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Sewing Knits

tzipi | Posted in General Discussion on

I just made a very cute t-shirt from a Burda pattern. When I turned in the neckline and sewed it down with the machine using a zig-zag stich the neckline became all wavy and does not lie flat. Can anyone out there help me with this? Thanks


  1. Jean | | #1

    Next time try sewing it with a double needle, being very careful not to stretch the fabic as you sew. Try practicing on a scrap with a similar curve line. It makes a nice finished edge.

  2. mem | | #2

    try using a serger with differntial feed to finsh the edge before you sew it down Then use a double needle and maybe some wooly nylon on the bobbin.

  3. ValerieJ | | #3

    I just made a nightgown and had the same problem. Next time I might try a little fusible interfacing along the neck edge to try to stabilize it. It's a Kwik Sew pattern, and the directions were to overlock the inside edge of a neckband, then attach to the neck edge. I thought I had everything set up just fine on my serger, but with the differential feed set the way the serger said to set it, the neckband ended up being gathered (although it looked OK). Then when I tried to turn it under the overlocked edge wasn't long enough. What a nightmare.

    I think I am also going to fold the band in half and overlock it to the neck edge next. Seems like it will be a nicer look and will be more stable.

  4. SewNancy | | #4

    I have been sewing for years but I don't seem to have any luck with the strethcy, rayon lycra blends. I too, had a similar fiasco. I am making a top now with a band that is interfaced, seems better. I bought a top out of similar material and the neck had a band attached as a double, all in one put on with the serger in the round. I would think that that would be better, also, I think that in future I will bind instead of just folding and stitching. I have used all the suggestions mentioned and none seem to work for me.

    1. dotty | | #5

      After sewing nothing but woven cottons all my life, I've been trying out knits lately. Everyone says they're easy. Every project I've done has some bump or wrinkle or wavy bit that just isn't right. Ripping out is much harder and riskier in knits. I recently got overly enthusiastic and decided to try a swimsuit. I read all the advice I could find before I started. Alas the finished product has a lot of crookedness, bumps and buckles. luckily I'm 52 and I doubt anyone will have a close look. I just had to vent my frustration. I think it may be that I've found the one type of craft I just don't have the knack for.

      1. mem | | #6

        I actually hate knits .!! Necks are really hard and I have resorted to using facings Trying to get a V neck right with a bound edge is  just soul destroying . I have found that using differential feed and the blindheming is the best option for hems however . I just ease out the differential fed bits to fit and leave long tails so that I can do that without the ends unravelling.

      2. SewNancy | | #7

        I have never been so frustrated when sewing as with knits! I see other women post knit tops on Pattern review and they are just gorgeous. Not mine. I can tailor a suit, make pants that actually fit and my knits look like a newby sewed them!

  5. bel | | #8

    Hi tzipi - I have made about 20 knit tops in the past 12 months, having finally overcome my long-time aversion to both wearing and sewing them.

    I agree that it's hard to get turned-over hems to work well, and apart from just serging on a binding (which I like for casual tops) I've tried a few other approaches for work or special occasions.

    I either bind, or use a special satin-finished fold-over elastic I get from my local fabric store (not sure what it's called). I find it much easier than self-binding, and I usually use a narrow zig-zag to attach it to the wrong side, fold it over and then use a long and very narrow zig zag (which almost looks straight) to finish it on the right side. Sometimes I trim the hem allowance off to get the neckline to sit where the pattern intended - soetimes I just like it a little higher! Sometimes, I get a bit of stretching, but I mostly find that the elastic holds it's shape (and the neckline with it) and both can be gently steam-shrunk back into shape. Of course, knits with a little more body handle this treatment better.

    I also made one top with fleecy rolled hems, cuffs and neckline - this worked much better than I thought and it feels lovely and light to wear! It did take some testing to make sure the diff on my overlocker didn't cause to much of a lettuce-leaf effect, but it can be done, with a little gentle steaming to get back into shape.



    1. tzipi | | #9

      Thankyou so much for the advice. What patterns do you use?


      1. PASDENOM | | #10

        Textile Studio patterns (NAYY) are great for stretchy knits because of their shaping and self facings. While they're designed for a serger I have no problems making them with a regular zig zag machine. Wash a Way Wonder Tape is a great notion for hemming and neckline finishes on knits. It glues the pieces in place and serves as a bit of stabilizer too. It doesn't wash away all that thoroughly, so make sure to place it within the hem or binding where it will be covered with fabric. If any is left exposed the adhesive residue will be a problem.

      2. bel | | #11

        Hi tzipi

        I initially started with Jalie 2005 (and have a version that I've made lot's of amendment's to) but when I use the bands on this I overlock them on rather than use them as self-binding. I especially like the way the v-neck works. I built a pattern using a smaller size through the shoulders then a larger size for sleeves and to give me room through the bust, then added darts.

        The last few tops I've made have been from Christine Jonson Basewear 2 - which seem to fit surprisingly well without any alteration (not even bust darts), and I like the way the neckline on the round neck top sits. They seem to work well for 'ripe' figures!

        I've tried a McCalls t-pattern pattern too but didn't like it much.


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