Welcome to Knit Knowledge Week! I’m asked questions about working with knit fabrics really often, so I thought I’d spend a week sharing some of my knowledge with you. I’m quite certain that I don’t know everything there is to know about working with knits, and I still occasionally discover a new technique that works better than what I was doing before. Everything I’ll share is what I’ve learned through my own hands-on experience.
My plan is to spend the week sharing a bit each day. Here’s the lineup that I have planned: Monday: Knit Overview, Tuesday: Interlock Knits & Jerseys, Wednesday: Ribbed Knits & Ribbing, Thursday: Hemming & Simple Applique, Friday: Questions & Answers and the Giveaway.
This week will require some participation from you, too. In order for me to have a Q&A on Friday, I need you to post any questions that you have in the comments section Monday through Thursday. Then, I’ll choose as many questions as I can and answer them on Friday (if I haven’t already answered them during the week).
Friday’s post will also include an exciting giveaway! Caroline at The Fabric Fairy has generously donated a $20 gift certificate that you can use in her store to purchase some knit fabrics from her incredible selection to try out for yourself.
Just comment on my posts Monday through Thursday (one comment per post, please), and I’ll hold a random drawing on Friday morning.
Alrighty, let’s get started with a quick overview.
First off, don’t be afraid of knits! Knit fabrics, primarily cotton and cotton-blend knit fabrics, are what most of us live in! Once you become comfortable sewing them, you’ll be ready to sew up whole wardrobes of comfortable clothing that you and your loved ones will love to wear.
ThinkQuest explains, “Knitted fabrics are made from a single yarn or a set of yarns. In making cloth, a knitting machine forms loops in the yarn and links them to one another by means of needles. The finished fabric consists of crosswise rows of loops, called courses, and lengthwise rows of loops, called wales. This looped structure makes knitted fabrics more elastic than woven cloth. Garment manufacturers use knitted fabrics in producing comfortable, lightweight clothing that resists wrinkling.”
Simply put, knit fabrics have stretch. Some, like sweatshirt fleece, have only a little stretch. Others, like cotton ribbed knits, have a whole lot of stretch.
The stretch in most knit fabrics runs across from selvage to selvage. When you place your pattern pieces on knit fabrics that show grainlines rather than direction of stretch, you generally want the grainline to run perpendicular to the stretch.
The right tools:
Before working with knit fabrics, you’ll want to switch out the regular foot on your machine for the walking foot. Your sewing machine has “teeth” that guide the bottom of the fabric under the foot while the needle sews. A walking foot has similar teeth that grip the top of fabric so top and bottom pass through under the needle evenly. This feature helps a great deal in cutting down on the amount of puckering that you’ll see in your knit fabric seams.
It’s also a good idea to switch out your sharp sewing machine needle for a ballpoint needle. Sharp needles cut through the knit loops on your fabrics and leave the fabric with small holes which tend to grow larger as the garment is pulled on and off. Ballpoint needles are designed to glide through the loops instead without causing harm to the fibers. Knit garments sewn with ballpoint needles will hold up much better over time.
The third tool that I think is worth mentioning is a serger. It’s a bit of an investment, and you definitely don’t needone to sew knit garments. (All of my patterns include instructions for sewing with a regular sewing machine, as well as a serger.) However, if you’re planning to sew a lot of knit garments, a serger will give you a nice finish to the inside, as well as a sturdier finished item. Once you get the hang of using a serger, you’ll also find that serging together a piece of clothing is much faster than sewing!
So those are few basics to get you started. To get your giveaway entry today, you’ll need to leave a comment. You can either leave a comment with a question that you’d like me to answer about sewing with knit fabrics, or you can answer my question for today, “What’s your favorite thing about wearing clothing made with knit fabrics?”
Oh, one more thing! As a thank-you for joining me this week, I’ve added a 20% discount code that you can use on any of my patterns through Friday: KnowKnits.