I decided to master sewing knitwear this year and here is what I learned.
Knits behave differently
Every knit behaves differently, so be sure to test your stitch length and reduce your differential feed accordingly. If the setting is too high, it will pull the fabric and cause your seam to curl. Try below 1 for overlocking and set the tension dial to 2 for the sewing machine.
Get the Right Tools
I cannot stress this enough! You'll save time, money and a lot of frustration by using the right needle. Get a few expandable needles in different sizes. Fine for lightweight knits and medium for most other knits, even stretch denim. Depending on your machine, you don't really need a special foot. I used a walking foot and it made no difference on my machine. I saw there was a knitting foot and you could try that, but as long as your settings are correct and you're using the right needle you should be fine.
It's tempting to just pull the layers to force them into alignment as you sew, but resist the urge. You really need to pin or, like me, use clips to avoid stretching the fabric too much. Especially for neck and arm restraints. Your boss's instructions will usually tell you to pin the quarters, but I say pin the eighths! This way you know in advance that your binding is perfectly suited.
Yes. Take the time to add a strip of Ponte knit, or even cotton, at the shoulder seams. No ! After its solidity at the time, I tell you that the seam will deform and fray over repeated washings. Well, not always, but why take the risk?
So this is it. My best tips for sewing knitwear. I started out hating the process, and now I love it because it's easier, and have you also noticed that knits are cheaper than wovens? So I can sew more things and you know, for me, sewing is more about the process than just collecting clothes.
I recently enjoyed sewing this cleverly written Viola knit top pattern from Forget the knot patterns. I watched the video she provided to get the pleats perfect, and just extended the length to make it into a dress. Then I tried it on and pinned it down enough that it skimmed my frame without being too snug. That’s why we sew, right?