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Sewing Knits

Sewing knits can create a whole new challenge for many people. Knit fabrics have a different make up then wovens. Knits are made from one set of fibers that all run in the same direction, while woven fabrics have a crosswise and lengthwise fiber. Knits are made from many of the same type of fibers as wovens but the formation of the fabric fibers, allow them to stretch. Definition of Knits Fabric Characteristics
When sewing knits, your seams need to have some stretch qualities to match the fabric. Many people experience breaking stitches in a finished garment because the fabric forces the seam to stretch and the seam doesn't have the stretch capability, so the threads break. This is preventable by using various stitches available on today's sewing machines.

zig zag stitch
Zig Zag stitches are available on almost every sewing machine. Setting the machine to zig zag with a narrow width stitch, will allow some stretch in the seam. A narrow width is necessary to maintain a straight seam line.
stretch stitch
Many machines have a actual stretch stitch. Refer to your machine manual or look for a symbol similar to the image. I recently made fleece robes and used this stitch on an Elna 1010, No matter how hard I stretch the fabric and the seam, the thread has not broken!
This stitch is created by the machine making two stitches forward and one backward stitch. This stitch takes a bit more time to preform then a regular straight stitch but the results are well worth the small amount of additional time it takes to preform. It is advisable to baste a garment seam before using this stitch.
Tricot stretch stitch
Another stretch stitch option is a Tricot stitch. This stitch is symbolized on most machines as shown here. This stitch has a vast amount of stretch. I have used this stitch to attach and top stitch elastic on swim suits and never has a stitch break no matter how hard the kids stretched the elastic. Swim Suit Review

Sewing Machine Needles
Skipped stitches and holes in the knit fabric are common problems when sewing knits. This problem is usually eliminated by using the correct machine needle. Ball point needles are designed for sewing knits. They allow the fibers which make up the fabric to move to the side of the needle instead of penetrating them as a regular needle does. In Singer brand needles, these are yellow band needles. Schmetz Needles also carry a ball point needle for sewing knits.

Sewing Machine Options
One of the tools many people swear by when sewing knits is even feed foot and dual feed options. These options feed both layers of fabric through the machine evenly, thus eliminating one layer stretching out of proportion with another layer. If you do not have these options available and experience a problem, it is advisable to take the time to baste your pieces together before sewing on the machine. If you are shopping for a sewing machine be sure to ask the dealer about these options. An even feed foot may be available for the machine that you have. Ask your local dealer or visit the Sewing Machine Accessories Net Links.

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