3 Simple Tips to Make Sewing Knits Easy For You

My successful sewing repertoire now includes sewing knits! I have some gorgeous, comfy finished clothing projects now sewn with knits! Yes, you heard right…SUCCESS!

In my quest to learn how to sew more clothing items, I’d been a little apprehensive about sewing knits. I realized that by limiting myself to only woven fabric and patterns, I was missing out. Some of the softest, most comfy clothes I own are knit. So I decided to face my fears and jump right in!

In sewing knits, here’s the 3 simple tips that have kept me from pulling out my hair. I hope they help you in your endeavors!

3 Simple Tips to Make Sewing Knits Easy For You

1. Lay It Flat to Cut it Out

Set yourself up for success for sewing knits. This tip has nothing to do with the actual sewing and construction, but is vital for a low-stress situation. Make sure that when you are placing your pattern pieces on the knit fabric that it is all laid out flat. (Following the pattern directions for folding of course!) Make sure that the table you are using is big enough that no edges are hanging off. This would cause the fabric to stretch and result in pieces cut improperly.

For me this meant sweeping the floor as I don’t have a work space that was large enough!

2. Set Your Machine Up for Success

There are two things I do differently when setting up my machine for sewing knits as opposed to sewing with woven fabric. Don’t go thinking that because I’m messing with my machine that this will be difficult – because it’s not!

First, I change my needle. I like to use a stretch (also called jersey) needle when working with knits. These needles have a small ballpoint end that prevents snags and stitches from skipping in knits. I love to topstitch with twin needles. I don’t have a cover stitch machine (wish list!) so the twin needles make my garment look more professional. 

needles for knits

Second, I change my stitch selection. A narrow zig zag or stretch stitch allows the stitching to stretch with the fabric instead of break. 

stitch selection for knits

3. Don’t Stretch

While sewing, don’t pull or stretch the fabric. When working with larger pieces of a knit, make sure the weight of the fabric is being supported during sewing so it’s not weighing down and stretching the seam. You want a nice flat, even seam – nothing with puckers or waves. I always test a swatch of fabric first. I’ve also used the walking foot on my machine to help evening feed the fabric from top and bottom. 


My latest knit project was the Downtown Tunic by Sew Caroline. This pattern actually calls for a combination of knit and woven fabrics.

Downtown Tunic

downtown tunic top stitch

The design is comfortable and stylish with the banded sleeves and high-low hem. I’ve made two now and the directions are very well written. I’ll be wearing these to school a lot this fall!

What tips do you have to offer for sewing knits?