Sewing with Knits….a story of trial and error


I had been working with knits for about six months when I finished this skirt.  I felt very accomplished.  For the first time ever, people liked my product and commented about how much they liked it.  I felt FAMOUS!  Let me tell you, this didn’t happen overnight.  Lots of things can go wrong when sewing with knit fabric. Hopefully my mishaps will be a blessing in disguise and help you avoid those same issues.Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 1.56.19 PM

1. Knit can be two way or four way stretch.  This doesn’t really matter, it all stretches right?  I used to think that too.  Then I spent about an hour or two making the ultimate tee shirt.  It looked amazing!  But, I sewed it with the stretch going vertical instead of horizontal.  In case you’ve never made this mistake, it means I couldn’t fit into the shirt.  It had no stretch at all in the areas that need to stretch.  But, I could probably pull it down far enough to wear it as a dress.  Funny, unless it’s your shirt.  haha

2. Leggings work best in a four way stretch. Yes, you can make pants to your heart’s delight in two way stretch fabric.  But, chances are the knees will bag throughout the day.  No, that is in no way flattering. A four way stretch ensures the fabric maintains a proper fit all over your legs.  It looks very professional. Maybe no one will even know you made them yourself.  Okay seriously, no one will consider you made it yourself unless you tell them.

3. Heming Isn’t really an issue, or so they say.  Most people do not hem their knit garments.  To me, this never really made sense.  I don’t find clothing at the GAP that is not hemmed. So, I have always hemmed my garments.  I’ve tried several ways.

  1. Rolled hem, this is a hem created using a rolled hem or cording foot.  This works well for some knits.  I have found it works best with those containing a little rayon.  I tried it recently with jersey.  This did not work so well.
  2. Double hem, is primarily used in the ready to wear industry.  Lots of articles and websites will tell you this cannot be done without a double needle.  Simply not true!  I have done them since day one with my normal sewing machine.  When it’s time to hem use the standard 5/8″ seam, then go over it again using the 3/8″ seam.  The same look is achieved. Now, when you tell people, because you will want them to know, you made this.  They will not believe you!  Added BONUS, no extra equipment required.
  3. Cut edge hem, again this is one I do not use because I’ve never seen it in ready to wear and it makes me self conscious.  If you like it or need to put that just finished garment on and head out for the evening.  By all means do it.  It is a time saver for sure.  This would probably be easiest to get away with when using tissue knits.
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