One of the most exciting things about making clothing is the fun that comes from experimenting with different types of fabric. Yet it is important to understand that not all fabrics behave the same when being sewn using sewing machines. Knits are one type of fabric that open up creative possibilities yet do require special handling. Knits are often sewn using serger sewing machines; however, machines such as the Janome 660 can be used for sewing knits as long as the right accessories and processes are included. Whether using Janome sewing machines or any other brand, following the steps below will return success with comfortable knit fabrics.
Use the Right Needles
The first step in achieving success with knit fabrics on any standard sewing machines is by using the right needles, since knits are softer and have more stretch than other fabrics. Always use either a ball point needle or a stretch needle, both of which can stitch on knit fabric without snagging or laddering the fabric threads. A twin ballpoint needle is also useful for seams, edges and topstitching, making sewing with knits successful even without the use of a serger machine.
Use the Right Presser Foot
Since knit fabric stretches so easily, it is important to prevent this from happening during the sewing process, as one layer could be stretched differently than the other,which would affect the seams. A presser foot should be used that will actually grab the fabric and feed it evenly under the needle to prevent an uneven stretch while sewing. A walking foot is ideal for this, although a dual feed foot attachment can be helpful as well. Some Janome sewing machines come with a dual feed attachment and adjustment for the presser foot to reduce tension and reduce fabric stretching during sewing.
Use the Zigzag Stitch
One of the main benefits of using knit fabric is that it does have some stretch, which makes for a very comfortable, free-flowing garment. Retaining this stretch in the seams is important. Neckline and armhole seams should retain some of this fabric stretch. The best way to do this on standard sewing machines like the Janome 660 is to use the zigzag stitch. Straight stitching prevents fabric stretch; however; seams sewn with the zigzag stitch do have a nice stretch. When used in combination with the right presser foot to prevent stretch during the sewing process, the result should be a seam that stretches just enough to retain good fabric quality.>
By using these three simple tips, anyone can sew knits with ease on most standard sewing machines, including the Janome 660. All that is required is using the right sewing machine accessories that work best with the fabric. Janome sewing machines and most other standard models are multi-purpose sewing machines that can work with most fabrics when using the right approach!