Sewing with Knits...It CAN Be Fun!comments (5) January 6th, 2009
Knits encompass everything from Polarfleece to T-shirts and from "slinky" to sweater fabric. Sewing on knits can be a joy or a trial. Make sure to have these tools and tips in your head and everything will run smoothly!
First, use the correct needle. This is crucial to sewing with knits. Make sure to use a 75/11 stretch needle for thin, stretchy knits, and a larger needle such as an 80/12 stretch for heavier knits.
For seams, I have found that what works best is creating the seam with the appropriate seam allowance then topstitching or edgestitching. This does two things. First, for thick or heavy knits, it "debulks" the seams, especially if you topstitch with a twin needle. Second, for thin knits, top or edgestitching reinforces the seam and prevents the seam allowance from rolling over itself.
Stitch length is an important component as well. Lengthen your stitch length slightly (one or two selections longer than your default setting) or use a knit stitch that can be found on some sewing machines. This stitch is often referred to as the lightning stitch as it looks like a bolt of lightning. A longer stitch length allows the stretchy fibers of the knit to move slightly. Too narrow of a stitch length could cause some of the knit fibers to break or your seam to pop. Remember always to test your seam's construction before sewing your project.
Sewing buttonholes on knit requires one simple step. Iron on a square of fusible knit interfacing to the wrong side of the knit in addition to whatever normal stabilizer you use for buttonholes before sewing. The fusible knit interfacing will allow you just a little more stabilization needed for knits while the knit interfacing will allow the knit to still look, feel, and move like a knit...not as though you fused a piece of cardboard to your swimsuit buttonhole!
The perks of sewing with knits are, to me, endless. Not only do they allow for a more flattering fit than wovens when used in garment sewing, but they also don't ravel! The only exception to this is a sweater. For that, use a simple zigzag stitch finish on your edges.