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Friday, October 26, 2012

Working With Knitted Fabrics: Stabilizing Seams

Knits can be tricky and don't always behave the way other fabrics do. Seams can present a problem when you run them through a sewing machine, but you can fix this with a simple piece of interfacing. To stabilize a seam when working with slippery or lightweight knits, cut a narrow strip of lightweight interfacing. No more than an inch in width, preferably. Position the strip along the seam allowance and stitch the seam through all the layers. This will prevent the delicate fabric from being pushed beneath the machine throatplate during sewing.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Working With Knit Fabrics: Finishing Edges

Knits are different than other fabrics. They are constructed of interlocking loops, and as such they do not behave the way other fabrics might. When working with knitted fabrics, you have to take these differences into account. Because knits are formed of these all-important interlocking loops, the raw edges don't unravel and typically don't require much finishing. Sometimes trying to finishing seams and edgins only adds unnecessary bulk and ruins the line of the garment.

So how should you finish the seams of projects constructed with knits? This will depend on what you're making. Take a clue from clothes hanging on the rack at your favorite store. Many of these ready-to-wear items don't finish the edges at all, leaving them raw and so reducing bulk. You can follow suit. Or, if you really can't stand leaving raw edges, try a zigzag stitch. These can finish the edge without adding much bulk at all.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Working with Knitted Fabrics: Sewing Smooth Knit Seams

There are many ways, methods, and techniques for stitching smooth knit seams. These vary by fabric type and machine tension. Some machines will be equipped with speciality stitches that stretch a fabric during the stitching process, and if your machine has this setting, you should use it for knit fabrics. It's usually marked as a knit setting on the sewing machine or in the manual that came with the machine. This setting will allow you to create smooth seams.

But what if your machine doesn't have this very specific setting? You can still get decent seams on your own sewing machine. Try using a longer stitch when sewing the seam, but make sure the fabric doesn't stretch while you're doing it or you'll end up with a bunchy seam. Don't try to mimic the knit setting if your machine doesn't have it. Work with what you have instead.

You might also try a very narrow zigzag stitch (which is my favorite alternative) or using a serger if you have one. Test the various methods on scraps of fabric to determine which is the best for the specific fabric you're using. Remember that all fabrics are a little different, so always do a little test run before working with your actual project.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Working With Knitted Fabrics: Using Interfacing With Knits

As much as I detest working with interfacing, sometimes it's inevitable. Sometimes you need to stiffen up your fabric, or just add a little more stability. Knits, like other fabrics, can often benefit from a little more stability, depending on the project, of course. Unlike other fabrics, however, knits require a very specific interfacing. Woven and nonwoven fusible interfacings are simply too rigid and usually cause the knit fabric to bubble or pucker after fusing. And after fusing is too late to fix it.

Prevent this problem by choosing your interfacing with care. Tricot knit interfacing, available at most fabric stores, is lightweight and stretchy. This makes it less noticeable when fused to knit fabrics. It also won't damage knit fabrics the way other fusible interfacings can. So do yourself a favor and choose the right interfacing based on the fabric you're using. Don't just grab whatever happens to be on the shelf.