It feel like I’ve been sewing for years, but quite honestly, I’ve only been sewing for 2 years. I’m still wet behind the ears and have lots to learn. But I will say this, although I’m probably considered a newbie in the sewing community … somethings are just meant to jump right in.
So what am I talking about!? The mysterious BAD REP that knit gets! What is it with Knits that make sewist run in fear? Here are some of my theories:
-It’s too stretchy
-It’s hard to work with
-I don’t have a serger
-I don’t know which stitch to use
WHILE I can see some of these being viable excuses. I think you need to get the knit is scary mentality out of your head! I’m going to go through with you some easy tips to help you to get you past your fear!
I found the easiest and beginner friendly pattern for knits is the Curvy Wardrobe Builder T by Wardrobe by Me. This is available in sizes 0-24 and can be found here. I decided to use the WBM Curvy Tee Builder because it is straight to the point and offers great visual and written instructions. The design is great for newbies or pros just the like.
Curvy Wardrobe Builder T features:
-size 14-24 if you’re looking for smaller sizes you can find sizing 0-16 here.
-4 sleeve lengths
-2 body lengths with optional ruching
So, I’m rambling and back to my main point. Knits. Lets talk about prepping for sewing with knits.
First things first, make sure you pre-wash your knit fabric! Knit will shrink a considerable amount, some more/less than others.
Make sure you read the fabric requirements on any given design. The reason being is that their are different variations of knit fabrics. Most common are 2-way stretch and 4-way and they stretch the way they state. 2-way is either (left to right or up or down) and 4-way stretches in all the directions. So make sure you are paying attention to the stretch when cutting your pieces.
Depending on which type of knit you use…Jersey knit will roll and roll some more. For cutting purposes, make sure to to use weights or something that can hold it down temporary so you get a nice cut. If you haven’t yet invested in a cutting mat and rotatory cutter, now would be a good time to do so. But a good pair of fabric scissors will work just as well! Its always best to use pins or wonder-clips when sewing. This will ensure the fabric stays in place and prevent frustrations.
If you want to prep jersey knit fabric that does roll excessively, grab an iron and spray starch and press on the fabric. Make sure sure you don’t drag the iron across the fabric as it may mess with the fit of the fabric.
You need to make sure you have a new ball point knit needle. YES, it makes a huge difference. Especially to those who are new to sewing knits. You might get Vets who have bad habits and will tell you… “Oh, I use whatever needle that’s in my machine.” Well, while that may work for them. If you don’t have a fresh ball point knit needle. Some frustrations are about to hit the roof quick. Here is a picture of what I use. They can be found at any large chain store that have a sewing section or at your local fabric shops.
Figure out the direction of stretch. The pattern pieces for the CWBT have on the pattern piece which way the stretch should go. But some designers do not list it on the pieces. So, you want the greatest amount of stretch going ( left and right or whichever way that will give you the greatest amount of movement when on) when you place the pattern piece down. Remember this saying “you want the stretch in your favor.”
So once you’ve printed and cut out all of the pieces. You’re probably wondering what now!? lol I just recently got a serger. Prior to, I used my sewing machine, so I will walk you through!
Stitch: You will want to use your stretch stitch, which is the lighting bolt as shown in photo. So why the stretch stitch? This allows the knit fabric to stretch the way its supposed to. If you use a straight stitch the knit ends up being constricted and can’t fully stretch how its meant to. While the appearance may look perfect on the right side of the fabric. Once pulled on the wrong side of the fabric, the straight stitch will more likely than not have popping of the seams.
Tension: its always better to have a lower tension when working with knits. Prior to sewing, it would be a good time to practice with a piece of scrap to see how the stitch and tension will work.
Needle: BALL POINT knit needle is a must!
So you’ve prepped your machine and cut your fabric. You’re set. The ballpoint will prevent the fabric from being eaten by the machine. A good rule of thumb is to practice on scrap if you’re not comfortable with sewing knits.
While you think you’re not stretching the fabric, you probably are. So be extra careful not to stretch the fabric. The reason being is you will get waviness in the hems. While a simple iron and steam may help. Sometimes waviness can be prevented if you make sure not to pull.
If you find that the fabric needs stabilizing, simply sandwich the fabric with tissue, oven or toilet paper. I know it may sound weird. But its a quick fix on keeping your knit fabric from slipping and stretching (causing waviness.) Once your seam is sewed, simply tear away the paper and you’ll have a nice clean seam.
Quick run through with a Serger. I always do a test run with my settings and tension to make sure I’ll get a nice clean finish with knits. The same as stated above make sure you’re not pulling, to prevent waviness.
Lastly hemming, using a light weight interfacing or wash away hem tape will help prevent puckering and waviness in the hem. They are not essential, but it helps to keep the knit in place. If you have a double needle this would be a perfect time to use it. This offers a professional finish. While not necessary a simple stretch stitch will work just as well.
Good Thing to Remember: Knit doesn’t fray. So its up to you whether or not you want to finish the hems.
If you need anymore help don’t hesitate to send me a message or comment. If you would like more tips in the sewing community or want to purchase the pattern, I will link all community pages and websites below are below ❤
Wardrobe by Me (Affiliate link)
all link listed in regards to Wardrobe By Me are affiliate links ❤