I wanted to share some tips on getting started with sewing knit fabrics. The first thing you will need is a ball point needle. Ball point needles are made especially for sewing with jersey knits and other fabrics with some stretch/give. I used a size 12 needle for the cardigan. If you were sewing with fabric with LOTS of stretch (i.e. athletic wear) you should use a stretch needle. Here is what they look like when you buy them at the store:
Next, some machines do have a stretch stitch built in. It looks like a very narrow zig zag or a skinny lightening bolt. If you don't have one, you may be able to adjust your machine's zig zag to be very narrow. Stitch #3 is what it looks like on my machine:
Now to be perfectly honest, I did not use this stitch on my cardigan. I actually used a straight stitch but lengthened it to a 3. I wanted to make it in a simple way in case a student had a machine that could not be adjusted or had the built in stitch.
Lastly, I used a twin needle to hem my knit projects. Knit fabrics do not fray so I simply folded my edges under, lightly ironed and then sewed them using the twin needle. Some machines come with a twin needle but I would suggest buying a twin needle made especially for jersey/stretch fabrics.
Here is my twin needle:
Here is the twin needle stitching up close:
For even more detailed information on how to sew with knits, I would encourage you to read this BLOG POST by Tilly and the Buttons. Or you can Pin it and read it later using this link: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/157344580707411967/. It is a good read and worth saving.
I will work on putting together a tutorial on how to use a twin needle on your sewing machine. It is actually REALLY easy and it is how I hem maxi skirts that friends give me to hem that are way too long for them. I understand that the twin needle can be a little intimidating but with a little prep, they really are okay! Will be back with that tutorial soon.