Sewing with Knits March 22 2014

A lot of people, even experienced sewers, can be hesitant about sewing with knits, but there really isn't much reason to be! I find knits so forgiving, where sewing with wovens isn't so much, and contrary to popular belief, you don't need an overlocker (serger). 

What I particularly love about knits, is the huge number of wearable things you can make with it. Sure, with wovens, you can make skirts, pants, shorts, coats etc, but you can make all of those with knits, too. As well as the more everyday items like t-shirts, leggings and baby onesies. AND, in most cases, you can do it without having to worry about fiddly zippers and button-holes because of the stretch of the knit. Don't forget that because knits don't fray, you don't have to finish the edges if you don't want to!!

There are a huge amount of tutorials out there on sewing knits without an overlocker, so I'm not going to re-write what others have already written so well, but here is one of my favourites:

The main things to remember when sewing knits with a regular sewing machine are:

  • Use a zig-zag stitch - if you use a regular straight stitch, the stitches are likely to pop.

  • Use a ballpoint needle - these push the threads of the fabric aside when sewing, rather than puncturing holes in the fabric.

  • Twin needles are great for hems as the underside of the stitch is zig-zag. Just remember to increase your stitch length, or again, the stitches may pop.

When I first started off sewing with knits, I found a second-hand Janome overlocker on Gumtree going cheap - awesome machine, super sturdy and reliable. I've since upgraded, but to a new version of the same machine! So check out TradeMe if you're wanting to start out with an overlocker, but not wanting to spend a huge amount of money.
If you do buy from a store, check with them if they offer a free lesson on using your new overlocker, as many of them will.

If you have any questions at all about sewing with knits, email me at and I'll do what I can to help you out :-)

But, be warned - sewing with knits is addictive!!! Especially with the awesome fabrics and patterns out there!!!