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Stretch Your Sewing Skills: Learn to Sew with KNITS

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Yes, you can sew with knits and even wear what you've made!

Knit garments are comfortable to wear, easy to fit, and they don’t wrinkle. And all this makes sewing with knits fun! Once you get the hang of sewing knit fabric, we think you’ll never want to stop

Here are some tips to get started:

1. Know your fabric: Jersey and Interlock are two types of knit fabric. Sew To Speak carries mostly jersey but here's how to tell the difference... With jersey, edges will roll in but it will not unravel and seams and hem can be left raw.

Interlock edges are flat but this knit will ravel if stretched. Interlock seams should be hemmed since if pulled they will run. Bamboo knits are jersey knits; they are very soft, and lovely to wear. Be sure to use a small needle gauge, like a 70/10 ball point on these!

2. Using the right sewing machine or serger needle makes all the difference. On jersey knits, you'll want to use a ball point needle. For very elastic knits, synthetic knits or high spandex content fabrics, you will want to use a stretch needle.

Use ball point straight pins as well. Ball point and stretch needles are designed to go in-between the fibers. If you use a needle that cuts the fibers, you'll get holes. When sewing a finer fabric use a smaller needle gauge. Do a test swatch and give it some tug to see if your needle makes a hole. If so, use a smaller ball point.

3. A twin needle can be used on most sewing machines. This will make two rows of straight stitches that you can stretch because on the back side they make a zig zag. Stop in and we'll give you a demo!

Here's a tutorial I found online by Make It and Love it. She explains how to use at the twin needle and what to do if you don't have an extra thread spool holder.

Photo from Make it & Love it website. Link on photo!

4. Use a walking foot when sewing on a standard sewing machine to sew stretchy fabric. A serger has a “differential” setting which will totally get rid of any stretching that happens during sewing. Sergers are awesome, especially for knits!!

5. A narrow zig zag stitch will give the stretch you need for knits if you're using your sewing machine to sew knits. Many machines have a stretch stitch for knits. Try some different stitches on scrap fabric. I like to lengthen my stitch when using my stretch stitch on my sewing machine.

6. Always sew a test swatch of fabric to see how your knit will respond to your machine and your needle before putting your fabric in harms way.

7. When serging, test a swatch of your fabric to adjust the differential. This setting is magical!

Here's a knit serger without the correct differential setting. The fabric stretches out. You'll notice your sewing machine stretches your fabric too.

Here's a seam with the correct differential setting. The knit doesn't stretch out and your garment looks 100% better!
8. Use a double sided hem tape to secure your hem before you sew it. This will help control the rolling of the fabric and keep your hem secured and the fabric from stretching while you sew your hem. We like Bohin double sided tape, and we have it in stock.

9. Don’t be afraid to go for it!! I used to avoid knits because I was nervous about how it would come out, but now I look for garment patterns made for knits. They are quick, easy to fit and comfortable! Have an idea, question, or problem, or just want to come and check out our line-up of beautiful knit fabrics? Come in and talk with us!


Also, check out these other sources for information: Colette's Blog has a bunch of other great tips.

Llady Bird also has some help for you.

Here is some info about my favorite Juki's for working with knits:

The Juki Mo-1000 is an amazing easy to thread, air-powered, self-threading serger. This baby changed my sewing game. It's easy to use. The loopers thread in seconds and it has a needle threader that works for both needles. It cuts, sews and finishes all in one simple, fast process. You must try one!

I recently took home a Juki cover-stitch machine. This one sews a perfect professional hem. The great part is that it has differential feed so your knits won't stretch as you hem.

The MCS-1700 comes with a free hem guide. It makes a perfectly finished hem, catching the raw edge with no trouble.

Don't worry about those mismatched stripes. That's the back side.

Professional looking hems are a breeze!!

Our Juki's come with free training and the wonderful Juki warranty!

Stop in for a test drive.

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