Sewing with knit fabric can be challenging, especially when it comes to seaming. While knits have many positive qualities such as stretch and flexibility, they can also easily unravel and require careful attention during the sewing process.
To prevent unraveling when working with knits, it is recommended that serger sewing machines like the Janome 8002D serger be used for the best results. Still, it is possible to sew knits on machines other than sergers by using some of the suggestions below.
Sergers - The Best Option
Serger sewing machines, also called overlocks, are generally viewed as the best option when working with stretchy knit fabrics. These machines use multiple needles and threads to create a looped, interlocking stitch that covers the edge of the fabric, enclosing it in thread. With this type of finish, knits do not unravel.
The overlock stitch is also more flexible than a normal straight stitch made on a standard sewing machine. This gives the seam the stretch and flexibility needed to secure the fabric without thread breakage. Sergers are used in clothing factories to seam knits and many other types of fabric because of the durability and neatness of the finished seams they produce.
Although machines like the Janome 8002D serger are preferred when working with knit fabric, it is also possible to create similar seams with coverstitch and standard sewing machines.
Coverstitch Machine Options
Depending on the type of garment being made and the type of seam it requires, coverstitch machines can be used for sewing knit fabrics.
A coverstitch cannot create a wrapped and finished edge like serger sewing machine; however, it can produce a version of the overlock stitch that is suitable for use with knits. Coverstitch machines are useful for making hems and topstitching, two techniques commonly used with knit fabrics. These seams can also be made using a serger, although this involves unthreading the machine and changing its setup.
Standard Sewing Machine Options
A conventional sewing machine makes a single straight stitch which by itself is not the best option for sewing knits since it has no give. Seam threads can break as the fabric tries to stretch. In addition, a straight stitch does not prevent the edge from unraveling. Still, there are a few options for sewing knits on regular sewing machines when a serger is unavailable.
One option includes using a stretch or zigzag stitch, both of which offer more give than straight stitching. An overlock or overcast foot that mimics the serger overlock stitch is another way to add some give; twin needles can also be used to create a mock coverstitch. If a serger is not available, then one of these three options should be used in place of a standard straight stitch even if not as effective or durable as serger seams.
For the best results when working with knit fabrics, serger sewing machines should be used because they produce a secure and flexible multi-thread seam. A second option is a coverstitch machine; however, these units are unable to produce the same type of wrapped seam as sergers.
Sewists can create a stretch seam or manual overlock using a conventional machine with special stitches and attachments, although this is the least durable option. Overall, models like the Janome 8002D serger are the best choice for sewing knits!