Knits are my favorite feel good project – they’re usually quick, super satisfying and fit really well into my wardrobe. But, knits are something a lot of new sewists are terrified of – the stretch aspect, the use of the serger, how the heck do you hem them? The list goes on and on.
I started sewing knits shortly after starting sewing and I’ve rounding up my 5 tips for sewing with knits that will lead you to success each knit project!
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One | Pick the right fabric
Knit fabrics are even more diverse than woven fabrics in my opinion. One french terry can look very different from another. Making sure you have the right fabric for your project can be make or break. I always look at the pattern recommended fabrics first – what does the pattern maker suggest? Chances are that’s what their txesters used in the test phase so you know they’re tried and true!
Here’s some general guidelines I follow for picking knit fabrics:
- Drapey T-Shirt Dress like the Panama Tee Dress? Pick a bamboo french terry or bamboo knit fabric. Rayon knits are beautiful too, but they pill if you put them in the dryer – beware! Example fabrics: Bamboo French Terry from Style Maker Fabrics or Bamboo Spandex Knit from Style Maker Fabrics
- A t-shirt like the Union Street Tee? I love a bamboo knit for t-shirts. It’s the perfect amount of drape. Just make sure you don’t pick one that is super heavy in weight. That Bamboo Spandex Knit from Style Maker Fabrics mentioned above is perfect.
- A sweatshirt like the Halifax Sweatshirt? I like to use a more structured knit for a sweatshirt like a french terry with spandex in it. Raspberry Creek Fabric’s CLUB line has great french terry spandex that’s 4 way stretch. I’ve made 2 Halifax sweatshirts out of it. Another option for a sweatshirt is their Lyocell fleece. I haven’t used it myself, but I’ve seen so many awesome sweatshirts in it!
- A most structured dress or shirt like the Molly Dress or Willow Top? I love a good ponte, liverpool or double knit for these! This is my favorite ponte knit from Style Maker Fabrics. This double knit from Style Maker Fabrics would be perfect for a work dress.
Two | Use Clips not Pins
When you go to start sewing your knit project, it’s infinitely easier to use clips instead of pins. Knits tend to roll and the clips hold those edges together a lot easier pins do. Clover makes a set of clips called wonder pins which are great, but I find any knock off brand to be just as good (and cheaper!).
Three | Hem Tape
Oh hem tape, you changed my life when it came to hemming knits. I used to never do it! Till I discovered the Thermoweb Heat n Bond hem tape. It makes it so however you chose to hem you knits (coverstitch or with a double needle), there is not any tunneling. You can read my tutorial about hem tape here!
Four | Serger
For me, a serger was a 100% game change in my knit sewing game. Not only is a much more professional look for your knit garments, it’s so much faster. I can sew up something on my serger infinitely faster than on my sewing machine. I have the Bernina Serger, which is a bit pricey, but I never have any issues with it. A lot of people also love the Brother 1034D which is a more affordable option. Don’t be afraid of sergers – they can be your best friend!
Five |Pick the right needle
One thing I underestimated when I started sewing was the different types of sewing needles for your sewing machine. Making sure you have the right needle for your project is so helpful! I recommend a ballpoint needle and a stretch double needle for hemming.
Bonus! | Coverstitch Machine
My bonus tip is about coverstitch machines. I LOVE mine – but, do I think it’s totally necessary? No. It’s one of those “nice to haves” in sewing, but I used to think that without a coverstitch I could never get professional looking knits. If you use hem tape and a double needle you can easily create professional looking garments without a coverstitch.
If a coverstitch is in your budget, I really recommend the one I have – the Bernette Coverstitch is the sister brand of Bernina. It’s super easy to use and reliable.
What are your favorite tips for sewing knits?
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