Sewing With Knits - Tips & Tricks Roundup!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

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i don't know about you guys but sewing with knits sort of freaks me out. i've done it and i'll suck it up and do it again but it definitely takes some getting used to. my biggest complaint is that my machine does not like knits. i know, it's probably me that's the problem but because i don't want to admit that to myself i will blame it on my machine...that and the fact that i don't have a manual for my old, cranky machine is also a hindrance.

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stitch simple - a great fabric shop that sells all their fabrics pre-washed & ready to sew (can you hear my squeals of happiness, can you imagine not having to wash/prep/cut your fabrics?!) contacted me a few months ago about their "great knit experiment". so fun! harmony art provided some fab bloggers with organic knits to sew with and they then share all the goodness with you folks! click here to read more about jen's "great knit experiment"!

go check out the bloggers who joined in on the "great knit experiment". all the pics in this post are compiled from their lovely tutorials!

other tips, tricks & tutorials:

- sewing with knits - a tutorial with patterns by figgy's.
- tips for working knits & a mock-coverstitch tutorial with meg of sew liberated on sew mama sew.
- knit cuff tutorial & box pleat cuff tutorial by piccolo piselli
- tips for embellishing knits & a knit applique tutorial on sew mama sew
- sewing with knits on craft stylish and another one on
- knit fabrics 101 on from an igloo
- sewing stretch knits without a serger video
- tips for sewing with knits & a ruched legging tutorial from dana of made.
- oliver and s shares some tips for sewing with knits.
- gertie's new blog for better sewing has posts on sewing knits without a serger and cutting knits.
- whole series on sewing with knits, sourcing material etc at plum project studio.

helpful books:

sew u home stretch: the built by wendy guide to sewing knit fabrics by wendy mullin
sewing with knits: classic stylish garments from swimsuits to evening wear by connie long

reader faves:

modkid boutiques video series for working with knits.

in my dreams i envision myself wearing all sorts of knits - dresses, tops, t-shirts, pants, clothes..i just want to drape myself in them. i also want to make them for my kids so i figured it's about time i continue to conquer that new year's resolution list and get started making more knits. what better way to start that off then by doing a little roundup with some great tips, tricks and tutorials for working with knits that i found helpful.

i hope that you all will share your tips and tricks as well. leave a comment with yours or share a link with one that has helped you and hopefully we can all sew those knits up together this year! what's your favorite thing to make from knits? do you sew the with a serger or without?


  1. Patty Young from ModKid Boutique also did an awesome series of 5 videos on working with knits, search for "modkid knit" on youTube and you'll find them...

    and yes, i'm petrified of knits but i try my best :D

  2. Shannon it is not you! It is your machine, trust me. As you know I just received Greta before Christmas and while she isn't new fabulous, a real quality machine I tell you. Before her I had a hand me down Brother that was purchased at Costco. Now I did love that machine but I found she was troublesome with tension...she was a rather loose girl...and I struggled with knits too. I also thought like you it was me but when I went to Greta with my knits oh my she flew them with practiced peanut butter & chocolate it was meant to be. Sometimes she gets a little tense so I just replace my needle & rethread. So keep saving those pennies & find your true sewmate of a machine.

    Buffy :)

  3. I agree - the machine makes a big difference.
    And while you're splurging, pick up a serger too!! haha they are wooooonderful for knits :)

  4. Patterns by Figgy totally helped me with my knit phobia. Now I love sewing with them because they are so much more forgiving than wovens!

  5. oh thank you! i need to make the oldest girl some shirts and need to try knits again. i attempted a few maternity shirts (in the past) but they came out bad. usually it was because i had no pattern to go by and i always made them too small, guess i was in denial!! anyways i'll have to check out the links. thanks for doing the hard part for us!

  6. I sewed a king-sized t-shirt quilt - a special design without interfacing or sashing, so the whole thing was sewn knit-to-knit on my Mother's circa 1960's machine. The biggest tip from that experience for working with knits, is to gently pull the bobbin and top threads as you take the first few stitches so the machine doesn't drag the material into the throat. Also, don't backstitch seams if they're going to be enclosed - it's a pain to pick out stitches from knits and locked stitches are nearly impossible! It does also help to use a jersey or ball point needle.

  7. Honestly, I didn't know I was supposed to be scared of knits until I'd already started using them. I think it did me a lot of good. I just use a blecky old Europro my mom bought el cheapo and then handed down to me, with a zig zag stitch or a long stright stitch. Well i mean, now I use a serger. But I didn't start off with one. Anyways, I find knits easier to make garments with than cottons because they're way more forgiving if you keep underestimating the chest circumference of EVERY MEMBER OF YOUR FAMILY INCLUDING THE BABY.
    (I just make a cute little dress for Olivia. And it was too small. But then I gave it away as a baby gift and made a matching pendant necklace and hairclip rosette with a headband for baby or hairband for mom as options to wear it with. So I mean, in the end it was good I messed it up and almost had to stitch rip the chubby girl right out of the thing. Particularly since Chris got her out of the dress while I was getting the stitch ripper.)

  8. Glad you guys found it handy! I think it's my machine but then sometimes I really do think it just may be me..haha. Oh well. Practice, practice, practice right?

    JO - I agree, a serger would be easier. I recently got a serger for free secondhand but I have to take it in to get serviced anc just haven't found the time to do it yet. I think it's time for to get on that :)

  9. Thanks for this post. If we do another Experiment in the future, I hope you will choose to participate. Believe it or not, I don't sew... it's my not-so-little secret so I have TONS of respect for those of you who bring fabric to life. :)

  10. Shannon, you always pull the best resources together! I'm adding a link to my Sewing 101 resources page, if you don't mind.


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