Oliver + S

leggings! but terrified of stretchy fabric!

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    Profile photo of learningtosewlearningtosew @learningtosew

    Hi — I’m very excited to see that there’s a leggings pattern on its way. But I’ve never sewn with such stretchy fabric before and I’ve heard it’s really hard. Any pointers for a newbie? (And BTW my afterschool shorts — which I did in a 5% stretchy denim — came out terrific. I will try to figure out how to post on Flickr today. Thanks again for the pocket advice!) — Jess

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    Profile photo of paulapaula @paula

    It isn’t hard! I took a class on Craftsy called Sewing with Knits and there are just a few things to change. You need a jersey or stretch needle, use a slight zig zag stitch or a stretch stitch on your machine if you have one, replace your bobbin thread with Maxi Lock stretch thread (usually used in servers), and a walking foot helps if you have one! Remember to not stretch the fabric when cutting or let the excess hang off the cutting table. I was surprised at how easy it actually is!

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    Profile photo of BrittneyBrittney @georgeandizzy

    Rae had an awesome series that I read so many times before I started sewing with knits:

    KNITS

    Also, my first knit project was the Hopscotch Top, I figured if anyone could teach me to sew with knits it was Liesl! It is now one of my most used fabrics. I guess what I am saying is, go for it! Like Paula said, use a jersey needle and a polyester thread. If you have a serger it is even easier!

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    Profile photo of Liesl GibsonLiesl Gibson
    Keymaster
    @liesl

    Here’s an earlier blog post that might help, and we’ve included lots of instructions and tips in the pattern as well. http://oliverands.com/blog/2010/08/tips-for-sewing-with-knit-fabrics.html

    Don’t be afraid! A lot of sewists say knits are easier and faster than woven fabrics. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

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    Profile photo of RobinRobin @Robin

    Jess, I don’t finish seam allowances with knits. Scandalous I know, but makes for really quick projects.

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    Profile photo of NicoleNicole @motherof5

    Not scandalous at all. Most knits wont fray.

    If I am mending leggings I just use a narrow zigzag on my regular machine.

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    Profile photo of with love Heidiwith love Heidi @with love Heidi

    I use regular thread and a small zigzag on my sewing machine and then “finish the edges”, not necessary but gives an extra row of stitching, with the largest zigzag. I use regular thread on my overlocker and just do one pass, so quick!

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    Profile photo of learningtosewlearningtosew @learningtosew

    Thanks, everyone, for this great advice and all of the helpful links. I am cautiously optimistic that this will work out, but at least I know where to go if I get stuck! — Jess

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    Profile photo of KellyNYCKellyNYC @KellyNYC

    Ok, so can we talk equipment? I don’t have a serger and have steered clear of knits for this reason. Is this pattern intended for use with a serger or can it be done on a regular machine? The tips above about changes to make while sewing with knits was very helpful. But I guess my question is can comparable results and a professional finish be achieved without the use of a serger?

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    Profile photo of SarviSarvi @Sarvi

    I guess it depends on what you mean by professional results. What you can’t get without a serger is … a serged edge. I know that sounds obvious, but basically, if it’s that specific look that feels ‘professional’ then you need a serger. If by professional results you mean neat seams without ugly stitching or heavy duty waviness, then yes, just check out Cindy’s knit sewing (just to name one person the top of my head, I know there are many others here who handle knits with confidence) — she even makes swimsuits which look fantastic, without, at that point, a serger.

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    Profile photo of with love Heidiwith love Heidi @with love Heidi

    It won’t look the same inside without the Serger but the outside will look just the same. I have 2 pairs of Yoga pants I made for me one on the Serger and the other with a very basic zigzag on my machine, when l wear them you cannot tell any difference 🙂 I use a small zigzag (length 2, width 2) for my first pass, I then do a second pass at (length 2, width 4 or 5), the second pass is more from habit but I think it gives extra reinforcement too. Knit sewing is so quick and fun, enjoy!

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    Profile photo of paulapaula @paula

    You don’t have to finish the seam of knits because they won’t unravel! No need to serge! 🙂

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