How to Sew Knit Fabric

How to Sew Knit Fabric

Learning how to sew knit fabric is a no-brainer even if you are a beginner. With a straightforward guide and suitable materials, you’ll nail it fast and become a pro.

Check out this video to learn more about how to sew knit fabrics.

If you wonder what thread to use for knit fabric, the simple answer is textured polyester or textured nylon threads. They are the best for good results. Below are steps on how to sew knit fabric by hand.

How to Sew Knit Fabric by Hand

How to sew knit fabric by hand
Image Source: Sewing is Cool

Step 1: Thread your needle like when learning how to weave in ends in knitting,

Step 2: Secure your thread on the fabric where you want to sew. Insert the needle from right to left through the knit threads of your garment.

Step 3: While moving to the right, repeat inserting the thread from right to left through threads along the hem as if to pick up stitches in knitting.

Step 4: Pull the thread loosely and avoid tightening it. Ensure it’s tight enough that the stitching is secure and the threads will be hidden. Simply, it should not warp the fabric but allows a stretch.

Step 5: Repeat steps two and three until the hem is secure. You got it! The sewing method is simple and can be used to join pieces of fabric attractively.

How to Sew Knits Together

How to sew knits together
Image Source: Brooklyn Tweed

Most knitters don’t like sewing knit pieces together because the process looks complicated. But there are easy options for sewing and finishing your work. For the best invisible seam, use a mattress stitch to join the knits. You may also use topstitch or whip stitch.

Step 1: Pick the two pieces you want to sew and set them flat next to each other on a sewing table. Ensure the edges are touching one another and the right side facing up.

Step 2: Thread your darning needle with a yarn that matches the fabric’s color. Your sewing yarn should be three times the length of the knit pieces. To keep the yarn in place, ensure you pull at least 10 centimeters of thread through the needle eye.

Step 3: Make a knot of your choice at the bottom of the yarn to ensure you secure it before pulling it to the bottom of the left piece. Use the how to cast on knitting method.

Step 4: Start sewing by inserting your needle at the bottom corner of the piece on the right-hand side. Move the needle from back to front into the first stitch of the fabric piece you’re joining. Pull the yarn loosely as you’ll tighten it later.

Note: The two knit fabric pieces can be two and a half centimeters apart when doing the mattress stitch.

Step 5: Locate a gap next to your stitch edge where you’ll insert your sewing needle like you did when learning how to knit. You can pull apart the edge of the left fabric piece to see the gap within the first horizontal line and second to the last knitted row. Below the two horizontal bars or lines near the bottom of the fabric piece,  insert your darning needle and pull the yarn through and up.

Note: Don’t pull the two pieces tightly together. If you want a tighter seam, instead of inserting your needle through two horizontal bars, you may use one needle and ensure consistency when going back and forth between the bars.

Step 6: After your first stitch up there, your yarn should create a line even with the stitch that you pulled through on the left fabric knit piece. Alternate the mattress stitch by inserting the needle under two horizontal bars of the left knit fabric piece and then pulling it through and up.  Again insert the needle back to the right knit fabric and continue to sew until five centimeters long.

Step 7: Hold the yarn with one hand and gently press down the two knit fabric pieces using the other hand. Hold the yarn facing away from you and pull it gently to tighten the stitches you‘ve done. 

Step 8: You are not through yet! Keep inserting your darning needle below one or two horizontal bars (depending on how you started to maintain consistency) and pulling the through and up. Repeat the back and forth process until you reach another five centimeters. Pull the yarn again and tighten the stitch.

Step 9: Repeat step eight until you reach the end of the seam. After joining the two pieces, insert your darning needle into the loop of your knit fabric piece on your opposite side. Tighten the yarn by pulling it through the loop. Cut the remaining yarn and leave a five centimeters tail which you will use to weave in ends.  

How to Sew Jersey Knit Fabric for Beginners using Sewing Machine

Sewing with knit and jersey fabrics
Image Source: Sewing Essential

When sewing jersey knit fabric for beginners, you’ll start by calculating the stretch percentage of your fabric. Carry your tape measure to the textile shop and do the math. Are you wondering what to sew with jersey knit fabric? In our sample, we shall sew a poncho, although you can sew other garments. Let’s first look at the best stitch to use for jersey knit fabric poncho. 

What Stitch to Use for Jersey Knit Fabric Poncho

How to sew with jersey fabrics
Image Source: The Sewing Directory

The best stitch to use for sewing jersey knit fabric is either a stretch stitch that looks like a lightning flash or a narrow and short zigzag stitch.

An overcast stitch is another option. It sews and finishes your seams immediately.

How to Sew a Jersey Knit Poncho using Machine

Bella dress simple sew love
Image Source: SusiedDesigns

A poncho is one of the simple garments you can sew using jersey knit fabric. Here are the steps:

Material required

    • Ballpoint pins
    • Sewing machine needles
    • Sharp Scissors
    • Thread
    • Medium weight jersey
    • Basic sewing kit
    • Erasable fabric marker
    1. Cut Out the Pieces
      • Cut a rectangle shape measuring 110 centimeters by 135 centimeters from your main jersey. You may change the measurements depending on your size.
      • Cut a binding strip of about three centimeters by 80 centimeters.

      2. Style the Neck Opening Step By Step

How to sew knit fabric
Image Source: Garn Studio

Step 1: Hold the rectangle by the width and fold it halfway. Decide where to place your neck, ie at the center or on the side, then measure the width of your neck opening. Mark using the ballpoint pins. When learning how to knit a blanket, we marked stitches stitch markers. 

Step 2: To mark the desired depth of your poncho, measure towards the inside from the halfway point that you folded. Mark this point with another pin. Like you did when learning how to knit a hat.

Step 3: Using the tailor’s chalk or erasable fabric marker, draw a continuous curve connecting the three points you marked. To secure the curve, pin several points around the jersey.

Step 4: Cut around the curve with sharp scissors.

Step 5: On the WS, fold the long edges of the binding strip and press. Lengthways, fold the whole strip in half with the WS, and press.

Step 6: RS facing you, open and pin the short ends of the binding together.

Step 7: Fold the binding to the WS, pin, then tack the neck in place. Ensure the neckline is even and smooth.

Step 8: To sew the neck, use the topstitch from the RS, and ensure you catch the back of the binding and seam allowance. Don’t forget to insert care labels from the WS.

      3. Hem the Poncho

      • Press iron –on the border to the WS of all the edges. Ensure it overlaps at the end of each border strip to avoid gaps. You can also use a paper towel.
      • Finish the edges with a serger or zigzag stitch.
      • Press the short edges on the WS. Using a narrow zigzag stitch, you can now topstitch.
      • Repeat the procedure for the rest of the edges and press on the WS to finish, like you did when learning how to knit a sweater.

Abbreviation

Meaning

WS

Wrong Side

RS

Right Side

Sw

Sew

K

Knit

How to Sew Knit Fabric on a Sewing Machine

When sewing knit fabric on a sewing machine, you can use the normal machine with a serger or regular machine as they both work pretty well. Are you wondering what to sew with knit fabric? You can sew a swimsuit, a T-shirt or any other garment of your choice. Here are the steps on how to sew knit fabric on a sewing machine.

Step 1: Change your Machine Needle

Finger tighten needle clamp screw
Image Source: Hunting for Lady Bugs

Wondering what needle to use for knit fabrics? Relax! The best needle for knit fabric in your machine is a ballpoint or stretch needle. 

Step 2: Use Zigzag Stitch

The versatile zigzag stitch
Image Source: We All Sew

Zigzag is the best stitch for knit fabric when sewing horizontal seams. Adjust and set your machine accordingly because the horizontal lines of knit fabric normally stretch out when sewing.

To ensure you set the preferred zigzag style consult your machine manual on how to change the settings. Remember to test your zigzag stitch on a sample fabric.

Step 3: Change the Presser Foot

How to sew knits
Image Source: I Fix It

The excellent foot for preventing your fabric layer from stretching are walking foot or a dual feed foot attachment. Choosing the one to use depends on your machine type.

Step 4: Don’t stretch the Fabric when Sewing.

Avoid stretching your fabric as it passes through the sewing machine. Place it in front of the machine by laying it flat and hold it up slightly by hand, so it doesn’t fold. You can also fix woven labels at this point.

Step 5: Optional Finishing

Best needle for knit fabric
Image Source: Pinterest

Since the knit fabric doesn’t run, you need not finish the seams. But if you want (for beauty only) you can finish using a zigzag stitch or use a serger as shown in this video.

Stitch Name 

Best for

Zigzag Stitch

Sewing and Hemming

Stretch Stitch

Sewing

Serger Stitch

Hemming

Cover Stitch

Hemming

How to Stabilize Knit Fabric for Sewing

How to stabilize knit fabric for sewing
Image Source: Sew Aholic

    1. Start by adding a stabilizer to the seams. Note: if you are stabilizing seams for a top, consider the shoulders.
    2. Cut a stabilizer piece that is longer than the seams by about one or two inches, as shown in this video.
    3. Hold the rear and front fabric pieces together.
    4. Place the stabilizer on the top of the fabric pieces and along the seam line, then place the pieces under the presser foot.
    5. You can sew the stitches or use a serger from the middle of the stabilizer to the end of the seam and align the lines correctly.
    6. Cut off the excess stabilizer from both end seams like you did when casting off.

Conclusion

Learning how to sew knit fabric is simple and an essential skill for keeps. You can use different needles and stitches to achieve a unique seam. If wondering what stitch to use for knit fabric, you can settle for zigzag as it is the best and most preferred.

As always, practice makes perfect! Try stabilizing your T-shirt today!

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