I am really truly excited that so many of you are commenting to say that the KNITerviews have inspired you to get over yourself and try sewing with knits! I wanted to offer a few more posts about sewing with knits to help you S T R E T C H yourself (haha, GET IT??) and try it out. While I think it’s great to jump in and try new things, it’s realistic to expect a few bumps along the way. And while I strongly believe that mistakes are required if you want to learn, I also don’t want anyone to crash and burn! So I thought I’d offer a few tidbits of my own that might make sewing with knits easier for you.
So here are SIX ways that I’ve found to beat the puckery hem:
1. PRESS IT! aka The Iron Is Your Friend – this is a really good rule, for any type of sewing, really: when things look grim, press it before you toss it.
PROS: If you don’t own an iron, then you really shouldn’t be sewing. So that sounds really extreme, but I keep trying to find a better way to say it than that, and I really can’t. It’s like biking without a helmet. Or skydiving without a parachute (?). OK, maybe not quite like that…but you get my point. Pressing is REALLY REALLY REALLY important.
CONS: Pressing does not fix everything, just alotathings. For example, you can see in the photo (above) that while the iron may make the seam flatter, it can’t always un-stretch it. But it’s worth a try, right?
PROS: Easy to use on almost any sewing machine, makes a neat professional looking seam which stretches nicely due to the zig-zag on the back side.
CONS: You can’t sew with the wrong side on top because the bobbin side makes the zig-zag (this makes it a little trickier to sew a hem) and, depending on the type of knit you are using, you may get some skipped stitches. I found that using a different size needle helped, Katy suggests that you try moving your needle position over a bit, and Sascha mentions (in her KNITerview) that increasing the stitch length can also help. So a little trouble-shooting may be needed.
PROS: A little extra time at the iron, a lot less frustration at the machine.
CONS: Hard to find, a little pricey, doesn’t completely eliminate that “stretched-out” look, especially on super-stretchy knits
PROS: Everyone has paper, right?
CONS: Straight stitches break when stretched, so this might not be best for hems that see a ton of wear/stretching. I could see using it to hem a wide-leg jersey pant though! Also: thin paper doesn’t work as well as thick because it doesn’t tear away as easily and can get stuck under the stitches.
PROS: In combination with the double needle, this has become my current go-to way to hem knits. If the universal walking foot works on your machine, there could be just $10 between you and hemming happiness!
CONS: On my machine these are especially expensive (Bernina Activa 220). I had to save up for mine. No joke.
PROS: Easy finish with NO visible seams
CONS: Well you can’t put a cuff on everything.
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