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Hemming knits

AmyC | Posted in General Sewing Info on

Can someone help me with some stretch-knit basics?

I made a turtleneck for my daughter out of a stretch knit fabric.  It turned out terribly!

I used a narrow zig-zag to hem the cuffs and bottom, and  the hems puckered.    The shirt also has a pucker near the zipper.    I’m going to make another one so that I can get these details right.  I plan to put a washaway stabilizer near the zipper – I think if I stabilize the fabric around the zipper it won’t stetch and form puckers — but I’m not sure what to do about the hems.   

Replies

  1. Teaf | | #1

    You can significantly reduce the puckering effect by loosening the tension on your presser foot, usually by releasing the plunger/knob at the top of the machine case, directly in line with the needle. (Mine is numbered and usually set to a midpoint of the range.) Very stretchy knits may need the lowest setting, almost to the point where you can move the fabric back and forth even with the presser foot down, so that the fabric isn't stretched as you stitch. The correct size ballpoint needle is also important. Several Threads articles have useful tips; perhaps other, more organized readers can direct you to them!

  2. Jean | | #2

    What I find works really well is using a double needle. (with the aid of some kind of tear or wash away stabilizer if necessary). The top stitches straight and the bobbin thread zigzags giving it some stretch, but not too much. Looks very professional too.

    1. SewNancy | | #3

      I have found that the double needle and stabilizer is the best way not to stretch the hem.  I like light weight tear away.   I have tried other methods and not had great success.  Particularly if it is very stretchy.  Also, iron on interfacing for knits helps plackets and collars.  You can also sew in clear elastic for a turtleneck.  

      Nancy

  3. suesew | | #4

    I'm wondering why you have to put a zipper in at all if it really a very stretchy fabric. I also use a double needle - a 4.0 stretch needle - it will look just like a ready to wear hem. I serge the raw edge first - but with knits that isn't really necessary if you don't have a serger. A serger can be set so that you are not stretching out the raw hem edge. I would not do a zigzag over that edge because you will stretch it out.

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