Monday, January 23, 2012

The Knack of Sewing Knits

Though my sewing experience has been extensive, I have not often sewn knits, plenty of cottons, silks, wools, polyesters, and linens in all there various woven forms, but not knits.  Knits take a bit of finesse.

Yesterday, I fully intended on doing a little sewing for myself, but Baby Girl had other things in mind.  She wanted a black dress to match her new, black, shiny boots.  Last fall I purchased some Micheal Miller black and gray jersey knits, that I have just been dragging me feet on using it.  At Baby Girl's request I set aside my apprehensions and set to work.  I still, by no means consider myself in knit sewing expert, but I do think I am getting the knack of it.  Here are a few things that I have learned...

1.  To avoid unwanted stretching, on places like shoulder seams, use a small strip of woven fabric cut on the bias when making the seam.  

2.  Replace all straight stitching with a very mild zigzag.  I set my zigzag width to 1 out of 5.  

3.  For necklines, use a simple rectangle cut slightly shorter (about 1/2") than the length you would like the neck opening . Sew the short ends together, then fold the piece in half lengthwise.  Stretch the unfolded edge to the same circumference as the neck opening on the bodice.  Sew the piece to the bodice using a slight zigzag, or a "stretch stitch."

4.  When sewing patch pockets on to knits, line the pocket with a woven fabric.  This prevents the pocket and the piece it is being sewn to from getting all stretched out.  

5.  "Lettuce leafing"  is really fun to do on hems.  "Lettuce leafing" is simply using a very wide, very close zigzag stitch right at the edge of the fabric.  Stretching the fabric as it goes through the machine makes extra fun lettuce leafing.  I made two passes over the hem on the sleeve, the hem at the bottom, and the bottom of the pocket.  I think it could have used another pass, but as cute as it is, it is a time consuming venture.  

 6.  Hand embroidery on knits adds a little extra love.

Happy Knit Sewing!


  1. Maddy loves the dress! (Me, too!)

  2. Thanks, Dana! I could see Maddy in a dress like this!

  3. So cute. And great job onthe sewing.

    Does it feel like winter yet? We haven't had much of a winter, but I've enjoyed the snow we have had.


  4. This is the 3rd time I have tried to leave a comment and of course the first was the best but is lost. love it

  5. Ivy, the snow you sent never arrived. I need snow for the full winter effect. AND, the only frozen fog we've had was on a day I was teaching class, so I couldn't get out and talk pictures.

  6. MJ, sorry you are still having comment troubles. She was really excited about the dress...and the boots, of course.