First time sewing with knits

Hi all,
I have been gearing up for my first attempt at sewing with knits,
reading the Threads article about Jersey Knits, looking up tips
online, checking out my Sewing For Dummies, etc. I think this weekend
is when I will be trying it. My main question is- are there any
alternatives to using a walking/even feed foot? Is this more of a nice
thing to have or an ultimate critical need for sewing knits? I'm
starting with a rayon spanex fabric from joanns, the kind you see on
trendy/teen t-shirts. I am just planning to make a very basic t-shirt
to get the hang of sewing on a non-woven fabric. Any feedback would be
greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance and have a great day!
-Laura (Delso) Marschel
Reply to
Laura.Marschel
When I first started sewing with knits, many years ago, the instructor advised the class to buy a roller foot each. It was years later when I finally bought a walking foot for other applications, but for the stuff you plan to use now, a roller foot is quite sufficient and MUCH cheaper.
Olwyn Mary in New Orleans.
Reply to
Olwyn Mary
As Olwyn Mary mentioned, a roller foot would be great AND a lot less $$ than a walking foot. Another thing to use when sewing knits is a backing of tissue paper. I cut used tissue paper from gifts into 2" wide strips and pin it to the bottom of fabric pieces so that the paper is next to the sewing machine and the edge of the paper is even with the cut edge of the fabric. The tissue keeps the fabric from stretching while you are sewing and also keeps it from getting scrunched down into the needle hole of the machine bed. It's an extra step but well worth the bother IMNSHO. I also use tissue when sewing anything that is flimsy, stretchy or really delicate -- knits, lace, organza, voile, chiffon, silk, etc. Also, if you don't have a stretch stitch on your machine, a very narrow zig-zag stitch is absolutely necessary on this type of fabric. CiaoMeow >^;;^<
PAX, Tia Mary >^;;^< (RCTQ Queen of Kitties) Angels can't show their wings on earth but nothing was ever said about their whiskers! Visit my Photo albums at
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Reply to
Tia Mary
Before getting a serger, I used a regular zig zag foot and stretched slightly as I sewed with a straight stitch. Some people use a slight zig-zag stitch. This allows the stitching to have a little "give" when the fabric stretches. I've never used my walking foot when making tops, jackets, or swimsuits from knits.
Alice in PA
Reply to
Alice
Starch, strips of stabilizer or a roller foot would be my suggestion. I'd also prefer to see you start on a very stable (for a knit) cotton interlock, and then move on to the lycra blends and jerseys.
Even digging through the ragbag for an old sweatshirt or sweatpants and practicing sewing on them first will give you a better idea about handling knits during sewing.
Kay
Reply to
Kay Lancaster
I primarily use a serger with knits, but if you do not have one, a walking foot works well...What type is your machine? Some walking feet are very affordable....some are not :) depends on the machine brand.=20
What does your machine manual suggest for knits?
That said, my Viking has a stretch stitch setting, which uses the regular foot but lessens the tension to about 2 for medium knits. I've used this setting with good results, too.
-Irene
------------- "You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough." - Mae West
Reply to
IMS
"Kay Lancaster" wrote in message
I'd also support using cotton knits as a first try out before attempting the more slippery stuff. Knits are a breeze after woven fabric, but all slippery fabric can be a pain in the neck.
I used to use a fine zig zag stitch using a normal foot before I got my walking foot and I'm not really convinced that the walking foot does a better job either.
Reply to
FarmI
in my amateur experience i have found some walking feet suspect as well.
and moreover the quality of the walking feet varies greatly.
i have a *vintage* "Singer made" slant shank walking foot that is solid and works great.
i had a brand new "Singer made" ? low shank walking foot ($29) that was crud crud crud.... i could tell as soon as i took it out of box. If i had looked at it in the store it would never have come home with me. Did i say crud. Flimsy cheapo stamped foil metal and the walking part was ready to fall off would not line up correctly. (bent, not by me) ? It went back to the store.
Does anyone have experince with something called "knit preser foot"
it does not walk it looks like a standard ZZ foot with a lever (controlled by needle bar) that controls a toothed plate next to where needle enters fabric and drops when needle enters and lifts te toothed tab when needle raises ?
rob
Reply to
robb
I use a regular foot -- which is a straight-stitch foot! A sewing machine that doesn't come with a straight-stitch foot isn't intended for serious use!

I sew knits with my regular foot or my zig-zag foot, depending on the usual criteria. (For example, I use the zig-zag foot for edge stitching because the toe is a handy guide for keeping the needle a uniform distance from the fold.)
I keep the fabric under slight tension while sewing, and nearly always use a straight stitch for seams -- when I zig-zag, it's always at least half the maximum width.
*Thread* matters greatly; when I want a cotton thread, I use 100/6 crochet cotton; 50/3 sewing thread wears off in no time -- I rarely use 50/3 unless color is frightfully important *and* there isn't going to be much strain on the stitches.
If the fabric is flimsy or tends to roll up, spray it with starch and let it air dry before cutting it. (I use bottle starch in an insecticide bottle from the hardware store. "Plant misters" clog.)
I tried a roller foot, found that the top layer rumpled up more instead of less; others swear by them.
Joy Beeson
Reply to
Joy Beeson
"robb" wrote in message
I didn't mean that my walking foot was at all suspect. It works well, but because I've been sewing knits for so many years before I bought it, I believe that I can sew just as well (and certainly quicker) with just the old zig zag foot.
Reply to
FarmI
i didn't mean to imply your foot was suspect, i guess i should have left off "as well"
i just meant to add my amateur experience to the thread regarding walking feet quality.
I have some vintage walking feet that are well constructed and work great ! and i have purchased new ones that are absolute garbage, borderline disposable.
if i had only ever used these new ones i might have thought walking feet are not useful feet to have
i wonder if anyone else with lots more experience has had similar experience and can recommend higher quality walking feet brand ?
rob
Reply to
robb
I have found that the Husqvarna one I got for my Lily is the best made of the three I have: very solid, mostly metal, costs about £45. The next best was the cheapest, the Alphasew at £18. It's the next heaviest, too, and a very similar design to the HV one... The £25 Singer one I have is the least robust, with springs that spring off! It's the lightest by quite a bit, with far fewer metal parts. I wouldn't buy it again.
The next one I get will be the Bernina one for my new to me Bernina 1005. That's another 'brick netty' design... ;)
Reply to
Kate XXXXXX
hi , thanks Kate
i will look into those, i really do not mind spending more for quality items that work well and occasionally less for low quality that are troublesome
it is the spending lots for junk that is really upsetting because you know it probably cost almost nothing to make yet the brand name is used to justify a high price
thanks again, rob
Reply to
robb
"Kate XXXXXX" wrote in message
I only have the one walking foot and that is for my Bernina. I nearly died at how much it cost but it works very well. I use it for quilting and any really thick stuff that I can't hold and manipulate effectively wihtout it.
Reply to
FarmI
"robb" wrote in message
:-)) Well at least we are now both clear on what we meant.
I only have one for my Bernina (bought probably in the last 6??? or so years). I can't remember how much it cost but it was what I thought was hugely expensive at the time and far more that I expected to pay. It does work well, when I use it and I have never had a time when I've wondered whether I wasted my money buying it.
Reply to
FarmI
When I took the Stretch & Sew classes years ago, the assumption was that you were using a straight stitch machine and a regular presser foot. It worked just fine. I made really nice garments using the method. No walking foot or zigzag involved at all.
Reply to
Pogonip
I took that class also. It was great, the fabrics were high quality and I learned so much that still applies to all my sewing.I use to make my uniforms from good quality knits, from them. I had some pretty snazzy uniforms. They were always different from what was available in stores and far better suited to my purposes. Pockets when where I needed them, not where some manufacturer thought I needed them. I wish they were still around. I'd take a another round of classes from them if thy were. As Joanne said they taught you how to sew knits with a straight sew machine. It worked fine every time. Juno
Reply to
Juno
I made some fantastic stretch knit things on my old hand crank straight only Spinning Jenny (1923 Singer 66K). No special feet, and jersey needles were harder to come by in the seventies... But with a little extra care, we got there! Some of the stretch techniques and fancy feet certainly make it easier, but there's no reason for not doing the fabric without the gadgetry!
Reply to
Kate XXXXXX
As a general rule, you'll have more success with feet designed for/by the machine's maker rather than the generic feet. Put some sanity tests around this statement, but *usually* Vikings sew best with Viking feet, Singers with Singer feet, etc. I don't recall ever having sewn with a generic walking foot that I liked.
Personally, I've never found walking feet all that useful. Now a compound needle feed machine, well, that's a different story
Kay
Reply to
Kay Lancaster

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