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Help with knits,please!

amgraves | Posted in General Sewing Info on

Hi! I just joined this forum and am really hoping someone has some tips for me! I mainly sew clothing for my children and handbags. I’ve recently gotten into sewing with knits, but, am having the hardest time sewing a seam without a pucker! I mainly have trouble with rib knits and interlocks. I use a ball point needle. I’ve tried to stretch the fabric slightly as I sew, tried it without stretching, messed with the tension, stitch length, etc, etc. Anyone have any great secrets for a clean seam?


  1. LindaG | | #1


    I had the most trouble with puckering in knits when I was sewing hems -- sewing across the knit rather than along it.  For this, using a twin needle with wooly nylon in the  bobbin works well for me. 

    If the puckers are occurring along the length of the knit (say, at side seams), a narrow zig zag for that seam might help.

    I'd try not to stretch the seam too much as it is sewn.  The stretchy top of the sleeve (cross rib) placed against the less stretchy vertical of the front and back armhole (with the rib) won't really steam back into shape.

    I also stabilize the shoulder seams by adding a piece of thin twill tape to the seam.  This prevents the shoulders from bagging out due to the crosswise stretch. 

    Good luck -- knits are gratifying, great results and fast work, especially for kids' wear or when every detail need not be perfect.




    1. amgraves | | #3

      Thank you for the advice! I will give the twin needles a shot. What is wooly nylon, though? Amanda

      1. LindaG | | #6

        Wooly nylon is a very soft, stretchy thread.  It would probably make a mess in the upper part of a sewing machine because regulating the tension would be very difficult (it would stretch going through the needle, if indeed you could even get it through the eye of the needle).  Most of the fabric stores have wooly nylon in at least white and black.

  2. mem | | #2

    Lindasadvice is very good and if all else fails think about a serger with differential feed . They are REALLY useful in this situation.

  3. lovemycottons | | #4

    I have used a walking foot when sewing with knits which helped. I also used the knit stitch (stretch stitch) provided on my machine. I was very happy with the results as there was very little, if no puckering.

  4. Teaf5 | | #5

    Have you tried loosening the pressure foot tension? It controls how firmly the pressure foot presses the fabric down onto the feed dogs. You want it to be fairly light on knits so that the foot glides over the fabric rather than pushing down on it, basically stretching it, while you sew.

    On my very old machine, I also need to use a fairly short stitch with a tiny amount of zigzag to allow for the "give" in knits. My newer machine has a stretch stitch that works well, but in either case, I also have to make sure the pressure foot tension is adjusted to the particular knit. Try it on a scrap and good luck!

    1. CCDIANE | | #7

      Can the pressure foot tension be adjusted on all machines.. I have a Pfaff 7570(?) and don't have a clue how to do that..

      1. Teaf5 | | #8

        Yikes, that's one of the few I've never used or seen! I can't imagine any except the cheapest machine without an adjustment, as it would limit you to a single type of fabric. The pressure you need for tightly woven cottons is completely different from what you need for fleece or stretch fabrics.On one of my machines, it's a collar/post on the top left of the machine case; twisting the collar tightens or loosens the foot tension. On my other machine, it's inside the case where the light is, a horizontal dial. Both have numbers on them to indicate stronger/higher or lighter/lower tension on the presser foot.Maybe someone else on the forum has your model and can specify for you.

      2. KarenW | | #9

        Are you having trouble with knits with the 7570?  You can't adjust the foot pressure on that machine, but with the dual feed engaged I found mine sewed knits far better than my other favorite brand (until I got a model that did have adjustable foot pressure, but even then the Pfaff was my preference).  If you haven't tried the knits you want on it, do so on some scraps without worrying about foot pressure adjustment, you may be very pleasantly surprised!


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