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Sewing with Threads Podcast

A Pro’s Tips for Sewing Knits | Episode 17

Episode 17: Pamela Leggett shares her expertise for getting great results when sewing knits of different weights and textures.

Video: Threads magazine

In the Sewing with Threads Episode 17 video podcast, knit fabrics and serging expert Pamela Leggett offers advice and a few tricks for achieving great results when working with knit fabrics. She discusses how to sew textured, ribbed, scuba, and other knits; using stabilizers on them; best machine needles; and the stitch type she selects for sewing smooth seams and edges.

Pamela, the owner of Pamela’s Patterns, has been teaching for more than 35 years as a Palmer/Pletsch instructor, and more recently as a Craftsy and YouTube teacher. She has produced two serger techniques DVDs, Fashion Serge with Pamela Leggett and Serger Techniques with Pamela Leggett, and written Sewing Essentials, Serger Techniques (The Taunton Press, 2015)

Her earliest garment inspiration stems from her third-grade crush on singer-songwriter Paul McCartney. She shares the story, along with her biggest sewing disaster, sewing challenges, and her most cherished garment.

“My favorite piece of clothing is always what I am working on right now,” she says. She recently completed a coat, which—surprisingly—is not made from a knit fabric. Instead, Pamela, says she constructed the tailored coat from a Marc Jacobs cashmere using a Vogue dress pattern she adapted using her Palmer/Pletsch tissue-fitting skills.

These days, she’s working on creating three new patterns, which she plans to release on her Pamela’s Patterns website in the coming months. Pamela is also a fitting expert and shares her thoughts about patterns and fitting in an earlier podcast: “Patterns vs. Real Women’s Bodies.”

During this podcast about knits, Pamela offers on-the-spot suggestions to the Threads editors for sewing seams on a highly textured knit and a ribbed knit, along with how to prevent the sewing machine’s needle from pushing a tissue knit through a machine’s throat plate during stitching.

The right and wrong sides of a highly textured knit are attractive but could be distorted in a garment with improperly sewn seams. Pamela Leggett explains how to best sew them.

Pamela also troubleshoots the problem of skipped stitches on heavier-weight knits, dealing with seam allowances on stiff knits, and how to finish the binding after altering a ready-to-wear bathing suit.

For additional expert advice from Pamela, see some of her Threads articles:

“Precise Edges on Collars and Lapels,” Threads #194, Dec. 2017/Jan. 2018;

“Chic Knit Jacket,” Threads #191 June/July 2017;

“Make Your Own Shapewear,” Threads #183 Feb./March 2016.

This episode of Sewing with Threads is sponsored by Baby Lock and C&T Publishing.

Want to get your first Baby Lock machine? Are you ready to upgrade to a newer model? Maybe you want to get your hands on that embroidery machine you’ve been thinking about. You’re in luck. Baby Lock’s Warehouse Sale is here. For a limited time, you can get select Baby Lock machines at reduced prices. Hurry, the Baby Lock Warehouse Sale ends July 31. Selection and quantity vary by location and retailer availability. So, if you have your eye on something, get it during this sale or it may be gone forever. Visit BabyLock.com to find a retailer near you.


In Behind the Seams, the new podcast from C&T Publishing, Acquisitions Editor Roxane Cerda interviews some of the amazing quilting and sewing personalities whom she’s gotten to know through her 20 years in the industry.

To know great crafters, learn the back stories behind events and people, and hear funny stories from people living the crafty life, download the entire first season of Behind the Seams now on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.

C&T Publishing

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  1. joyfulstitcher | | #1

    I enjoyed the podcast on sewing with knits. I was surprised that it was recommended that the linen knit be machine washed and dried. As a knitter who has worked with linen yarn, I would suggest that a linen knit that is already woven be treated as linen yarn by hand washing and blocking or re-blocking. Also, the dryer takes out some of the structure of the yarn fiber. Air drying and blocking and wearing will also soften the fabric naturally over time.

  2. user-6617347 | | #2

    I agree with JoyfulStitcher about hand washing the knitted linen fabric. I think that might be a good idea from beginning (when the fabric is uncut) to the end (when the garment has been made). When you think about it, delicate type knits like that are recommended to be hand-washed and laid flat to dry when they are rtw garments.
    Next, about the skipped stitches. I think that Nancy Ziemans' "wobble stitch" idea is a good one that allows for the stretch and recovery needed when wearing some knit fabrics. Also, (and I waited to hear someone speak on this, but no one did) using an even feed foot is, I find, an absolute must when sewing knit fabrics. ALONG WITH a slower machine speed. I highly recommend trying those two things when machine sewing knit fabrics. They really keep the stitches from skipping and me from pulling out copious amounts of hair. :-)

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