Thursday, January 2, 2014

Back to basics, and a hint on sewing knits

In my effort to work on my goals for the year, I entered my sewing room this morning, wondering what I should put my hand to.  On top of the "pile" were some mending/slight alteration projects that had been multiplying slowly as these things tend to do.  There is some colder weather predicted in the next week or so and there were several cold weather tops that needed their sleeves shortened.  There was also a new skirt I had gotten on a too-good-to-pass-up-sale, even though a size too big. All it really needed was to have stronger, shorter elastic inserted in the waist. So, now I have two over-
shirt/sweatshirts and a purple knit skirt ready to wear. Sometimes you can get as much satisfaction in taking care of these kinds of projects as you can from something entirely new.

I'd like to pass on one tip to those who would like to sew with knits and especially have difficulty with machine hemming.  I am fortunate to have a sewing machine that has special settings for different types and weights of fabrics. But, even with out this advantage there is one thing many sewists can do to make the process go better.  If your machine will allow it, decrease the pressure on the presser foot. Check your manual or the shop where you purchased your machine if you don't know what I'm talking about. There are also numerous explanations and videos if you type "presser foot pressure" in to your search engine.

This adjustment reduces the machine's tendency to push the top layer of fabric ahead of the bottom layer and causing your hem to skew out of shape. You can see that I used the same stitch on all three projects. It's a triple stitch zig zag -(three stiches up the zig and three more down the zag.) It provides stretch and coverage. There are many other ideas about sewing with knit fabric, but I am always impressed how much this adjustment helps, without adding adhesives or changing feet or needles. I hope you can incorporate it into your bank of sewing knowledge. Maybe you won't have to say, defensively, "I don't hem knits!"


  1. Georgia, always so good to get those "fix-up" jobs out of the way. Love the purple colour, bright and cheerful. Greetings from Jean

  2. While I'm figuring out what kind of machine I need to do the task, I can just do it by hand and get it over with. You might send me the extra inches of sleeve. I have gorilla arms and the XL jacket I am wearing now is three inches too short.

  3. Thanks Jean, I'm glad to be out of the drab winter colors worn in Japan and into some brighter hues.

    Julie, I'm trying to encourage young er sewists who want to do it quick with a machine, but never had Home Ec in school.