Thursday, November 1, 2007


Cindy asked for good reading material on sewing with knits. These are a couple of articles that have helped me:

"Taming Jersey Knits" June/July 2007 Threads (#131)
This article was extremely enlightening for me; I mentioned a few of the article's points when I was working on the Cosmopolitan dress.

"Expert Techniques for Finishing Stretch Knits" Aug/Sept 2006 Threads (#126)
This article shows how to finish necklines and armholes with a strip of binding, just as Cidell did on her Cosmopolitan dress.

If anyone out there can't get a hold of these magazines and would like a photocopy of the whole articles, let me know.

Dawn of the Secret Pocket has provided helpful tips on working with knits.

I've never read this but Taunton has a book called Easy Guide to Sewing Tops & T-Shirts. It looks like it's got a decent amount of info about knits, and Taunton books are always great. (Okay, I'm adding that to my Amazon wishlist now!)

Here are a few tips on sewing with knits from me. Remember that I am no expert; this is just how I do things and I am still learning!

Seams: If you are using a regular sewing machine and not a serger (like me, I don't have a serger), sew the seams with a very narrow zig-zag stitch. Alternatively, I have read you can sew with a straight stitch and stretch the fabric as you sew it (although I've never tried this). This will allow the seam to stretch later without the thread breaking. My SM has a "stretch stitch" but I don't really use it because it's much slower to sew than the zig-zag, and it's a major PITA to rip out because the stitch is so dense. However, if I knew a seam would be under a lot of repeated stress, like an activewear garment, I would use the stretch stitch because it is certainly stronger than the zig-zag or straight stitch.

Sleeves: Set sleeves in flat instead of in the round. Dawn gives a good illustration of the two in her post on set-in sleeves.

Shoulder seams: When you wear the garment, or if you hang it on a hanger, the shoulder seam will be under a lot of stress, so use a strip of stay tape (sew in or fusible) in each shoulder seam to prevent them from stretching out.

Does anybody else have pointers or resources they'd like to share?


Leslie said...

Thank you so much for posting this! I'm working on my first knit top (out of silk jersey, no less) and running into some roadblocks already. Is there any way to get a hold of the Threads article on binding?

Christina said...

Leslie - Sure, email me your address and I'll mail you a copy - assortednotions[at]gmail[dot]com.

Kitty Couture said...

Christina, that is a great article! Thank you for putting all those tips in the same place.

Kitty Couture said...

PS: I would also be very interested in that article on binding! Thank you for offering this. My email address should appear in the sender box if you read this comment from your email box. Thank you!

Jessica said...

These are some great tips! Do you have any ideas for skipped stitches with knits though? Every time I sew with knits I have issues with skipped stitches...

Anonymous said...

Your designs are great! You really do have a talent with clothes. You should def sell some of your stuff here in Seattle unless you already do so.

Christina said...

Jessica - Have you tried using a ball point needle instead of a universal needle? That might be the issue.

Gabriel - Thanks! No, I don't sell anything at this point. I'm selfish :)

C. Dishmont said...

Thanks for responding with this post Christina!! I have a project that I haven't started because I didn't feel prepared enough. Thanks again *excitement* said...

You might like Connie Long's book Sewing with Knits--it's pretty detailed & covers loads and loads of different kinds of knits. It's oop, though; look for it on half ebay before you just get it used, because it can be pricey used (ask me how I know :( )