20 Important Tips for Sewing with Knit Fabric

Knit fabric is very popular and is mainly found in sportswear, clothing, leggings, shirts, and other models. It can sometimes be scary to work with knit fabric as it is so elastic and slippery. But with a little guidance and suggestions, you can easily get the quality clothes you have always dreamed of creating. Here are 20 important tips for sewing knitted fabric that can help you a lot:

1. Using Feed Dogs

The Feed Dog sewing machine is very necessary when working with knitted fabric. They are metal teeth like ridges that look almost like the back of a hammer protruding from a throat plate of the machine. It provides a strong grip on the fabric while sewing. Feed Dog particularly gives your fabric stability by taking control over the needles. You can also disable its usage by lowering down the feed dog of your choice and easily gain full speed control in all directions.

2. Choosing the Right Pin

A sewist should know the type of pins and their use, but if you are sewing knitted fabric for the first time, you should consider using the correct pins. Knitted fabric is an elastic fabric, so a regular pin can break continuous loops in the yarn. The ballpoint pin has a blunted tip, so it doesn’t pierce the fibers like any other regular pin. Spherical pins push the fibers very finely to the side, and when removed, the fibers are held in place. Their tip is rounded and comes with a multicolor head that makes them visible, so you can handle them easily.

3. Use Stitch Which Expands with Fabric

Overedge Stitch

The perfect stitches for Knit fabric or jersey fabric are Overedge Stitch, Straight Stretch Stitch, and Twin-needle Stitch. All these three stitches are very much useful when you want to finish a seam in one go. Overedge Stitch helps you to lock the edge of the fabric and helps you to finish the seam in one pass. Straight Stretch Stitch is very similar to straight stitch, but in the former one looks like 3 parallel rows of the straight stitch which is useful to hold your fabric firmly. With a Twin-needle Stitch, you get interlock stitches and an amazing hem that doesn’t break when you stretch.

4. Understand the Way of the Knit Material Stretch

Knit material or jersey material is one of the types of stretch fabric. So, while working with them you must get an idea in which direction the stretch is going. A 2-way stretch fabric only stretches in one direction. Unlike this, a 4-way stretch fabric stretches in both horizontal and vertical ways. You must also know which kind of knit fabric you are working with.

5. Sew with a 3/8” Seam Allowance

While working with stretchy material or knit fabric 3/8” seam allowance is very necessary. But what is a 3/8 seam allowance? In a sewing machine you will see there are three types of seam allowance- 1/4”, 3/8”, and 5/8”. It’s very easy to adjust your fabric according to the measurement of the seam. Sometimes they are not properly labeled, I recommend you to use a seam gauge or other measuring tools to recognize how much space you need in the side. If you face a problem in using 3/8 seam allowance in the machine you can always go for a 3/8” ruler.

6. Use Ballpoint or Stretch Needles

Ballpoint needles or Stretch needles are very similar to ballpoint needles. The ballpoint needle does not pierce through the fabric. The rounded tip of the needle gently passes between the fabric. This prevents you from damaging the heavy or chunky knit fabric and you will get a nice clean stitch. But why use a ballpoint needle? Because with this needle you don’t have chances of skipping stitches. You will get a smooth, clean stitch in no time.

7. Take a Walking Foot Lesson

A walking foot is very affordable and much needed for your sewing machine, as it provides an extra set of food dogs for the top of the fabric. During knitting, you need to have a feed dog to keep the fabric tight in an area and sew in the right place. This is the reason why a walking foot is necessary. A walking foot lesson will help you get more uniform seams instead of wavy ones. A hemming tape can be an alternative to a walking foot but is very expensive and difficult to use on small children’s clothes.

8. Use Your Iron in the Proper Direction

Sewing a knit fabric always required proper ironing to press the fabric and seams when you sew. Even after using a ballpoint needle or feed dog, you end with some wavy seems and then you think how to iron a knit fabric? Ironing your fabric will help in getting rid of these wavy and ugly seams. Before ironing you must realize if your fabric is a 2-way stretch or 4-way stretch fabric. Iron according to the direction of the stretch of the fabric. Always set your iron at medium speed and use it on the backside of the fabric. It saves your fabric from getting burned or damaged.

9. Using the Right Kind of Thread

A cotton thread can become problematic while sewing a knit fabric. Choose Polyester thread which can stretch a little making the t-shirt hem more resilient while stretching. You may still ask- Is polyester thread better than cotton thread? Yes, cotton threads have no stretch characteristics and are also not suitable for knit fabric. A polyester thread is very durable and strong and can also be easily installed in any sewing machine. It can also be said as the best thread for sewing machines and knit fabric.

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10. Put Tissue Paper Between the Fabrics

Sewing knits with tissue paper under the fabric you are using will help the feed dog/plate a more solid thing to grab on and stabilize the fabric. You can also use this technique while sewing any slippery or silky fabric. After finishing you can simply remove the tissue by tearing it and get amazing results. Other than this tissue paper can also help you while cutting your slippery fabric. Pinning tissue paper with your fabric while cutting results with an accurate cut and makes your work a lot easier.

11. Cut Your Fabric on a Surface

This is an essential part when sewing knit fabric. When cutting, always choose a stable and flat surface so that the fabric does not slip. Sometimes cutting the fabric without a suitable surface can damage the fabric and make the mistake of cutting the desired part. You can also use a mat or rotary cutter. The Rotary cutter is very similar to the pizza cutter and is available in different sizes. Cutting fabric with a rotary cutter gives you straight cuts along the edges and also makes your job easier.

12. Don’t Sew in Regular Straight Stitch

You can use a straight stitch when sewing jersey knit. But there is a chance of getting a fracture or opening when the fabric is stretched. Other than this sewing knit with a straight stitch will not give you the perfect result and will make the fabric look very bad. Always use stretch straight stitch while sewing with knit fabric. It looks like a regular stitch but allows the seam to stretch at the same time.

13. Stabilize Your Stretchy Fabric

Knitted fabrics become baggy and loosen over time if you do not stabilize the fabric while sewing. Stabilizing knit is very important when you want to use the cloth to stretch a lot, as it gives strength to the dress. Working with a stabilizer is very easy. Just keep the stabilizer in the upper part of the fabric. Now simply sew in the middle of the stabilizer which you adjusted above your fabric. After completing your work, you may cut off the extra stabilizer. This the correct process of how to stabilize the stretchy fabric.

14. Use a Special Sewing Machine

Working with knitted fabric requires a special sewing machine that makes your dress easily desirable. One of the useful sewing knit fabric tips is to use Serger machines or Overlock machines. Sometimes it becomes very much hectic to get professional quality sewing in a very short time. With the Serger, you can easily sew a layer, cut off the excess seam, and at the same time cover the rough edges. Along with this working with a Serger machine will also benefit you with a smooth and perfect seam.


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All-Purpose Foot, Zipper Foot, Buttonhole Foot, Button Sewing Foot, Seam Ripper / Lint Brush, Quilting Guide, Needles, Bobbins, Screwdriver, Auxiliary Spool Pin, Spool Pin Felt, Dust Cover

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15. Use Starch for the Rolling Edges

The woven fabric that is rolled up is very complicated to use and difficult to handle with those curl up and wavy edges. Putting more weight on the edge can help, but it will only be a temporary fix when the material is cut. This is where you need starch. Simply put some starch on the fabric and iron it properly, this will help you remove curls from the fabric. You can make this mixture very easily at home with distilled water, corn starch, and an empty spray bottle. Add 4 teaspoons of corn starch to a cup of distilled water and your starch spray will be ready in no time.

16. Adjust the Machine Settings

Sewing knitted fabric is very difficult and you often end up sewing with the wrong yarn or knit. I recommend that you test the machine on a scrap of knit fabric first and then change the setting according to your convenience. You will also save time from creating the wrong track and canceling it. Always keep your stitch length long. Regular straight knitting needles will not give you the best result and ruin your fabric.

17. Zig-Zag Stitch

This point is familiar to almost all tailors. But any beginner who hasn’t passed such a point has no worries. Zigzag knitting or tight zigzag knitting is very easy to create and also gives the fabric a great look. In jersey fabric, this layer is used to fold the sides of the dress, as it has a good width and stretches with the fabric. But when using this stitch, make sure you adjust the width and length correctly. As mentioned above, always test the residue before using the final material.

18. Wash Your Fabric Before Using It

You can often struggle with size after the knit fabric has shrunk. Radiation knitting is known to shrink by up to 10%. That’s why you should always wash the fabric and iron it immediately after drying. You also need to work very carefully with the material so that it does not push or pull too hard. You can also change the setting of the car at low speeds to make it easier to handle.

19. Use Soap to Get Clear Lines

It will look very messy when you try to mark a richly colored knitted fabric with a regular pen or wax. Sometimes you don’t get a straight, clear line and cut the material incorrectly. Soaps are a very useful tool for marking visible lines. It is very easy to use and flows smoothly on woven or knit fabric. It will wash off easily after rinsing with water and won’t spread on material like gypsum. Using chalk is very dangerous as there will be a chance of getting rubbed or getting stains on the material.

20. Keep Patience!

Finally, the last tip for sewing knit fabric is that you need to be patient while sewing. Quickly creating a fabric garment can ruin the shape of the fabric and damage it. Press each layer of the seam with steam after completion of work to keep the material in its original condition. You also need to be careful when adjusting the thread, needle, and machine settings.

Final Words

With all these tips, you can easily get the clothes you want and even if you make a mistake don’t worry! Practice and learn more and you can easily see your improvement. Sewing very easy to handle and you can pass your time making something amazing.

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