Sewing with knits for the first time!

July 9, 2020

Margot dress from Violette Field Threads Patterns. Fabric from Moshito Design (available at Spoonflower)

I had been sewing clothes for my girls for about a year and one day I had a great idea. I thought I could make more functional clothes for them if I started using knits. So I went to the store and bought some stretchy fabric. 

No research, no anything. I thought, how hard it could be? I bought the fabric and starting sewing the exact same way I had always done with woven fabrics. 

Well, let me tell you... Everything went wrong... from my sewing machine eating up the fabric to horrendous gathered stitches in every single seam... Yeah, pretty frustrating... 

So, I decided to do some research. It seemed like I had to change so many things, and it felt intimidating. I had not ever changed the needle of my sewing machine, or used a zig-zag stitch before. But believe it or not, it makes all the difference in the world. 

If you are thinking about giving it a try for the first time, here I am summarizing what you need to know! It will still take a little bit of getting used to the new type of fabric, but these will definitely help! Trust me! 

1.- Buy a ballpoint needle for stretch fabrics. Replacing the needle is surprisingly easy and it takes less than a minute.

2.- Use a stretch stitch, the one that looks like a lightning bolt or like a zig zag.

3.- Increase the stitch length. My serger is set to 2.5 by default and I usually bring it up to 4 (it presevents the fabric from stretching when you sew). 

4.- You can also lower the tension of you sewing machine to either 1 or 2 to preserve the elasticicty of the fabric. 

5.- The good news is that knit doesn't ravel, so you don't need to finish the seams that are not visible. 

6.- I would also make sure you start sewing 1/2 inch from the edge of the fabric to prevent the machine from literally swallowing your fabric. If your fabric is specially thin and stretchy you could also stabilize it with some tape! 

7.- Sew slowly until you get used to the fabric. 

I would suggest to start with an easy pattern. I would recommend either the Tatum or Margot dresses (for girls) from Violette Field Threads Patterns. Their directions are great and they have step by step instructions. 

Let me know if you have any questions! 

Happy sewing! 


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