Sewing on knit fabric can be a daunting task for many beginners. The stretchy nature of knit fabric requires special techniques and tools to ensure a professional finish. But fear not! With the right knowledge and practice, you too can become a master at sewing on knit fabric.
First and foremost, it’s important to choose the right needle for your knit fabric. A ballpoint or stretch needle is recommended, as it has a rounded tip that slides between the fibers without piercing them. This helps prevent snags and runs in the fabric, ensuring a clean and smooth stitch.
Next, adjust your sewing machine settings to accommodate the stretchiness of knit fabric. Lowering the tension and using a longer stitch length can help prevent the fabric from puckering or stretching out of shape. Additionally, using a walking foot or a stretch stitch on your machine can provide extra stability and prevent the fabric from slipping or stretching while sewing.
When cutting out your pattern pieces, be sure to use sharp fabric scissors or a rotary cutter to prevent fraying. It’s also a good idea to stabilize the fabric before sewing by applying fusible interfacing or clear elastic to the seam allowances. This helps prevent stretching and distortion during the sewing process.
Remember, patience and practice are key when sewing on knit fabric. Take your time, experiment with different techniques, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. With each project, you’ll gain more confidence and skill, and soon you’ll be sewing on knit fabric like a pro!
Step 1: Gather Materials
Before you start sewing on knit fabric, it’s important to gather all the necessary materials. Here’s a list of items you’ll need:
- Knit fabric
- Sewing machine
- Ballpoint or stretch needle
- All-purpose thread
- Pins or clips
- Iron and ironing board
- Optional: fabric stabilizer or spray starch
Make sure to choose a knit fabric that is suitable for the project you have in mind. Consider the weight, stretch, and composition of the fabric. For beginners, it’s recommended to start with stable knits like interlock or jersey.
Additionally, using the right needle is crucial when sewing on knit fabric. A ballpoint or stretch needle will prevent damage to the fabric and ensure smooth stitching.
Remember to have all your materials and tools ready before you begin sewing on knit fabric. This will save you time and make the sewing process much smoother.
What You’ll Need to Sew on Knit Fabric
Before you get started sewing on knit fabric, make sure you have the following supplies:
- Knit fabric: Choose a knit fabric that is appropriate for your project. Look for fabrics labeled as “knit” or “jersey,” as these are typically the best options for sewing with knit fabric.
- Sewing machine: You’ll need a sewing machine that can handle stretchy fabrics. Look for a machine with a stretch or knit stitch setting, as this will help prevent the stitches from breaking when the fabric stretches.
- Ballpoint needle: When sewing on knit fabric, it’s important to use a ballpoint needle. This type of needle has a rounded tip that will help prevent the needle from piercing through the fabric and causing runs or tears.
- Thread: Choose a thread that matches the color of your fabric. Polyester thread is a good choice for sewing on knit fabric, as it is strong and stretchy.
- Pins or clips: Use pins or clips to hold the fabric pieces together while sewing. When working with knit fabric, it can be helpful to use clips instead of pins, as they won’t leave holes or snags in the fabric.
- Fabric scissors: Make sure you have a pair of sharp fabric scissors for cutting out your pattern pieces. Avoid using dull scissors, as they can cause frayed edges on the fabric.
- Seam ripper: Having a seam ripper on hand can be helpful in case you need to remove any stitches and start over.
- Fabric marking tool: Use a fabric marking tool to transfer any pattern markings or seam lines onto the fabric.
- Iron and ironing board: A hot iron and ironing board will be needed to press the fabric and seams as you sew.
With these supplies on hand, you’ll be well-equipped to sew on knit fabric and create beautiful, professional-looking garments.
Step 2: Prepare the Fabric
Before you start sewing on knit fabric, it’s important to properly prepare the fabric to ensure a successful outcome. Here are the steps you should follow:
- Wash and Dry: Begin by pre-washing and drying the fabric according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This helps to remove any sizing or chemicals that may be on the fabric and prevents shrinkage after sewing.
- Press: Once the fabric is dry, press it using a low heat setting on your iron. Be sure to use a pressing cloth to protect the fabric and avoid stretching or distorting the knit.
- Lay Flat: Lay the fabric flat on a clean, smooth surface. Smooth out any wrinkles or unevenness in the fabric to ensure accurate cutting and sewing.
- Pattern Placement: If you are using a pattern, carefully consider the placement of the pattern pieces on the fabric. Pay attention to the direction of the fabric’s stretch and any design elements you want to showcase.
- Pin or Use Weights: To keep the fabric in place while cutting, you can either pin the pattern pieces to the fabric or use pattern weights. If using pins, be sure to use fine pins to avoid leaving noticeable holes in the fabric.
- Cut with a Rotary Cutter or Scissors: Cut the fabric according to the pattern markings using either a rotary cutter and mat or sharp fabric shears. Make sure to cut with smooth, even strokes to maintain the integrity of the fabric.
- Finish the Edges: To prevent fraying, it’s a good idea to finish the raw edges of the fabric before sewing. You can use a serger, zigzag stitch, or overlock stitch on your sewing machine, or even use a simple hemming technique if desired.
By following these steps to prepare your knit fabric, you’ll be ready to move on to the next stage of sewing with confidence and produce professional-looking results.
Prepping the Knit Fabric for Sewing
Before you start sewing on knit fabric, it is important to properly prep the fabric to ensure the best results. Follow these steps to prepare your knit fabric for sewing:
- Pre-wash the fabric: It is recommended to pre-wash your knit fabric before sewing to account for any potential shrinkage. Check the fabric care instructions to determine the appropriate washing method.
- Dry the fabric: Once the fabric is washed, dry it according to the fabric care instructions. It is important to ensure the fabric is completely dry before sewing to prevent any distortion.
- Press the fabric: Use an iron to press the knit fabric on a low heat setting. Be careful not to apply too much pressure or leave the iron on one spot for too long, as this can stretch or distort the fabric.
- Prepare the cutting surface: Lay out a clean cutting surface, such as a cutting mat or a large table, to work on. Make sure the surface is smooth and free of any dirt or debris that could snag the fabric.
By properly prepping the knit fabric, you will help prevent any unwanted surprises or issues that may arise during the sewing process. Taking the time to pre-wash, dry, press, and prepare the cutting surface will ensure a successful sewing experience with your knit fabric.
Step 3: Choose the Right Needle and Thread
When sewing on knit fabric, it’s important to choose the right needle and thread to ensure a successful and professional-looking outcome. Here are some tips to help you make the right choice:
1. Needle Selection:
a. Ballpoint or Jersey Needle: These types of needles are designed specifically for knit fabrics. They feature a rounded tip that slides between the knit fibers without causing damage. Using a ballpoint or jersey needle helps prevent skipped stitches or fabric snags.
b. Stretch Needle: If you’re working with a particularly stretchy knit fabric, consider using a stretch needle. These needles have a longer and more flexible shaft that provides extra elasticity while sewing.
2. Thread Selection:
a. Polyester Thread: Polyester thread is a popular choice for sewing knit fabrics due to its durability and stretch. It can withstand the tension and stretch of the fabric without breaking or snapping.
b. Wooly Nylon Thread: Wooly nylon thread is another suitable option for sewing knits. It provides excellent stretch and flexibility, making it ideal for sewing seams on stretchy knit fabrics.
3. Matching the Thread to the Fabric:
When choosing the thread color, it’s essential to match it to the fabric. If you can’t find an exact match, it’s generally best to select a slightly darker thread color rather than a lighter one. This way, any imperfections or stitching will be less noticeable.
Remember: Always test your chosen needle and thread combination on a scrap piece of fabric before starting your project. This will help you ensure that you have selected the right needle and thread and that they are suitable for your specific knit fabric type.
Selecting the Perfect Tools for Sewing on Knit Fabrics
When sewing on knit fabrics, it is essential to use the right tools to ensure professional and successful results. Here are some tools you’ll need to have on hand:
- Sewing machine: Choose a sewing machine with stretch stitches or a zigzag stitch option. This will allow you to sew the seams of knit fabrics while maintaining elasticity.
- Ballpoint or stretch needle: These needles are specifically designed for knit fabrics. They have rounded tips that push the fibers aside instead of piercing them, reducing the risk of snags or runs in the fabric.
- Walking foot: A walking foot helps to feed the knit fabric evenly through the sewing machine, preventing stretching or distortion. This foot is especially useful when working with thicker or more slippery knit fabrics.
- Ballpoint pins: Ballpoint pins have rounded tips that glide between the knit fabric’s fibers, rather than piercing them. This reduces the risk of creating snags or holes in the fabric.
- Snips or small scissors: These tools are handy for trimming threads and making small cuts while sewing.
- Sewing gauge: A sewing gauge is a helpful tool for measuring seam allowances, hems, and other small measurements.
- Seam ripper: Mistakes happen, so it’s always good to have a seam ripper on hand for removing stitches when needed.
- Thread: Choose a good quality polyester or cotton-wrapped polyester thread that matches the color of your fabric.
Having these tools ready and at your disposal will make sewing on knit fabrics a breeze. Now that you have all the essential tools, let’s move on to the next step – preparing your fabric and machine.
Step 4: Set Up Your Sewing Machine
Before you start sewing on knit fabric, it’s important to set up your sewing machine properly. Here are the steps to get your machine ready:
- Gather the necessary tools: You will need a sewing machine, a universal needle suitable for knit fabrics, polyester thread, and a bobbin filled with matching thread.
- Insert the needle: Follow your sewing machine’s instructions to insert the universal needle correctly. Make sure the flat side of the needle faces the back of the machine.
- Thread the machine: Take the thread and pass it through the machine’s threading path, following the arrows or numbers on the machine. Make sure to thread the upper thread correctly and wind the bobbin.
- Adjust the tension: Most sewing machines have a tension dial or knob. Adjust the tension according to the fabric and thread you are using. For knit fabrics, you may need to lower the tension slightly to prevent puckering or stretching.
- Select the stitch: Choose a stretch stitch or a zigzag stitch on your machine. These stitches are ideal for sewing knit fabrics because they allow for stretch without breaking the stitches.
- Test the settings: It’s always a good idea to test your machine’s settings on a scrap piece of fabric before sewing on your actual project. This way, you can make any necessary adjustments and ensure the stitch looks just right.
By following these steps, you’ll have your sewing machine properly set up and ready to sew on knit fabric like a pro!
Getting Your Machine Ready for Sewing Knit Fabric
Before you start sewing on knit fabric, it’s important to make sure your sewing machine is set up correctly. Here are the steps to get your machine ready:
- Choose the right needle: Knit fabric requires a special type of needle called a ballpoint or stretch needle. These needles have a rounded tip that glides between the fibers of the knit fabric without tearing or snagging it.
- Thread your machine: Use a high-quality polyester or cotton thread that matches the color of your fabric. Make sure to thread your machine correctly, following the instructions in your sewing machine manual.
- Select the right stitch: Knit fabric stretches, so it’s important to choose a stitch that will accommodate this stretch. The best stitch options for sewing knit fabric are a zigzag stitch or a stretch stitch. These stitches provide the flexibility needed for the fabric to stretch without breaking the seams.
- Adjust the tension: Knit fabric requires a lower tension setting on your sewing machine. Refer to your sewing machine manual for instructions on adjusting the tension. It’s a good idea to test the stitch and tension on a scrap piece of fabric before sewing on your actual project.
- Use a walking foot: A walking foot is a helpful tool when sewing knit fabric. It helps to evenly feed the fabric through the machine, preventing stretching or distortion. If you don’t have a walking foot, you can try using a straight stitch foot or a roller foot instead.
- Test your machine: Before you start sewing on your actual project, it’s recommended to test your machine settings on a scrap piece of knit fabric. This will give you a chance to make any necessary adjustments and ensure that your machine is properly set up for sewing knit fabric.
By following these steps and getting your machine ready, you’ll be well-prepared to sew on knit fabric like a pro!
Step 5: Test Your Stitches
Before you begin sewing your garment or project on the knit fabric, it’s always a good idea to test your stitches on a scrap piece of fabric. This will help you determine the appropriate tension, stitch length, and needle size for your specific fabric.
To test your stitches, follow these steps:
- Grab a scrap piece of the same knit fabric you’ll be using for your project.
- Select a few different stitch types on your sewing machine, such as straight stitch, zigzag stitch, or stretch stitch.
- Adjust the tension and stitch length settings on your sewing machine according to your fabric’s properties and the type of stitch you’re using. It’s recommended to start with a lower tension and longer stitch length to prevent the fabric from puckering or stretching.
- Place the scrap fabric under the presser foot and lower the needle to catch the fabric.
- Sew a few inches of each type of stitch, examining the tension, stitch length, and overall appearance as you sew.
- Check the backside of the fabric for any skipped stitches, loose stitches, or excessive stretching. If you encounter any issues, adjust the tension or stitch length accordingly. Remember to use the same fabric, thread, and needle combination you’ll be using for your final project.
- Continue testing until you achieve the desired stitch quality and appearance on your knit fabric.
By testing your stitches on scrap fabric, you’ll have a better understanding of how your sewing machine interacts with the knit fabric. This will help you troubleshoot any potential issues and ensure a professional-looking finish on your final project.
Troubleshooting and Adjusting Stitch Settings for Knit Fabrics
When sewing on knit fabrics, it’s important to understand the unique properties of these materials and adjust your stitch settings accordingly. Here are some common troubleshooting tips and adjustments to help you sew on knit fabrics like a pro:
- Use a ballpoint or stretch needle: Knit fabrics are stretchy, and using a ballpoint or stretch needle will help prevent skipped stitches and fabric damage.
- Choose the right stitch: For most knit fabrics, a stretch stitch or a narrow zigzag stitch works best. These stitches provide enough stretch for the fabric without causing it to pucker or distort.
- Adjust stitch length: In general, a slightly longer stitch length (around 3-4mm) works well for knit fabrics. This helps prevent the stitches from pulling or popping when the fabric stretches.
- Test and adjust tension: Knit fabrics can be more prone to stretching or puckering during stitching. Test your stitch settings on a scrap piece of fabric before sewing on the actual project, and adjust the tension if needed. You may need to decrease the tension slightly to prevent the stitches from pulling the fabric too much.
- Use stabilizers: If you’re having trouble with the fabric stretching or distorting, consider using a stabilizer. A tear-away or water-soluble stabilizer can provide extra support and prevent puckering or stretching while sewing.
- Try a walking foot: A walking foot can help feed the fabric evenly through the machine, preventing it from stretching or getting stuck. This can be especially helpful when sewing on thicker or more slippery knit fabrics.
By following these troubleshooting tips and making the necessary adjustments to your stitch settings, you’ll be able to sew on knit fabrics with ease and achieve professional-looking results. Remember to always test your settings on a scrap piece of fabric before starting your project to ensure the best outcome.
What is the best type of needle to use when sewing on knit fabric?
The best type of needle to use when sewing on knit fabric is a ballpoint or stretch needle. These needles are designed to slide between the knit fibers without causing them to break or unravel.
Do I need a special machine to sew on knit fabric?
You don’t necessarily need a special machine to sew on knit fabric, but having a machine with a stretch stitch or a serger can make the process easier and help prevent the seams from stretching or popping. However, it is still possible to sew knit fabric with a regular sewing machine using a zigzag stitch.
How do I prepare the knit fabric before sewing?
Before sewing on knit fabric, it is important to pre-wash and dry the fabric to minimize shrinkage after sewing. It is also a good idea to stabilize the fabric using fusible interfacing or by using a strip of lightweight knit fabric as a stabilizer along the seam line.
What type of thread should I use for sewing on knit fabric?
For sewing on knit fabric, it is best to use polyester or nylon thread, as these fibers have some stretch and won’t break as easily as cotton thread. It is also a good idea to use a stretch or ballpoint needle to prevent the thread from breaking or skipping stitches.
How do I prevent the fabric from stretching or puckering while sewing?
To prevent the fabric from stretching or puckering while sewing, it is important to use a walking foot or a stretch stitch on the sewing machine. Additionally, you can gently guide the fabric with your hands to help prevent it from stretching too much. Using a stabilizer or interfacing on the fabric can also help minimize stretching.
Can I sew hems on knit fabric using a regular straight stitch?
It is not recommended to sew hems on knit fabric using a regular straight stitch, as this stitch can cause the fabric to stretch and the hem to pucker. Instead, it is best to use a stretch stitch, such as a zigzag stitch or a twin needle, to ensure a flexible and smooth hem.
What should I do if the fabric gets stuck or the needle breaks while sewing?
If the fabric gets stuck or the needle breaks while sewing on knit fabric, it is important to stop sewing and assess the problem. Try gently removing the fabric from the machine, checking for any obstructions or tangles. If the needle has broken, replace it with a new one and make sure it is the correct type for sewing on knit fabric. If the problem persists, consult the sewing machine’s manual or seek professional help.