How to show knit fabric who's the boss – Learn to sew with knits

I recently (meaning yesterday) went to the fabric store and purchased a few (a lot) of sewing patterns. Many of my new patterns are for knits. I love sewing with knits and have never been afraid of them. When I am teaching someone to sew for the first time I don't hesitate to introduce knits straight away. I'm not sure how the myth that sewing with knits is difficult got started. My feeling is that someone started sewing with a tissue knit or something of the like and then proclaimed loudly that sewing with all and any knits is a pain in the tuckus. Well, I'm hear to loudly proclaim back that sewing with knits is not that difficult. When sewing with any fabric if you come prepared with the right tools and tips your final version will look all the better. 

There are numerous tips and tricks for sewing with knits that will help you stitch a lovely knit garment that you will wear over and over again.  If you're new to sewing with knits I wouldn't recommend starting with a type of knit that is often used in swimsuits or four-way knits, these can in fact be a bit of struggle to work with, first time out. I use a stable knit such as a cotton spandex blend. This fabric is soft and stretchy but recovers its natural shape. I love working with this type and the edges don't curl.

Who can resist such beautiful knits!

Another helpful tip for sewing with knits is to use the correct needle in your machine. Use a ballpoint needle for your sewing machine and ballpoint pins too. I've also used silk pins when pinning knits with a decent result.

Very important when sewing with knits, you don't need a serger to make perfect knit garments! My serger broke (didn't oil it, oops) and I've never had a problem sewing with knits. A serger is handy but certainly not necessary. Finally, a tool I would highly recommend is a rotary cutting system. Again, not necessary but using a rotary mat and rotary cutter will make quick and accurate work of cutting out knit fabrics.

If you don't want to work with patterns but would like to copy a well worn favorite, you can easily do it. Copying knit garments from RTW is a fairly simple process. Again, working with knits in this regard is easier than copying a RTW woven garment. I have copied favorite knit dresses and T-shirts with great success. Part of the success here is that working and sewing with knits is more forgiving due to the stretch of the fabric than wovens. If you would like more information and how tos on copying favorite T-shirts check out Karen LePage's new video.

Do you sew with knits or have you not made the plunge? Leave a comment on your favorite tip or trick for sewing with knits. Or if you have a question please let me know on the blog!

Other sewing topics you may enjoy:


Sewing Fabric & Fabric Basics

About Jill

I am the Online Editor for Sew Daily and I am so incredibly excited to meet everyone here on this amazing sewing community!

My first passion is garment sewing, I love vintage sewing patterns and working with knits and silks. I also get very jazzed about sewing pants and love learning couture techniques. What about you? I can't wait to get started finding out more about you and what you like to sew.

2 thoughts on “How to show knit fabric who's the boss – Learn to sew with knits

  1. I keep a small stack of tear-away embroidery stabilizer cut it into small rectangles to use when starting seams in stretchy knits. Prevents birds nests and is easy to remove and re-use several times.