Sewing with Knits- A Beginner’s Guide to Sewing with Knits + Bonus “Cheat Sheet”!
Knits: Stretchy fabrics most commonly used for leggings, simple dresses, comfortable pants, t-shirts, swimwear, etc.
Common knits found in apparel sewing: Jersey, interlock, rib knit, double knits.
*Pre-wash all fabrics. Knits will shrink according to the fiber content (cottons will shrink more than polyester).
- JERSEY – a single knit with two-way and sometimes four-way stretch. The edges tend to curl towards the right side and the fabric does not retain shape well or stretch as much as other types of knits (unless mixed with lycra/spandex). Jersey knits are most commonly used in t-shirts, simple dresses, skirts.
The Laura Dress/Top – A Beginner Knit Project
This Laura pattern is the perfect beginner garment project! It’s a loose fitting simple dress or top that teaches you how to insert a knit sleeve, attach a knit neckband, and sew a curved hem! Three essential skills needed for sewing with knits! You’ll be whipping up knit garments once you master a few Laura’s! Grab your copy of Laura, our most popular pattern, and get started sewing today! ✂
- INTERLOCK – a stable knit that is very popular and easy to sew with. Interlocks do not curl and have a similar appearance on both the right and wrongs sides. This fabric is thicker than jerseys and can be used for skirts, dresses, sleepwear, pants, shirts, tunics. *Tip – If you’re a beginner, start with interlock knits, you will find it much easier to manage and sew.
- RIB KNIT – a textured knit with long vertical ribbing offering a large amount of stretch and flexibility. This fabric is thicker than jerseys and most commonly used in close fitting garments such as body-con dresses, or as stretch trims in collars, cuffs, turtlenecks.
- DOUBLE KNIT – a stable knit that holds shape well. Double knits are double-faced meaning there is no “wrong side” to the fabric. This fabric is heavier in weight with little to no stretch and most commonly used for, jackets, coats, cardigans, pants, skirts.
Needle Sizes: Light to heavyweight knits use Universal or Ballpoint/Jersey needles in sizes 70/10 – 90/14 (the smaller needle sizes are meant for lighter weight fabrics).
Stitch Lengths: On loose fitting knit garments you may use a straight stitch along the vertical seams, between a 2.5 – 3mm stitch length. Along all other seams use a stretch stitch or a zig-zag stitch. Test various stitch lengths on a swatch of fabric before sewing to see what works best. A common zig-zag settings for seams are 1.5 width – 2.5 length. A common zig-zag settings for topstitching is 2.5 x 2.5. Again, test what works best for your particular project.
Knit tip: A popular tool used when sewing with knits is a walking foot. This foot is attached in place of your standard machine foot and helps to evenly feed the fabric while sewing, providing a neat finished garment.
Serger: A serger is a machine that neatly finishes the raw edge and seams of all types of fabrics. Sergers are sometimes used instead of sewing machines when sewing with knit fabrics as the finish provides a great amount of stretch and flexibility. A serger is not needed in order to sew, but it can be a great addition if you find yourself sewing often. Recommended serger: Brother 1034D
Knit Fabric Resources
Girl Charlee (budget friendly, beautiful knits)
Fabric Mart Fabrics (great sales)
Fabric.com (awesome free shipping over a certain purchase amount)
Mood Designer Fabrics (higher priced more durable fabrics)
Project Runway PC – 420 (my personal machine)
Brother CS600i. (budget friendly and great beginner option)
Brother 1034D (awesome and affordable serger)
Knit Patterns – Rosy Peña Patterns
Laura Dress/Top – A pullover top/dress featuring a curved high low hem that is slightly shorter in the front and longer in the back.
Priscilla Body-con Dress – A knee length fitted “bodycon” style dress with a long or elbow length sleeve option.
Chloe Sweatshirt – A classic sweatshirt featuring dropped shoulders, trendy sleeve cuffs and length variations.
Ana Top – A classic semi-fitted crew neck or scoop neck top with short, elbow and long sleeve options.
Bella Wrap Top – A gorgeous v-neck wrap style crop top with waist ties that can be styled at the side seam or center back.
Thanks for reading Beauty!
Check out Rosy Peña Patterns for even more sewing goodness!