Knits can be a fun type of fabric to work with when making comfortable, functional garments on sewing machines. They can also be quite a challenge to use when sewing, leaving many with a fear of even trying to create a garment using knits.
The good news is there is nothing to fear when working with knit fabrics, providing a few simple techniques are observed. By following the four tips shown below, you should be able to sew garments on Juki sewing machines, such as the Juki TL2000QI that are both beautiful and well made.
Tip 1 - Use the Right Needle and Thread
When working with knits, be sure to change the universal needle to a ball point needle. A universal needle can typically handle most fabrics; however, it may snag or cause thread breakage when stitching through the fine threads that create knit fabric. Ball point needles slide right through, pushing those fine threads out of the way rather than pushing through them or snagging on them. Also be sure to switch to a polyester thread. Polyester thread has a slight amount of stretch, which produces better results when using knits on Juki sewing machines.
Tip 2 - Don’t Stretch It!
The way knit fabric stretches is one of its best qualities since it wears very comfortably due to that give. Yet it is this tendency to stretch while being handled that can make it harder to work with on sewing machines. The most important factor when using this fabric is to handle it carefully and avoid stretching it. Whether measuring, cutting out pattern pieces, or sewing the material with a sewing machine, avoid tugging, pulling, or anything else that will cause it to stretch. Stretching will result in improper cuts and warped, wrinkled, or crooked seams.
Tip 3 - Use the Right Stitches
The goal when sewing knit fabrics is to stitch everything together without warping the fabric while still maintaining its stretch. This can be challenging because normal straight stitches offer very little stretch. To produce the best and most flexible seams, sergers can be extremely helpful; however, not everyone owns a serger machine. Two other options that can work well are a zigzag or a stretch stitch. Both these stitches are made so that they allow the seam to stretch a bit with the fabric, which is a desired result.
Tip 4 - Reduce the Pressure
After inserting the ball point needle, changing to polyester thread, and setting the Juki TL2000QI to a zigzag or stretch stitch setting, then adjust the pressure on the presser foot. The presser foot works by pushing down on the fabric to help the feed dogs push it forward. With most other fabrics, these actions do not interfere with stretch. With knits, the feed dogs can stretch the fabric. Avoid this in one of the three following ways:
- Lower the pressure on the presser foot adjustment.
- Put clear tape on the fabric where the foot is positioned so it slides over the fabric.
- Use stabilizers underneath the fabric to keep the feed dogs from stretching the knit.
The trick to getting great results when working with knits using sewing machines like the Juki TL2000QI is using the right tools and techniques to prevent damage and unwanted stretch to the fabric. By using these four easy tips, almost anyone can sew beautiful garments made from knit fabrics on their Juki sewing machines!