome machines in our Sew4Home studios. It’s important you take the time to familiarize yourself with the stitches on your own sewing machine, along with the available feet and how to properly adjust the settings. Your sewing machine retailer is a great resource for this kind of assistance. 

Machine set up

  1. Insert a ballpoint needle (remember, you can also use a twin needle).
  2. Thread the needle and bobbin with a polyester or cotton covered polyester thread.
  3. Select a stitch based on whether you are doing construction, finishing the raw edges, or hemming. (See more detail below.) 
  4. Adjust the width and length as needed. 
    NOTE: If you have limited stitch options, experts all agree that a stitch that is not specifically for knit fabric should be shortened in length. The smaller the stitch, the less likely it is to “pop.”
  5. Attach the appropriate foot for the stitch selected. (We indicate the foot we use in the examples below for each stitch type)
  6. If your sewing machine has a Pressure Dial, you want to drop this down to 1 or 1.5, depending on your model. Less pressure from the foot will help the fabric feed evenly as you sew.
  7. Adjust the needle tension based on your specific make and model. In the Sew4Home studio, the Janome machines we use automatically reduce the tension when we select any of the knit or stretch stitches. Review the recommended settings in your owner’s manual or with your sewing machine retailer.
  8. Always sew slowly for best results. Again, depending on the type of machine you have, in order for the machine to sew some of the specific knit stitches, it has to move in both a forward and backward motion. Don’t be bossy. Let the machine do the work; do not try to push or pull the fabric.
  9. If your sewing machine has speed control, lower the speed so you can’t go too fast.
    NOTE: As we mentioned above, in our stitching examples, we’re using an interlock knit. Once you have the proper needle and thread in place and have adjusted the pressure dial and tension (as needed for your particular knit)... stop. Grab a scrap and test, test, test the stitch you want to use before starting on your final project!

Construction stitches

Zig zag stitch

  1. As we’ve been discussing, a key element for success with knits is working with the stretch, not against it. Even the most basic sewing machine has a stitch suitable for sewing knits: the zig zag. This stitch allows for some stretch in the seam, which is exactly what we need. 
  2. For the below example, we used an Even Feed (or walking) foot.
  3. Select the zig zag stitch.
  4. Adjust to a narrow width and a medium stitch length. We adjusted our width to 2.5 mm and the length to 1.8 mm. 
  5. Some experts find using a wide (5.0+) zigzag stitch is better for knits. The idea is that you can create a similar effect as a serger with a stitch that is approximately ¼” wide, then simply trim away the excess beyond the stitching. 

Stretch stitch

  1. Some machines have what’s called a stretch (or tricot) stitch. It looks a little like a lightening bolt, and is specifically for sewing knits that pucker. The slight angle of the stitch combined with the small zig zag is what makes it an ideal stitch for knit fabrics. We used the default settings and a standard presser foot. The width is 2.0 and the length is 2.5. 

Triple Stretch stitch

  1. A triple stretch stitch is formed when the machine’s feed dogs move the fabric forward and then backward as the machine sews with a straight stitch. The forward-backward movement gives you stretch, yet it is super durable. Use this stitch at points of stress, such as armholes or the crotch-line.
  2. You may notice our knit fabric is slightly puckered, that’s because this stitch is generally not used for basic construction. We tested at the default width (3.5) and length (2.5) and used a standard presser foot. However, we adjusted the tension down to 3.8. 

Straight stitch

  1. You can use a regular straight stitch, but (oddly enough) this is considered an advanced technique. You have to hold the knit from the front and back of the foot, and feed it through at just the right pace, so you do not stretch the fabric. In addition, a straight stitch, if not shortened in length, has little or no stretch. As a result, the seam will “pop” open at the seams, and your sewn item will probably not last the day. 
    NOTE: Don’t forget, you can also use a Twin Ballpoint needle and a straight stitch to sew knits as we discussed above. Make sure to adjust your stitch settings and tension accordingly.
  2. We attached our Even Feed (or walking) foot for the sample below. The stitch length was adjusted to 1.8 mm and the tension was lowered to 3.8 mm.
  3. As you can see from the photo, we did experience a bit of puckering, which proves why a straight stitch is probably your last resort.
  4. In case you’re wondering what happens to a straight stitch if you make no adjustments... as soon as you pull on the knit, this is what it will look like:

Finishing 

As we talked about in the introduction to the types of knits, some tend to curl at the edge or are too bulky to leave in the seam. We also mentioned how knits do not necessarily have to be finished on the raw edge as a woven fabric would. But, since we like a professional look on the inside as well as the outside, we encourage you to finish the raw edges of your knit projects. 

Once again, a basic zig zag can be used, but check your machine for a stitch (or stitches) similar to the ones we outline below. You will be using a combination of stitches. One is used for actual construction, while the finishing stitch is used along the raw edge and on one layer only.

NOTE: It’s best to sew these stitches in from the raw edge, then trim away the excess making sure you do not clip the stitching.

Multiple zig zag

  1. We have a multiple zig zag stitch option on our Janome machine. It’s a zig zag stitch formed with multiple steps instead of the needle simply swinging from left to right as it does with a basic zigzag. We used the default settings for our example (width is 5.0 mm and the length is 1.0 mm) and a standard presser foot.
  2. Below is a look at what this finishing stitch looks like next to our previously sewn stretch stitch seam.  

Knit stitch

  1. By its name alone, you know this is a good stitch to use on knits. Much like the triple stretch stitch described above, the feed dogs move the fabric backward and forward as the machine creates the stitch. Anytime a stitch is created with this type of motion it means the stitch will have stretch. More importantly, this specific stitch is designed to be used on one layer of fabric as a finish to the raw edge.
  2. We used the default stitch settings and a standard foot.

Hemming

You can leave raw edges unfinished, but as we’ve cautioned, knits can run just like pantyhose, so it’s best to use one of the following hems. Some of the stitches below are basic ones, while others are specific to our Janome models. Be sure to check your machine manual to see which stitches you can use for hemming.

Stretch blind hem 

  1. This stitch sews very similarly to a basic blind hem. You may have already spotted the only difference in the photo below. That’s right! See the small zigzag in between? There’s our favorite stitch again for knits.
  2. From the front, it looks just like a traditional blind hem. As usual, we used contrasting thread so you could see the stitching; you would use a matching thread.

Visible hem knit stitch

  1. We found this fun stitch on our Janome machine and thought you might like to see it. It’s called a Visible Hem Knit Stitch. At a quick glance, it reminds us of a coverstitch you’d create on a serger. And, just like a coverstitch, you sew this hem finish from the right side. Then, you trim away the excess beyond the stitching on the wrong side, similar to the finishing steps above. 

Single fold hem

  1. Depending on the width (or girth) of the hem area, you can create a single fold hem and topstitch it in place with a zigzag, stretch, or even a straight stitch (since it’s not a stress point) with or without a twin needle. We chose to use a stretch stitch in our single fold hem example.

Additional tips

  • We always like to remind you that preshrinking fabric is a good idea. Some knits shrink more than others, plus they tend to get stretched while stored on the bolt. 
  • When researching a specific knit, take note of the fiber content shown on the bolt, in case you need to press your fabric. 
  • If a knit is particularly slippery, you can use a layer of tissue paper under the fabric to help stabilize it as you cut out your pattern pieces. This works for fine woven fabrics too!
  • If you don’t have pattern weights, you can use other items from around the house, or simply some large rocks (clean, of course) from the garden.
  • Use a large bulletin board under your fabric so you can pin the fabric in place to eliminate movement.
  • Cut the length of your knit project, especially garments, 1” longer than necessary. You can straighten the edge later. Otherwise, you may find the knit is uneven at the bottom and there isn’t enough fabric to fix it. 
  • Always test stitches and settings on scraps first to determine the length, width, etc. Be sure to pull on the seam too, to make sure there will be no “popping” of the seam later.
  • If you do not have stay tape on hand to reinforce a seam, you can use a piece of the selvedge edge of the fabric.
  • If you’re having trouble sewing a knit, try placing strips of lightweight tearaway stabilizer, or even household wax paper, on top of your fabric and under the needle.
  • Let knits hang for 24 hours before hemming.
  • You may have noticed that whenever a zipper is inserted into a knit garment, it’s usually a lightweight plastic zipper. That’s because heavier zippers can weigh down the knit.
  • If you want to use buttonhole closure on a knit project, some sewing machines have special knit and/or stretch buttonholes.
  • Instead of using one of the hemming techniques above, you can cover the raw edges with a knit binding.
  • Unloved or unwanted knit items are ideal for repurposing. You’ll find plenty of tutorials on the Internet for quilts, scarves, bags, and more, all made from repurposed t-shirts, sweaters, etc. Here’s a Felted Pillow we made from repurposed sweaters. 

Contributors

Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Jodi Kelly

Tags: 

Section: 

Comments (51)

danadana said:
danadana's picture

Which Janome machine did you use to sew the examples in this post's images? I found the Janome website to be not very user friendly — there were many models and it was difficult to sort and compare them. Knowing which model was used (eve if the model is old) would give me a helpful starting point and help me understand their product hierarchy better. Thanks!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ danadana - It has been awhile since we created this article, and we did not keep notes on which model was used. I believe it may have been the Janome Memory Craft 12000, which was the top of the line model at that time. However, you do not need a top-tier machine to do any of the stitching described above. There are a lot of variables in choosing the best machine for what you want to accomplish. If at all possible, we would recommend visiting your local Janome dealer so you can actually "test stitch" a number of models within your price range to find the best fit for you. 

Maria Zamora said:
Maria Zamora's picture

I've enjoyed your post a lot. I love life knit fabrics but I struggle largely a lot with them, they don't stop puckering.

As I'm thinking to upgrade my machine in a few months, I'm looking for machines with stretch stitches and a walking foot. However, I always have the doubt about backwards. A lot of people age that the walking for is invaluable for sewing knits, but some stretch stitches go forwards and backwards. In that case, is it possible to use a walking foot or it's better to use the standard?

Many thanks for your help and for the information you share with us, self-taught people :)

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Maria Zamora - thank you for your nice comments; we're glad to be helping you learn to sew. Regarding the Walking Foot, in our opinion, knit stitches do not form in a back and forth motion; they are formed in more of a zig zag motion. Therefore, the feed dogs are not going back and forth but only moving in one direction - forward. The exception is an overcasting stitch, but these are not to be used for construction - only finishing. In addition, these stitches require the use of a specific foot - an Overcast foot.  So - yes, we do really like a Walking Foot for knits. However, if you are thinking about working a lot with knits, you may also want to look at a serger. 

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Marina Johnston - Unfortunately, there is no single tension setting that is correct for all situations. It will depend on the  type of fabric, the seam, and your machine. Your machine's manual should give you setting advice. If after testing you are still having trouble, you may want to check with your local sewing machine dealer for additional help. 

Michelle Puzio said:
Michelle Puzio's picture

I have read the great article and still have a problem with the feed dogs eating my fabric.  I use a single ballpoint needle with the stretch stitch, walking foot and paper under the fabic and still have the problem.  It seems to work a little better when I only use two layers of fabric, but never with a folded edge seem.  My machine is a new Singer and has never had an issue until now.  Thanks for your insight and help, Michelle

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

Michelle Puzio - it sounds like you are trying all the correct things on your end, which would lead me to believe there may be an issue with your machine and/or its settings. I am not familiar with the Singer machines. It would be best if you could take it in to your local dealer so you could show him/her exactly what is happening. 

krystn said:
krystn's picture

How do I sew backwards to do a reinforcement when doing an overcast stitch? If I push the reverse button it just inserts the needle up and down in the same spot... Thanks

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ krystn - yours is a machine-specific question, so I can't answer effectively via long-distance. It sounds as if your machine is making a lock-stitch, which means the needle would just go up and down in one place as it makes a knot. Check your machine's manual to see how it describes that stitch. A locking stitch is your best option, although (again depending on your machine make and model) some stitches may not reverse if the stitch itself already goes both forward and backwards, essentially locking itself. If all else fails - leave your thread tails long and simply hand knot several times to secure.

Deanna Johnson Mawhiinney said:
Deanna Johnson Mawhiinney's picture

Yes, thanks for the tips for sewing with knits.  I sew with knits. Knit fabrics are comfy:) Fun to sew.:)

Lorna EB said:
Lorna EB's picture

Hello! Thanks for this tutorial. I'm making a skirt with medium-weight knit fabric on my Janome 8077, and my feed dogs keep eating the fabric! I'd be very grateful for any help you could provide! I've been using a walking foot with a twin needle, but I see from your tutorial that I can't use a straight-stitch plate. It's all I have - I didn't even know other plates were available! Can you tell me what sort of plate I should be using? The needle seems to have plenty of space, but the top threads are tangling. My manual doesn't mention twin/double needles at all, and I've followed all the advice I can find but I still have a problem. Should I be using stabilizer? I didn't think I'd need it because the fabric isn't too light. Sorry for the long post! Thanks. x

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Lorna EB - I'm sorry, but trouble-shooting machine-specific issues long distance isn't the best idea. I'd suggest contacting your local Janome dealer for advice. Did you click on the link within the article to see the straight-stitch plate? I'm going to guess what you have is the regular plate with an oval opening. The straight stitch plate has just a single hole into which the needle drops, which is why you can't use it with a twin needle. Thread your machine as you normally would, one thread at a time . The most important thing is to make sure the threads don't get twisted. Some machines allow you to separate the threads at the tension disk--check your machine's manual. We have this short article on twin needle stitching: http://www.sew4home.com/tips-resources/sewing-tips-tricks/accessories-we...

Lorna EB said:
Lorna EB's picture

Thanks for your response, Liz - I appreciate it. Guess I'll just have to keep experimenting. I've been threading one threat at a time, but it's still twisting and one thread keeps jumping off the needle. As I mentioned above, the manual doesn't mention anything at all re using a double needle - I've read it cover to cover (it's small!). I bought the machine online, my nearest dealer being almost 200 miles away. I'll just continue to play around until I get there. Just frustrating - my lovely grandad's 101 tomorrow and I'd hoped to run up a quick skirt to wear for his birthday party. That's what I get for leaving it to the last minute! My Janome's a new machine, and I gave my ancient Toyota (which would have had no trouble with the fabric) away - wish I'd kept it now! All sorts of lessons learnt from this one! Thanks again x

MerriZDozie said:
MerriZDozie's picture

I was very impressed with the comprehensive information provided and can't wait to try a new project with all this new found knowledge!

Jayne Dougkas said:
Jayne Dougkas's picture

Thank you, thank you.  Everything I've always wanted to know, in one place.  Will start working with knits very soon.

Thenuka said:
Thenuka's picture

What is the best knit material for babie's night wear?Why?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Thenuka - ready-made baby nightwear must adhere to a number of regulations regarding flame retardant qualities. So, when purchasing your own fabric, you will need to do your own research to determine the knits that carry this quality. In reality, it is a matter of personal preference - so it's not a question we can answer with any kind of guarantee. Many people like organic fabrics for baby items. We like the collections available from Cloud9 Fabrics. But, you should really decide what your own comfort level is regarding flame retardant qualities. Here is Cloud9: http://cloud9fabrics.com/pastcollections.html

bellsam said:
bellsam's picture

wow this seems hard. I haven't sewn in over ten yrs but I have a ton of project ideas

TaneshaN said:
TaneshaN's picture

Thanks for all the great info. on stitching with knits! I've only made one thing with knit fabric, and it was a disaster to say the least. Will try using your tutorial and information on a new project for my girls.

dora said:
dora's picture

Thank you for the great tips! I am starting to sew more with knits. Your article is a great resource!

Anonymous said:
Anonymous's picture

This is my kind of article.  I like to research my techniques and fabrics before I start a project and I appreciate the completeness of this article.  It was most helpful and reassuring that I can do it!

Bridget B. said:
Bridget B.'s picture

I love sewing baby hats with the Michael Miller knit fabrics. Thank you for the knit tips!

teagster said:
teagster's picture

This is super helpful! Opens ups some new possibilities for me.

Nicole Blum said:
Nicole Blum's picture

I love sewing with knits and never heard of their bad rep until after I had a million successes. I do sew with  Janome and if it is true that they are helpful to making it easy, then everyone should run out and get one.  This was a great article on the ins and outs!

Lana T said:
Lana T's picture

This is such great fabric next to your skin and love the instructions!

kittyannart said:
kittyannart's picture

Excellent, concise tute!  I love sewing with knits, they are very forgiving most of the time and come in such an array of fun prints! Thanks! 

MarciaFlorida said:
MarciaFlorida's picture

While I will never be a knit wit, now I know where to come to refresh myself when sewing with knits for babes and others. sew4home and fabric.com

Laura Adams said:
Laura Adams's picture

Thanks for posting this...I shied away from buying a knit fabric because I was "afraid" of it. No more fear!

Sabine said:
Sabine's picture

Thanks for this very detailed entry. I have all these stiches too, but kinda end up with zick zack everytime, because I am unsure about when to use the others.

crystal austin said:
crystal austin's picture

WOW!  Thank you for posting.  Great tips.  I need to start sewing knits.  I could make cute clothes for my daughter.

 

vickit said:
vickit's picture

When I was younger I used to sew using knit fabric all the time. Of course, I had no idea what I was doing or anything about the types of knit at all. I guess I was just lucky that things turned out so well. I am so happy to see all the awesome information from this one tutorial in one spot like this. It's SO helpful because now that I'm sewing things for Grandchildren, I don't want it to be just 'luck' if something turns out ok or not. Fabric costs a lot more now than it did when I was younger and nope, not gonna say how many years ago that was. HAHA  Thank you so much again for this info.

aslbrat said:
aslbrat's picture

I love the articles where you give tips and trick on how to sew with different matierials. 

dmarie006 said:
dmarie006's picture

Thanks for this turorial.  I have found so many cute prints that use knit, but I haven't really worked with knit before.  This will really come in handy.

The fabric that I like the most is Riley Blake Zoofari.  It can be used for a lot of different things.  I'd like to see a pattern for a sleep sack or swaddle.  They are so cute and so popular these days.

Crisa said:
Crisa's picture

Thanks for the tutorial! I love the Animal Parade fabric by Ana Davis at fabric.com! I would like to learn how to make a highchair cover.

SunnySewing said:
SunnySewing's picture

I love all the flannel, minky and fleece over at Fabric.com; however, I've always had a soft spot for Pooh.  I'd pick my favorite to be sleepy Pooh Nursery Sleepy Z's in Cream.  

As for projects, I'd love to see a baby sling on here.  One that goes over your shoulder and holds the baby close to you. 

Thanks for the chance to win!

The Lucky Ladybug said:
The Lucky Ladybug's picture

My favorite baby fabric is Michael Miller Gypsy Bandana Gypsy Paisley Pink/Lime and I'd love to see more diaper bag designs :)

Dreamsofseams said:
Dreamsofseams's picture

Thank you so much for the details on stitching with knits!  This is the only place I've seen more than just advice to "use a zigzag or stretch stitch."

LynnD said:
LynnD's picture

The link to the tutorial comes up as "not found".  Anyone else have that problem?  I'm really looking forward to trying some of these ideas but I'm new to knits.

Thanks!

Tina C said:
Tina C's picture

I love making garments with knit!  People should know that fleece fabric is knit.  I did not, and suffered a bit on my first fleece project...

Anna from Prague said:
Anna from Prague's picture

Really big THANK YOU for this tutorial. It´s very helpful for me!

Greetengs from Prague :-*

Jane Coombs said:
Jane Coombs's picture

Timely tips as I am making infinity scarves. I am going to adjust the pressure on the presser foot. I tried the walking foot and the feed dog ate the fabric. Thanks.

smiledi said:
smiledi's picture

Thanks for the great tips! Love the "visible hem stitch" :) Another great use for a twin needle on knits is in topstitching--it makes the seams look so professional! (Maybe you mentioned that and I just missed it? I had to skim through parts of it quickly!) 

 I'm not trying to contradict, but I have successfully sewn on interlock knits with a straight stitch (sometimes even without a ballpoint needle) without the stitches coming out like you showed--strange! But I'm glad to know that if I ever do have trouble with my seams on knit fabrics, there are plenty of things I can try to remedy the problem!

 And a question--do you have any examples of what a warp knit fabric would be? I'm trying to picture what that would look like, and I think I'm only familiar with the weft knit things. I'm curious! But going to check out the thermal knits on fabric.com now--need to make some sweatpants for my little guy. Thanks for the link! 

hilary said:
hilary's picture

What a great article but I agree with smiledi about using a straight stitch.  I sew almost exclusively with knits as I love them so much for their versatility. In the 80's I completed many stretch classes such as KnitWit and Knit'nStretch and they always recommended a straight stitch with a tiny bit of stretch built in. I have never had any trouble.  Thanks for the article :)

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ smiledi - tricot would be one of the most common exampes of a warp knit.

Gayle Mitchel said:
Gayle Mitchel's picture

I sew for 5 (!!) grandchildren and am having ALOT of difficulty finding ribbing.  When my child was small, poly or ploy/cotton blend ribbing could be found in a big box store and purchased by the yard.  Not anymore!  Do you have any suggestions where I might look?

Alana said:
Alana's picture

Ribbing is sold on some websites, but it is very expensive (usually around 0.25/inch). You'd probably be better off buying a rib-knit fabric by the yard and cutting your own ribbing.

Pages

Add new comment

*Sew4Home reserves the right to restrict comments that don’t relate to the article, contain profanity, personal attacks or promote personal or other business.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.