I’ve always been kind of scared to sew with knits. I tried making a knit dress for myself once, and it was a bit of a disaster: wavy seams and the stitching on the neckline snapped as soon as I put it over the head. It was pretty evident to me that sewing with knits was meant to be classed in the “too hard basket.” But now that I’ve got a running, jumping, mayhem-causing toddler, I figured I should give knits another go because they’re really the most comfortable fabric for kids on the move. I’m pretty pumped with the results and have discovered that sewing with knits is actually much easier than I once thought!
Knits are stretchy so use a stretchy stitch
The number one thing to remember is that knits are stretchy and a straight stitch is not. That is why a straight stitch on a knit top will result in a popped seam. For that reason you just have to avoid the straight stitch! Use a zigzag or a stretch stitch (that’s the one that looks like a lightning bolt)
The stretch stitch looks a bit messy, in my opinion. It’s great for doing seams, but for top-stitching you would probably want something a bit neater. You could always go and spend thousands on a serger… but for those of us who must make do with just a sewing machine a twin needle is a very cost-effective upgrade when it comes to sewing knits! I paid $8.50 for a twin needle at the local Janome shop. The second spool of thread is put on the bobbin-winder and thread through the machine. Just a regular straight stitch will give you two perfectly spaced stitches side-by-side on the front, and on the back a sort of zigzaggy stitch.
A walking foot is a big help
In my first attempt at sewing knits I found it impossible to avoid a wavy seam. As the fabric is pulled through the machine, instead of simply passing through the material stretches – and does so unevenly. A walking foot is a good way to make sure the top of the fabric passes through at the same time as the bottom part of the fabric. I’m pretty sure mine came with the machine. What a huge difference it makes to the seams!
The finished product
It fits Audrey pretty perfectly and I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. I’m looking for some pattern testers if anyone would like to sew this pattern up for free in exchange for a photo and some feedback! Give knits a shot -they’re really not as hard to work with as you would think.