I’ve been sewing for as long as I can remember but curiously never with knits. Recently I was inspired to do so but had a couple of false starts. The first garment I made, I sewed with the stretch going the wrong way and the second I used the wrong stitch on my machine so the seams have all gathered and look unsightly.
Here then is my Beginner’s Guide to Sewing with Knits, so that you don’t make the same mistakes I did!
Sewing Machine Preparation
- Make sure you’ve got a ballpoint needle in your overlocker. If you use a sharp or universal needle, it will break the fibres in the fabric and cause ladders, just as in a knitted jumper.
- Make sure you’ve got a ballpoint needle in your sewing machine
- Make sure your sewing machine is set to stretch/lightning or zig zag stitch. You can’t use a normal stitch because it won’t stretch with the fabric and will cause breakages and puckers.
Pattern and Fabric Preparation
- Have you chosen a pattern suitable for knits? If you sew a knit pattern in woven fabric, it will come out too small; if you sew a woven pattern in knit fabric it will come out too big.
- Have you printed and taped the correct pages (for PDF patterns)?
- Have you prewashed your fabrics?
- Is the fabric laid out correctly:
- Is the stretch going in the right direction?
- Is the pattern going in the right direction?
Sewing the Fabric
- Are you using the correct seam allowance?
Finishing the Garment
- If using a rolled hem:
- Have you selected the rolled hem setting/changed the plate?
- Have you altered the tension?
- Have you removed the fourth (left needle) thread?
I’ve created a printable for you to pin up in your sewing room – I do hope you find it useful.