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The Fabric Maverick says knits are perfect for Autumn!

July 22, 2008

Knits are the perfect transitional material to bridge the gap between warm weather and cold weather. Many of the Jalie and Hot Patterns are suitable for knits.

The Fabric Maverick says "Do not be afraid to work with knits" Once you have mastered the basics, you are on your way to a lovely garment. Let's get started.

A knit is a fabric made from interlocking looped stitches.  The lengthwise ribs are called wales.  The crosswise is called courses. Knits are wrinkle resistant and do not ravel. They stretch.


1.    Needle type- Ballpoint machine needle

2.    Thread: Fine polyester or poly/cotton thread for lightweight knits. Use an all purpose polyester or poly/cotton thread for medium to heavy weight knits.

3.    Elastic- No-Roll elastic is good for waistbands. Braided elastic is not good for knits.  Check out the specialty elastics for swimwear and lingerie.

4.    Interfacing: If your pattern requires interfacing, a good choice is Fusi-Knit.  This is a fusible tricot. 

Fabric preparation checklist:

·         Check to make sure the knit fabric has the proper stretch for the garment you are sewing. The pattern will indicate the amount of stretch required.

·          Check your knit for memory- the knit should return to original position after it is stretched.

·          If the knit is washable, wash it to remove excess sizing.  If there is too much sizing, you may have skipped stitches when you sew.

·         Check to see if the knit is on grain. The wales and courses should be at right-angles to each other.  If they are not, the knit will need to be blocked.

You are well on your way to making a great garment! Choose the pattern layout for fabric with nap. When cutting your fabric, do not let it hang off the cutting table. It may distort the grain. If there is a permanent fold line which will not steam out, create another fold line to cut from. You may use a straight stitch or a small zig-zag stitch. when sewing your garment. When you press your fabric, use a pressing cloth. Press the fabric, do not iron it.  When you finish the garment, let it hang for 24 hours, before marking the hem.

Many books and articles have been written about working with knit fabrics.  This is just the basics to get you started.  The Fabric Maverick always keeps a basic sewing book available to which she refers frequently.  Go create something beautiful.



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I always have trouble with knits, when sewn it seem to bunch and when you pull to straighten it breaks the thread therefore breaking the integrity of the seam..Do they use speical thread to avoid your garment coming out like this...Help

There are several possibilities for this problem. Consider these:

The pressure from your pressure foot may need adjusting when working with knits. Check your machine user's guide for making this adjustment.

Using a teflon pressure foot can help. It will not "stick" to your fabric as your steel pressure foot can do. I'm not sure if this product is still available, but you used to be able to purchase teflon (found on the notions wall of your fabric store) that could be cut to fit your pressure feet. It is/was self adhesive and works nicely.

Using a waxed paper on the presser foot plate can also help your knit fabric to glide as it is being sewn.

Hope this helps

If you don't have a serger, use a walking foot on your sewing machine when working with knits. This will prevent the fabric from stretching as you sew. Be sure not to pull the fabric behind the foot, let it lightly bunch in front of the foot, and don't let it just hang down in front of the machine. You're trying to prevent the fabric stretching behind and in front of the foot; instead, rela and let the foot do all the work. If you don't have a walking foot and sew many knits, vinyl, or bulky fabrics, it's definitely worth the investment. (usually $50-$75)

Also, regardless of the foot, choose a knit stitch rather than a straight stitch, or choose a very narrow zig-zag stitch that is the standard length of 2.5 to 3.0, or 10-12 stitches per inch. The zig-zag will allow the seam to stretch instead of popping like a straight stitch.

Finally, like sewing on wovens, be sure to put any fabric that needs to be eased is on the bottom against the feed teeth. For example, the sleeve would be against the feed teeth while the armscye is on top, which will help when easing the sleeve cap.

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This page contains a single entry by published on July 22, 2008 12:15 PM.

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