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How to Sew: Tips and Tricks for Sewing with Knits

Check out our sewing with knits tips and you'll become an expert in no time.

By: Nichole Pientka, Editor, AllFreeSewing.com
How to Sew Tips and Tricks for Sewing with Knits

If you don’t want to knit or don’t know how to, you can still make something out of knit fabric. If you don’t know a lot about knits, you should read this article Tips and Tricks for Sewing with Knits before you start sewing with it. With these sewing tips, you’ll make sure that your next sewing project is completed without a hitch. Let's face it: you're not a knitter, you're a sewist!

You don't know a ton about knits, but you can find out more about how to sew with them. Don't be intimidated because we've got the inside scoop.

Sewing hacks don’t necessarily tell how to sew a specific sewing pattern, but they do give you some insights as to what to expect when sewing with a specific fabric or executing a technique. These tips and tricks with help you navigate a new fabric, but also let you discover your own way of sewing with knits

 

How to Sew: Tips and Tricks for Sewing with Knits

Types of Knit Fabric

There are different types of knits you can buy, and here are just a few types:

  1. Jersey knits - like that used for The Bahia Lounge Pants.
     
  2. Double Knits - like that used for the liner in this Lacy Little Black Dress Tutorial.
     
  3. French Terry - like that used for the Charming Children's Robe Pattern.
     
  4. Sweatshirt knits (sweatshirt fleece) - like that used for the Women's Knit Joggers Pattern.

Sewing With Knits Examples

Best Stitch Types for Knit Fabric

Next, you’ll want to select your stitch on your sewing machine for sewing with knits. These are your most common options:

  1. Double straight stitch
     
  2. Triple zig-zag stitch
     
  3. Overlock stitch

Note: regular straight stitches are not recommended for sewing with knits.

What about the best thread for sewing knits? You’ll want to use 100% polyester thread for the best results because cotton thread tends to break on knits. Learn more about thread by reading our page, What Types of Thread to Use: A Sewing Guide.

Our Guide to Mastering Different Stitches Infographic will show you the three main categories of stitches and those within the categories. Take a look below and download your own copy here.
 

Guide to Mastering Different Stitches [Infographic]

Best Sewing Needles for Knit Fabric

As for needles, you’ll want to use a jersey/ballpoint or stretch needles when sewing with knits because the tips of those needles are round and won’t mess with the fabric.
We have tons of information on sewing needles in our resource, Sewing Needle Types.
 

Seam Allowances for Knits and Other Tips

The seam allowances for knits are smaller than other fabrics like a woven fabric, so keep that in mind if you are cutting notches into the fabric.

Stay tape will be your best friend when sewing with knits because you don’t want the fabric to stretch while you’re sewing.

You want to make sure that you pre-shrink your knits and make them rest before you cut them as the fabric won’t fit right if you start working on a stretched fabric.

Also, no irons needed. The best thing about sewing with knits is that you don’t have to iron them!

 

BONUS! Sewing Patterns for Knits

Besides the four patterns we shared about, we thought we would include a few more knit sewing patterns to try. Start with easy, small projects and, once you're comfortable, move on to the intermediate and then difficult sewing patterns.

  1. Simple Summer Tank and Shorts Pajamas
     
  2. Easy Plaid Peplum Top
     
  3. Bow Back Dress Pattern (pictured below)
     
  4. Swing Tunic Sewing Pattern​​​​​​​

Bow Back Dress Pattern

Have you ever sewn with knit fabric? If so, have any tips to share?
Let us know in the comments below!

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