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Hi all,

I’m new to sewing and have only worked with woven fabrics before.

Is there anyone out there that can give any advice for sewing with knitted stretch fabrics?

If it would help I have a Janome RE1306


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  • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

    Jul 21, 2010, 08.07 AMby katexxxxxx

    Have you looked up and read my essay on sewing with stretch fabrics? it covers most of what you need…


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    • 416900_10151369726393582_589974698_n_large

      Jul 21, 2010, 09.03 AMby vote1rachel

      The page wouldn’t load but I have found out some info on how to vaguely do it. Just need to find out how to do it for my machine since the instruction manaul doesn’t say much.

      Many thanks

  • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

    Jul 21, 2010, 09.37 AMby katexxxxxx

    Here you go:

    Knits aren’t terribly difficult, they just need care, and, as with so much in sewing, the right equipment!

    To start with, you HAVE to keep the stretch nature of kits in mind: use a light touch when handling them, and be careful not to pull the fabric, when cutting or sewing, or even just moving it from one place to another! Be extra careful when pinning out a pattern that you don’t distort it as you pin and cut: don’t lift the fabric as you cut, especially… One good way to avoid this is to use a rotary cutter and a mat – or three for a long bit! ;)

    Fit the right type of needle to the sewing machine. For T shirt fabric a KNIT or JERSEY needle is best. Anything containing Lycra/Spandex/elastane will need a STRETCH needle, and anything like swimsuit fabric or shiny nylon/Lycra knits for dance wear needs a SUPER STRETCH needle.

    Match your thread to the fabric, much as you would for any other project. I like to use polycore on cotton knits (polyester thread wrapped in cotton), and bulk nylon in the serger loopers on stretch fabrics… For general purpose sewing with the ordinary machine, a good quality poly thread like Coats Duet thread will be fine.

    For seams, I like to use the serger, as the seams have stretch built in automatically, but if you don’t have one, there’s no reason not to use an ordinary sewing machine. One thing I WOULD advise is that you forget the ‘stretch’ or ‘overlock’ stitches on it! Just use a short stitch length and a narrow zigzag: this will build in enough stretch for most purposes. You can neaten the edges with a wider zigzag later if you need to, and trim off the excess seam allowances…

    I advise this as the stretch stitches on an ordinary machine are seriously thread-hungry, tend to be bulky, and feel knobbly! Ugh! AND they stretch less than the zz method! :D

    To help the fabric feed evenly without stretching and distorting, use either a roller foot (one with little wheels in), like this:http://www.bredons.co.uk/roller-foot_3000_293.htm or this: http://i14.ebayimg.com/03/i/000/a6/a2/c488_1.JPG, or a walking foot like this: http://cdn.overstock.com/images/products/P10325047.jpg. This will give you feed teeth on the top as well as under the fabric, and help it to feed through without the presser foot stretching it as you go.

    If you have neither, and still want to try, use the ‘taut sewing’ method: stretch the fabric JUST A TINY BIT with even pressure before and behind the needle. DO NOT pull the fabric through the machine! Let the machine feed the fabric while you stretch it just a bit. This helps the fabric to feed and builds in a little more stretch. It’s fine to use on fabrics with good recovery, like those with Lycra, but not so hot on 100% cotton T shirt fabric as the stitching can add too much bulk and the fabric ripples rather than snapping back…

    Just start slowly, go carefully, and you’ll get there in the end. :)

    1 Reply
    • 416900_10151369726393582_589974698_n_large

      Jul 21, 2010, 10.24 PMby vote1rachel

      Thank you very much! Very helpful :D

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