Learning to sew always begins with woven cloth tasks. Most textiles you’ll find in a fabric store are woven. Woven cloth is used in the vast majority of sewing projects.
Now, examine the clothes you wear and the clothes your children wear. Wager that a sizable chunk of your wardrobe consists of items constructed from knits. This includes things like T-shirts, leggings, sweatshirts/pants, and sweaters.
In contrast, woven is a breeze to manipulate (except for some fussy fabrics like chiffon, which tend to cause much swearing). In contrast to woven fabrics, knits have several desirable qualities that make them ideal for the production of clothing.
However, let’s take a time to discuss the distinction between woven and knit fabric as well as some helpful hints for sewing knits.
Methods for seamlessly stitching knits
Insight on stretch
It is important to learn about the cloth you will be using before beginning your project. Several types of knit fabric have different degrees of stretch. The manufacturing process, fiber composition, and overall quality are all factors. It can expand in two directions (just horizontally or only vertically) or in four (it stretches both horizontally and vertically).
In order to open wide enough to slip over but still be snug around the body, the direction of maximum stretch must go around the body part. Leggings, for example, will become too long and tight in the hips and legs if the pattern is positioned so that the stretch goes up and down.
Consider a fabric’s stretch and recovery percentages carefully if the finished garment will be on the snug side. So, say you have a stretchy cloth that doesn’t bounce back to its previous breath very easily after being stretched. It probably won’t be an issue if you’re just making a baggy T-shirt. If you try to make leggings out of it, you’ll be disappointed because the fabric doesn’t recover its original length and width after being stretched across the thighs and hips.
Using a ruler or gauge to determine stretch and recovery can help you avoid this issue.
Find the proper pins and use them
Sewing requires pinning the fabric pieces together first. Nevertheless, not every pin is the same. In order to pierce the fabric, regular straight pins need to be sharpened somewhat.
These are easier to work with since their softer point slides between the knit loops rather than piercing the thread. This prevents the strands from unraveling when the fabric is stretched. Because, hello, no one wants pinpricks of wear to show through their careful stitching!
They are alternate. Rather than using pins, you may just use these specialized plastic clips. If you don’t want to poke holes in your fabric, these are great, but you can’t use them in the middle of your stitching surface; they’re just good for the edges.
Don’t use the wrong needle
Needles used for sewing are subject to the same rules. A knit cloth cannot be sewn with a standard universal needle because of the needle’s sharp point. Ballpoint or stretch needles are recommended.
Finding the proper needle and thread
Thread breaks more readily than elastic cloth since it doesn’t stretch as much. That’s quite frustrating. Stretchy fabrics require special thread, and some people swear by a high-quality cotton thread for the job. But, too many stitches break while using it on stretchy fabrics. Thicker versions of nylon or stretch thread are sometimes used.
Get the right stitch
Any number of stitches on your sewing machine should be suitable for knit fabrics. The zig-zag is the most frequent, but there are others, such as the triple straight stitch (which looks like three vertical dashed lines), the stretch stitch (which looks like a jagged lightning bolt), and the triple zigzag stitch (which looks like a dashed zig-zag stitch).
Always practice on scrap cloth to determine the optimal stitch width, length, and tension. Long straight stitches using a ballpoint or stretch twin needle are another option.
Get a grasp on knit edgings
Due to the non-fraying nature of knits, finishing the edges is optional. Keep in mind that the edges of jersey fabric tend to curl inward towards the front. This is intentional on the front edge of this rectangle vest since it conceals the rawness of the fabric and gives the garment a more polished appearance. On the other hand, it can be a major pain if you need it to rest completely flat for any reason, such as when you’re stitching. A spray starch or iron-on stabilizer can be used to prevent this problem before stitching.
Use the feed dogs in the right way
Sewing machines include sharp metal protrusions called feed dogs that sit just below the needle plate. Every time the needle is lifted to advance the fabric, they shift positions from front to back. To help the cloth along, a light tug from behind is sometimes necessary. Do not tug the knit fabric, because else it will be too stretched out to stitch.
Use a walking foot
When working with knits, it’s not uncommon for seams to pucker and look wavy after they’ve been sewn. The latter three suggestions are useful for counteracting this effect.
Seam waviness can be prevented in the first place by using a walking foot when sewing knits.
Make use of a tissue
Tissue paper acts as a stabilizer for knits and reduces the stickiness of the laminated PUL surface, making it ideal for use when sewing. Tissue paper can be used under the fabric to prevent it from being sucked into the feed dogs. The perforation made by the needle makes it simple to peel off the paper.
Put the iron to work
In order to get the best results from your sewing project, pressing the cloth and the different seams is a must. A good steam pressing will smooth out most wavy seams when sewing knits, thus an iron can be a useful tool.
Get some scraps and try sewing knits a bit now that you know what makes knit fabric special and how to adjust for the issues coming from its stretchiness.