Today as part of our By Popular Demand fabric tour we wanted to share some quick tips and tricks for working with knit fabric…since By Popular Demand was designed for knits!!!
Knit fabrics are made very differently than woven fabrics (like quilting cottons)…they are made to move and stretch while wovens are (for the most part) meant to stay stationary…so they do need to be handled differently…which has a tendency to make some people nervous.
But knits are not scary to work with and in many cases are a lot more forgiving if you follow a few simple guidelines! So today we want to share a few of our favorite knit tips, tricks, and guidelines with you.
And the best way to do that is to just make a big old list full of the facts…so here they are!
*Knits don’t fray or unravel! (Nope so you really don’t ever have to worry about finishing seams!)
*The beautiful thing about sewing garments with knits is that you will rarely if ever need to mess around with closures…which means no fooling around with buttons or zippers!!!
*You don’t need a serger to work with knits…but it’s a good excuse to buy one. (And if you do, may I suggest a babylock Evolution…that machine is AMAZING!)
*If you are sewing with knits on your sewing machine use the stretch stitch rather than a straight stitch. (The stretch stitch is the stitch that looks like a bolt of lightening.)
*Not all knits stretch the same way! There are two way and 4 way stretch knits…and they do exactly as the name suggests. Two way knits only stretch either vertically or horizontally but four way knits stretch vertically and horizontally. So when constructing a project using knits you will want to pay attention to which direction your fabric stretches!
*A good rule of thumb is that when using knit fabric make sure that you are using a pattern that was designed to be used with knit fabric rather than woven fabrics.
*When working with wovens you generally want a sharp needle but this is not the case with knits. With knits it is best to use a “ball point” needle which has a more rounded tip. This allows the needle to slip in between the fibers rather than piercing them.
*Knits roll. They just do. Some more than others. If it is a jersey knit it will always roll towards the front (right side) of the fabric. Rolling can sometimes be a problem when cutting out pattern pieces. Ways to combat that is to use pattern weights…or if the rolling is extreme you can always clothes pin the edges of the rolling knit fabric right to your cutting mat to keep it nice and flat while pinning or cutting.
*Knit stretches…which is what makes them so comfortable! But be careful. Don’t tug, pull, or stretch while running them through your sewing machine or serger. Just guide them through letting your feed dogs do all the work.
*Sometimes hems can be tricky…and get wavy! An easy way to help keep them nice and smooth is to use a fusible Hem Tape. It is inexpensive and easy to use. Plus they make your skirt hems look amazing!
*The best cutting utensil that you can use for knits are sharp scissors. You can use a rotary cutter but I’ve found plain, old fashioned sharp scissors (or shears) work best.
*If you are using your sewing machine and have a walking foot you may want to use it. Often it helps make your stitches look more professional.
*The best advice we can give you is to practice, practice, practice.
There are lots more tips, tricks, and facts that we could talk about but these should get you started.
Now, before we go we thought it prudent to give you the stats on our By Popular Demand Knit:
*It is produced by Riley Blake Designs.
*It is 4 way stretch.
*It is a Stretch Cotton Jersey Knit containing 96% cotton and 4% spandex and is 100% buttery soft!
If you have any questions or tried and true knit tricks let us know! We’d love to hear!