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Why does my machine hate to sew on kn…

Amelia_Joy | Posted in The Archives on

I’ve been sewing for many years, but I just hate how frustrated I get when trying to sew a swimsuit or even over elastic. It seems like I can’t get the tension right or something because I get loops on the underside. Using a stretch needle helps, as does making the tension tighter but I still don’t get satisfactory results. I have an 8yr old non-computerized Viking.


  1. Dorene | | #1

    Amelia, Check out the "Stretch & Sew Guide to Sewing Knits" by Ann Person. This is the easiest method ever. Sewing on knits is fun with this method. Just use regular thread, regular tension, regular stitch length, stretch or ball point needle and stretch your fabric SLIGHTLY when sewing. After sewing on knits, you may not want to go back to wovens. Good luck!

    1. sewjan | | #2

      *Amelia - It's possible that your machine needs a service. Sometimes it takes using it for a different task to show you that it wants attention! If you are not using Schmetz needles, try that - they really do work best in a European built machine. Hope this helps - sewjan

      1. Kali | | #3

        *I resently made a knit top and did fine through most of it but the hem came out rather wavey. What am I doing wrong? I used a double needle. I think I used a walking foot too. Help! I'm so frustrated when sewing with knits. Kali

        1. Kali | | #4

          *I recently made a knit top where the hem came out wavey. I used a double needle and a walking foot.What am I doing wrong? Help! I get frustrated when working with knits. kali

          1. lin_hendrix | | #5

            *Hello Kali,I've found that wavyness in a seam or hem of knit is usually caused by stretching the fabric too much. As you're sewing try pushing the fabric into the presser foot and feed dog. I've found this often does the trick. Try it on a scrap of your knit fabric.--lin

          2. Kali | | #6

            *Thanks lin, I'll try that tip next time I use a knit. Kali

          3. Clairezbo_ | | #7

            *Try washing your material before you cut it. All knits should be washed before sewing.The "Ann Person" method for sewing knits is the best reference.

          4. Honey_Fleischmann | | #8

            *Kali, I have been shortening T-shirts for myself lately because I am short and don't like to look like I'm wearing a nightshirt all the time. I use a 4mm STRETCH double needle, which is probably like a Metafil or teflon finished. I did not stretch the fabric but kept it going at a medium-slow pace; I did not use the walking foot, that's for quilting. I folded up the hem without cutting, used the spacing arm spaced to the amount of hem I wanted, and sewed on the right side. It came out perfect. Only then did I cut the excess fabric with an applique scissor (a small very sharp scissor will do, if you are careful). If your machine has a stretch straight stitch (a very shallow zig-zag, almost straight, and hardly noticeable), that will help greatly. Of course, this was a straight hemming job; I did not have to sew any seams.

          5. Kali | | #9

            *Thanks Honey,I used double needle and it broke at the last stitch. Clairezbo, thanks and I did wash the fabric first. I prewash everything. I tried not to stretch the fabric. I think that the fabric was just a little stretchier than I thought. I tried using a stretch stich and a small zigzag but those also didn't help. I think that the fabric did okay on the lengthwise grain but stretched too much on the crosswise grain.Thanks everyone. I have some more knits to play with maybe I'll make another attempt real soon.

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