A beginner’s guide to sewing with knit fabric (from a beginner).
Sewing knit fabric has been something I’ve avoided in the past but since joining Cashmerette Club* and having access to their wonderful resources, I’ve gained a lot of confidence in this area. In fact, I’ve been looking for more to sew! The Brattle Top is the April pattern of the month for Cashmerette Club. It’s a tee with a twist front. It’s such a comfortable top to wear and the twist just gives it a little bit of interest.
For those that are just venturing into sewing knit fabrics, here are a few tips that I wish I had known before starting out.
You’ll need a ballpoint sewing machine needle. The ballpoint needle will slip between the fibres of the fabric and will not snag the fabric. In my first attempt, I had tried sewing with a universal needle and it was snagging that fabric so badly that I just could not continue until a lovely person on Instagram informed me about ballpoint needles.
Another problem I had encountered with my first attempt at knit fabric sewing was that my stitches kept breaking off. This is because there’s elasticity in the fabric and a straight stitch just doesn’t accommodate for this stretch. I use a lightning stitch or a zig-zag stitch. I tend to use the lightning stitch for seams because it has a narrow width with longer stitch length, but the zig-zag stitch looks better for top stitching. For hemming, I use the twin needle.
Don’t pull on the fabric
Another challenge with the elasticity of the fabric is the temptation to pull the fabric as you sew which warps the fabric. I’m just very mindful not to put tension on the fabric unless I’m attaching something like a neckband which is often a requirement of the pattern. Otherwise, I try to keep the fabric flat.
Get yourself an overlocker
Ok, this is technically not a tip! It’s not a requirement at all for sewing with knit fabric but it does make it easy if you have one. In fact, some people sew almost the entire project on their overlockers. I bought mine second hand off Facebook marketplace. It’s a very old and heavy Bernina which has not missed a beat.
The Brattle top is a great beginner’s pattern. Luckily, I had no problems sewing it. The construction is easy to follow, and it comes together quickly. I’ve made the short sleeve version, but the sleeves are also interchangeable with the Carlyle Tee. I might try a three-quarter sleeve version for the cooler months. I’ve sewn the size 10 for my measurements of 35-inch high bust, 37-inch full bust and 33-inch waist. I find this to be a great fit and did not make any adjustments.
I’m glad that I’ve been challenged to sew with knit fabric. It’s such a comfortable and versatile fabric to wear and style. I’ll be trying a few more patterns for knit fabric in the future.
Thanks for reading and happy sewing!
*Cashmerette Club membership has been kindly gifted to me as part of a collaboration with Cashmerette.