Knits are a fun and versatile fabric you can use when sewing garments on a Janome 7330 or other Janome sewing machines. Yet there are a few things you should know about knit fabric so you’re sure to have the best experience with them.

One critical detail you need to know before choosing a knit fabric for your project is its stretch percentage. Too much or not enough stretch to the knit can negatively impact how garments sewn on sewing machines turn out.

Use the Right Knit for the Job

Knits are available for making many types of clothing. With so much variety, it’s essential that you understand the different qualities these fabrics possess, especially their stretch, before you start any new projects that call for a knit.

Certain garments created on sewing machines should have more stretch so they have the right fit, while others would stretch too much when made with the same pattern. Considering this, you should always start a knit pattern by testing the stretch percentage of the fabric you would like to use.

How Much Stretch Do You Need?

Most garment patterns include recommendations for the best fabrics to use based on the selected garment. Suggestions for knit fabrics typically include a number of things such as fabric weight, fiber blends, and two critical details about stretch that can greatly affect your project:

  1. Stretch Direction - Knit fabric is available as 2 or 4-way stretch. When the stretch is 2-way, the fabric stretches up and down vertically or side-to-side horizontally. Stretch that is 4-way stretches in all directions. These should not be interchanged as they behave differently when cut and sewn on Janome sewing machines.
  2. Stretch Percentage - This is the amount of stretch the fabric has and is measured in the percentage of added length in comparison to the fabric unstretched. Patterns might suggest a range such as 50-75% stretch for the ideal fabric to use for best results with that pattern.

How Do You Determine Stretch Percentage?

Once you know how much stretch you need for garments you plan to sew on your Janome 7330, the next step is figuring out which fabrics fit those requirements. If the bolt is labeled, it should be there. If it’s not or you have some unlabeled knit fabric to use, you can figure out its stretch percentage using this quick method:

  1. Get a ruler or cutting mat with measurements and set it on a flat surface.
  2. Put your fabric down against the ruler. Start with the corner of the fabric at the 0 mark.
  3. Hold the corner down at the 0 mark with one hand, then grasp the fabric with your other hand's fingertips at the 4” mark.
  4. Hold that 4” mark and begin to stretch out the fabric, pulling it until it doesn't stretch anymore.
  5. Calculate stretch percentage based on how much stretch you get along the ruler. Count the additional length beyond the original 4” and determine its percentage. For example, if the 4” section stretches an additional 2” to a total of 6”, this is a 50% stretch. If it only stretches to 5”, this is a 25% stretch.

The key to successful sewing with knit fabrics on versatile Janome sewing machines like the Janome 7330 is knowing knit fabric and how to best use it. Once you understand stretch percentage and you can test any fabric you encounter, you won't ever need to fear sewing with knits again. You’ll be crafting garments at home just like the ones made on factory sewing machines!

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