Thursday, January 29, 2015

Sewing with Knit Fabric

Earlier this week, I posted this cardigan that I made using the free PDF Scarf Neck pattern from Swoon Patterns.

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:  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.

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