Wednesday, August 15, 2007

It's not you, it's me, I think

Dear Sewing Machine,

We've had some times, haven't we? You were my rebound after I was forced to break up with my old machine. We've sewn many bags together, and we're starting to get up there with clothes, aren't we? For the most part, you've been pretty good to me. There was that time when I pushed you too far (read: sewing multiple layers of vinyl) to which you retaliated by throwing off your timing (side effects: wonky stitches and buttonholes). Fortunately, after a day in the sewing machine spa, you were as good as new. Since then I've been sure to use you according to your manufacturer's guidelines. That's why I'm blaming myself for the wonky stitches you sewed this evening when I attempted to sew up the jersey dress. This is the first time I've ever sewn jersey so in all honesty I have no idea what I'm doing. However, I do know enough to know that the stretch stitch you made tonight was just unacceptable. What I don't understand is why it worked wonderfully on my scrap piece, but on the actual garment it was a complete disaster (DISASTER!). Before I put all the blame on you (read: throw you out the window), I'm going to sign up for a sewing with knits class. Maybe I'll learn some tricks that you'll appreciate. If not, well, I just don't see a future in us if we can't make a good knit garment together.



Yes, people, my first attempt at sewing with knits was a complete disaster. Looks like the jersey dress that would be so perfect for Greece isn't going to happen. Any one out there have suggestions on working with knits?


  1. That's weird. I use either a 9 or 11 ball point needle and have never had that problem. In fact, sewing on knits is one of my favorites. If you have a serger, it's easy to sew knits also. It's just strange that it worked OK on your scrap fabric but not on your project. Good luck!

  2. Oh Stephanie, I know just what you're going through... I sew knits on my sewing machine (I don't have a serger) and based on advice that I've read on various message boards, this is what I do: Don't use the 'stretch stitch', instead use a very narrow zig zag stitch (like the most narrow setting or next to most narrow setting), that way the seam will still stretch when the fabric is pulled. Also, try various needles, sometimes I use a ball point needle but occasionally I have better luck with a regular needle. And you don't really need to finish the raw edges (by overcasting or zig-zagging) as knits won't ravel like wovens, and that just adds extra bulk. Good luck! I hope you are able to finish that dress.

  3. Hmmm... I would check your tension- what worked for one knit might not work for another. Also, for hems (not seams) a double need helps tremendously. Most machines can take them, you just need to loosen the tension. Double needles let the hem line stretch. Also, this might sound weird, but I would probably try making strips of fusible interfacing and lay it on the wrong side of the fabric, where you will sew over (if you are in a bind and desperately want to make a dress for Greece). That will keep it from stretching (usually used in seams that are on the bias and will stretch as you sew- like neck lines or invisible zippers), which is what makes knit harder to sew on. Knit is pretty much just a b*@#! to sew on. Good luck!

  4. i wish i had some advise for you... but, i don't... all i have are my good luck wishes! i have some lovely jersey that just sits and looks at me... wanting me to sew it... and me, not wanting to take that adventure (yet)...

  5. Excellent suggestions! I am terrified to sew with knits so I have no words of wisdom for you:)

  6. Hmmmm. Walking foot if you don't have or want to zig zag, play with tension if you do zig zag and use ball point needles.

    I love the knits. I used a rollerball foot on my first knit and it went so well I never knew they were 'hard' to sew.


I love hearing from my readers - thanks for leaving a comment!