Knits are lovely, versatile fabrics but they do present a challenge for anyone who has only ever used their sewing machine on standard fabric types because the knit weave behaves differently to cloth weaves. But this shouldn’t put you off! With a few tips from Empisal, the sewing machine specialists, you can start creating beautiful knit clothes and furnishings in no time at all.

What is a knit fabric and why is it different to work with?

Standard fabric is made either by weaving fibres in an overlapping grid pattern, horizontally and vertically, or simply meshing fine fibres together. Knits can be woven in numerous differently patterned loops, and this means that it can stretch and pull in any direction – making it more difficult to work with. Knowing the direction in which your knit pulls as well as how much it pulls is key to working with these fabrics.

Using your sewing machine to sew knits

  • Rather than pulling your knit through the sewing machine as it sews, let your feed dogs do all the work. This will prevent overstretching, along with wavy or curled seams. Make sure that you aren’t putting too much pressure on the presser foot, as this can also cause too much stretching. Your user manual should be able to help you manage your pressure properly.
  • Another tip is to use the right type of needle. A ball point type needle will work best with the loops of a knit fabric, while a sharp pointed needle will likely cause missed stitches or poorly formed stitches.
  • Basting is a good technique to use while hemming or seaming a knit item, as it prevents the fabric from twisting out of shape.
  • Remember to set your sewing machine to a stretch stitch setting if it has one. If it doesn’t, then you can use a zigzag stitch setting. Try out the different settings on any scraps you have to see which one holds the material the best. If you have an overlocker, now is the perfect time to use it as it makes it a lot easier to sew with knits!

This winter, get sewing with beautiful cosy knits and Empisal!

At Empisal, we’ve been providing high quality, affordable sewing machines, sewing kits, overlockers, haberdashery products and ironing equipment to South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa for over 35 years. Ideal for anyone who wants to learn to sew as well as accomplished crafters and professionals, our machines and equipment are reliable, precise and durable.

For more information on our sewing machines and products, please contact us today.