When I started sewing on a more regular basis, I mostly sewed with knits. I didn’t know they were supposed to be difficult to sew because I wasn’t reading blogs yet. They were just what I was wearing the most, so it seemed logical. Though knits have never really scared me it has been really helpful to find the best techniques for sewing with different kinds of knits. I recently discovered two methods I’ve found very helpful, one for a neckline binding method for jerseys, and one for finishing bulky knits on a serger.
I’ve developed my own T&T method for knit necklines (stretch & sew), and though it gives me a good tension around the neckline I still have raw edges on the inside. I usually don’t bother serging them because the sewing machine gives me more control when installing them. But then I re-read my Briar instructions and decided to try Megan Nielsen’s method. And it’s great! I tried it only once and I immediately got the right tension, it’s done on a regular machine and there’s no raw edges. This is definitely my new favourite method.
The neckline is slightly bulkier and it looks even better sewn with a twin needle, like I did for my Briar. Because I used the technique for a self drafted pattern, I couldn’t use the Briar neckline pattern piece. I measured the neckline and armholes or my top and detracted 10% and 12% respectively, but I found out the second time that you don’t even need that much stretch in the band. Both times resulted in a very neat neckline on the inside and out! Hop over to Megan’s blog to see this method explained in detail.
The second tip I wanted to share comes from Indiesew. I was starting work on a bulky knit sweater with a lot of bias cut edges, and I wanted to serge all the edges before sewing them together. My serger is one from Lidl and I’ve always considered it to be a bit rough on fabrics. I’m not sure if that’s even true, but it makes me hesitant with things like bias cut edges and lightweight fabrics. Basic though it might be, my serger does have a dial to regulate the differential feed, and that was exactly what I needed.
Your serger has two sets of bottom feed dogs that can walk at a different speed. This way it is able to gather or stretch out a fabric while feeding it through, depending on the settings of your differential feed dial. Check your manual to see how to do this on your serger and check the post on Indiesew. When I fed my fabric through at normal settings, it stretched out the edge so it became wavy. When I set it to gather slightly, it prevented the stretching and gave me a nice flat edge. Above you can see the same pattern pieces, one serged at 1.0 and one at 1.75. What a revelation! Check the post on Indiesew for more details.
Have you used these methods before? Any other great tips to share that make sewing with knits easier?