Knits are very suitable in making sweaters because it is soft and very stretchy. And sweaters are very important especially for those cuddle weather. Knits can be difficultto sew with, especially if you don’t know what you need to do differently than when sewing on other types of fabric. To guide you, here are some helpful tips when sewing with knits:
Prewash your material
Many sweater knits come with a hand wash and lay flat to dry recommendation,so do that first if that’s how you’ll plan to treat the finished garment. If you don’t have enough patience and time and just want to be able to wash and dry your clothes by machine, wash and dry the fabric before you get started. Just be sure that you will not put a wool sweater knit on the dryer.
Right needle is the key
It’s a good idea to use a ball point needle because it’s a stretchy fabric. These needles push fibers apart and go between them instead of poking holes through the fibers. Ball point needles are easy to find at any sewing store, and come in different weights to correspond the weight of the fabric you’re sewing.
A stretchy stitch
Anytime you sew on stretchy fabrics, your stitch must be able to stretch as well, or you’ll end up with popped seams once the garment is worn. Many sewing machines have a stretch stitch, which often looks like a lightning bolt, that is specifically made for sewing on knit materials. You can also use a zig zag stitch, a double needle, or even a standard serger stitch, as those stitches will all allow for some stretch.
To get a nice and flat seam, here are some tips that you can do:
- Lengthen your stitch length. A short stitch lengthalmost always stretches out the fabric as you sew.
- Don’t sew too close to the edge of the fabric, or it will get chewed up. Try cutting out your pattern with extra seam allowance so you can stay at least 5/8 inch away from the edge.
- Use a walking foot (often called an even feed foot).
- Up the differential feed setting on your machine (check your manual to find out where to do this). This causes the machine to feed the material under the presser foot faster, which can prevent stretched out seams.
- Decrease the pressure on the presser foot (only available on nicermachines).
- Sew a little faster. This may seems counter-intuitive,but sometimes going a little faster helps the machine feed the material more evenly.
- Be sure the material is not getting stretched out in front of the machine. Try using your fingers to gently push it under the pressure foot as you sew, and NEVER pull it from behind the presser foot.
- Use a lot of steam to help shrink stretched seams back into place.
Double needle or hem band
Hem using a double needle or hem band.You may zigzag the hem, but a double needle looks much more professional and is so easy to use.