Real Sewing With Knits

DryFit Fabric
DryFit Fabric

I ran into this lady at Joann’s on Sunday. She was ready to take her first adventure into sewing with knits.

She had about a half yard of purple dry-fit type fabric to “make a skirt with.” My first thought: “huh.”

MYTH #1 – You need a walking foot if you’re going to sew knits on your sewing machine.

The conversations started because I complimented her on it and mentioned I had a few yards of that line myself. She later came up to me and asked if I thought an Inspira walking foot would fit her Brother. She had read online that a walking foot is very helpful with knits.

This is utter bullshit. If you don’t want to spend $100 on a walking foot (aka even feed foot, etc.), you don’t have to. I’ve sewn it both ways, with and without, and the only time I really needed the walking foot was with fleece – and well, that’s for bulk, not because it’s a knit. If you’re finding that you’re having feed issues with 2 layers of regular old t-shirt knit or dry-fit or whatever, increase/decrease the pressure of your regular foot. Voila! $100 saved!

**side note, no, the Inspira wouldn’t have worked on her Brother machine. Luckily she brought in some of her other feet for me to check.

MYTH #2 – You can just use a universal needle.

Okay, this was an overheard at Joann’s….and sure, you can use a universal needle on knits….if you wanna go for a punk/safety pin it back together look. Use any needle but a needle meant for knits and you might as well be using your cat as a sewing machine. Get a stretch needle pack for $5. Use it. Smile smugly that you spent $5 instead of $100 (see #1).

MYTH #3 – There are so many rules for sewing with knits.

Here’s a dirty secret that Old Navy “production” shops everywhere know. Sewing with knits is ridiculously easy.  Ridiculous. My next two or 3 posts will show 3 simple patterns using 4 or 5 different kinds of knits, totaling 15 items made over 3 days – those 3 days included a trip to the zoo, a trip to OMSI, swimming, cooking, cleaning, etc. EASY. You cut it out, you put your regular machine on big, wide zig-zag or knit stitch (which I do prefer), and you just do it. Comes out wrong? I often just slice off the seam with my rotary cutter, reshape it with my rotary, and resew. More often that not, my mistakes are making something too big, so this works. Gives me wiggle room. I cheat and use a serger as much as possible, but I’ve had my serger in the shop for weeks at a time, and it hasn’t stopped me from making Renfrew after Renfrew. And knits don’t fray! That cuts your work in half or more! You don’t have to hem it most times, you don’t have to ‘finish your seams’ or whatever – you just let that shit be. I’ve used poly thread, cotton thread, mystery thread (you know you have it too) – and easy peasy puddin pie.

Keeping with the theme of being easy and few real rules – that’s really it. And if you’re still not sure – quit reading every blog and watching every youtube. Seriously. Just stop. You’ll make yourself crazy. Get some knit fabric in the remnant bin, and just start sewing on it. Feel it. Do it.

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