You can choose from a variety of knit fabrics that are both stretchy and comfortable when making clothes. It is important to remember that knits can be difficult to work with, just like stretch fabrics. These tips will help you sew knit fabric. This will allow you to create a wide range of DIY clothing options.
What is a Knit Fabric?
Knit fabric can be described as a stretchy, comfortable type of clothing material that is made from interlocking loops (also known as knitting) of yarn. Although sewists are able to knit clothing by hand using knitting needles, yarn and knitting needles, most clothing manufacturers use multiple sets of yarns as well as a large commercial knitting machine. Many knitted materials are used in leggings, swimsuits, pants and T-shirts (including fleeces and cotton jerseys).
Knit fabrics come in two-way stretch, which stretches either lengthwise (or widthwise), or four-way stretch (which can stretch both directions). Knit fabrics, which are more structured and have less stretch than lightweight wovens, require advanced sewing skills.
8 Types Of Knit Fabric
There are many types of knit fabrics available, including:
- Double knit: This fabric is the same on both sides, and it is thicker than most knits. Double knit fabrics are structured and heavy-weight.
- Fleece knit: This piled knitting has a brushed, ultrasoft texture on the right (or outside), much like a sweatshirt fleece.
- French terry knitting: French terry knitting features piles of yarn and loops on one side. This knit creates terry cloth which is a popular material to make towels and bathrobes.
- Interlock knit: These fabrics are soft and comfortable and appear the same on both sides. They’re popular for making reversible clothes.
- Jersey knit: This is a common T-shirt material. Four-way-knit jerseys were originally made from wool. However, modern producers now use cotton, cotton blends and synthetic fibers. Jersey fabric’s outside is soft and smooth with a single rib knit. The inside is made up of loops.
- Rayon knit: These lightweight, ultra-soft Rayon knits are slightly lighter in weight than cotton and have an elegant drape making them suitable for use as a dress fabric.
- Rib knit: This stretch fabric has alternating knit-purl stitches. The former is raised, the latter is recessed. Vertical ribbing can be seen on the outside. This sweater knit is a common one and can be used to make dresses, cardigans and pullovers.
- Tricot knit: This knitted fabric is popular for activewear, swimwear and lingerie. It has ribs that run in one direction on each side.
Five Tools You Need to Sew Knit Fabrics
You will need the same materials as for any other sewing project, plus a few special items.
- Needle: Some special sewing machine needles, such as ballpoint or stretch needles, are more gentle on knit fabric than other universal needles. A ballpoint needle’s tip is rounded and can reach through the fibers. A stretch needle is extra sharp and avoids skipped stitches. Twin needles, another type of common tool, can be used to create straight stitches.
- Sewing machine: Knitting knit fabric is similar to sewing with light-to-medium-weight fabrics. You can use any regular sewing machine. Although you don’t necessarily need a specific model, an overlock or serger machine can finish stretch knits and prevent them from puckering.
- Sewing supplies: You will need the same supplies for any sewing project as you would with any other, including fabric scissors and pins, tailor’s pencil, iron, and iron.
- Stretch thread: Use stretch thread made from fabrics such as nylon with a little give to prevent unsightly puckering.
- Walking foot: To prevent your fabric from stretching or separating during sewing, attach a walking foot to your machine.
How to sew knit fabric
These step-by-step instructions will show you how to sew knit fabric.
- You can practice with different materials. Before you start sewing knits, practice with other fabrics. Knits are easy to sew because they are stretchy and thin. Once you have solid sewing skills, knitting will be easier.
- Pre-shrink your fabric. Knits can shrink just like any other fabric. To avoid this, wash and dry your material prior to sewing.
- Cut your pattern with care. Your pattern pieces should be cut on a flat surface. The edges of stretchy fabrics can pull on your measurements and cause them to be inaccurate. Also, be sure to leave seam allowances on all sides.
- The right needle and stitch width are important. To avoid fraying knits, you should use a stretch or ballpoint needle when working with knits. To complete your sewing project, you can add zigzag or stretch stitches to this needle. They won’t come undone and allow your fabric expand. The stitch length determines how much room it can expand. An excellent option is the narrow zig-zag.
- Sew carefully the fabric. When you are feeding the fabric through your sewing machine’s presser foot, be careful not to stretch it or pull it. To allow the fabric to flow through your machine easily, you might consider reducing the pressure on the foot.
- Your fabric should be hemmed. It can be challenging to hem knit fabrics because they can easily unravel and because the traditional fold-over method adds bulk. To finish the hem of your knit fabric in a professional manner, use twin needles and a straight stitch.