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SusieQOH 05-29-2021 12:49 PM

Need some help sewing with knit fabric
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Hey all,
I bought a few patterns to make my granddaughter some clothes and one of them calls for a knit fabric. I've never worked with knits- well I think I did a long time ago and didn't enjoy it.
Anyway- any advice is appreciated. The pattern is for a sleeveless romper. I bought some snap tape for the crotch.

I'm really only skilled at working with cotton. I think I remember you use a ballpoint needle.

bearisgray 05-29-2021 01:00 PM

Ballpoint needle is good.

Knits can be sewn with a straight stitch machine. Lengthen the stitch, Stretch the fabric and sew - for example - if one usually uses a 2.5 stitch length setting (maybe 10-12 stitches per inch?) lengthen the stitch length to 3.0 (or so).

For methods, Google: Stretch and Sew

Practice on scraps.

Knits vary from little or no stretch to almost doubling in width or length. Generally, the fabric is cut so that it is more stretch going around the body.

Most knits do not ravel - check to make sure it isn't a "runner" - like nylon stockings or pantyhose - so hems only need to be turned up once.

Generally, the seam allowances are only 1/4 -3/8 inch .

bearisgray 05-29-2021 01:07 PM


I usually like to wash my fabrics before cutting them.

Single knits will curl on the edges when dried in a dryer. Maybe sewing the ends together will help minimize that? So - I don't really know what to recommend - I wash - and fight with the curling edges. Not totally sure it's worth the battle.

Double knits are a dream to work with.

Stretch fabrics like heavy spandex types of fabric are challenging for me - skipped stitches, etc.

Those pretty fabrics with the mini-sequins printed on them? Cute - but I have had trouble with skipped stitches using them.

For older people - I usually put two rows of stitching on the crotch seam - 1/8 inch apart.

Tartan 05-29-2021 01:36 PM

As others have said, try a sample to see what stitch works best with your machine. No use cutting it all out if you can’t sew it.

pocoellie 05-29-2021 04:22 PM

I remember most of the seam allowances were 5/8", I basted first, then did a stretch stitch, I did another line of stitching on the crotch area. Make sure your pattern is designed for knits and measure the stretch of the fabric with the "stretch" line on the back of the pattern envelope.

mojo11 05-30-2021 04:02 AM

You could also use a very narrow zig-zag stitch. Will help with stretching.

peaceandjoy 05-30-2021 05:10 AM

I don't remember what the stitch is called, but many DSM have a stitch that looks like a lightning bolt that works great for knit fabrics.

SuzzyQ 05-30-2021 11:16 PM

When you by your knit fabric....give it a tug crosswise to see that it stretches enough as per the guide on the pattern envelope. This will also tell you if the edges will curl when cut/washed. If it curls too much.... do not buy it.
Sewing with knits is really not much different than sewing woven fabric. Use the proper ball-point needle is possible, use a narrow zigzag for most seams, double stitch the crotch seam. The bonus is that most knits don't need seams finished - but you can if you wish for neatness sake. The special stitch that peaceandjoy suggests also works well for sewing seams. If your machine will take a double needle, hems will be a snap too - Google it!
I sewed t-shirts for my husband for work from fabrics I bought by the pound - white cotton knit. They lasted for years. Some I even replaced the neckline ribbing because the main fabric was still in good shape.

SusieQOH 05-31-2021 05:02 AM

Thanks, everyone! This romper is small as she's only a baby so I'll give it a whirl. The other patterns are for woven fabrics.
I don't have a serger but I have many stitches on my machine that I can use.

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