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Stretch knits - without a serger


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You can get a ballpoint needle that will work better on the machine for the knits. Then, use a very narrow zigzag on the seams so they won't pop when you wear the clothes, instead of just a straight stitch. Some machines have a stretch stitch, and you can use that, too, if you have it.

Hope your project goes well for you.


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do not pull the fabric, rather push it so that it doesn't stretch and give you a lettuce edge.


Stretch and Sew was very popular in the 70's and for some it still is.


be sure your pattern is for knit fabric. Knit fabric patterns have 1 inch of ease designed into them because the fabric stretches, patterns for woven fabric have 5 inches of ease designed into it.


It is better to purchase a pattern made for knit fabric. The back of a knit pattern has a ruler on the back of the paper, this will tell you if the fabric has enough stretch for the pattern.

Instructions are on back of pattern.


Violet is correct, ball point needle, zig zag stitch.


after you have cut out your pattern, take the scrap pieces and do several practice stitches.


you will (maybe not) need to adjust your zig zag several times until it is just right.


Not sure what kind of machine you have or if it is capable of adjusting the presser foot (top left of your machine, silver knob toward the back.. allows a specific amount of pressure to be placed on the fabric against the feed dogs). You may even need to adjust the tension.


Before adjusting anything... create a form!




Fabric ______________________


type thread____________________


tension _________________


ZigZag setting _________________


Stitch Length __________________



(a place to pin the sample)




comments ___________________________________________





This is an example of the type of things you may want to put on your form.


as you go through the different zig zag stitches, you can write down each of the various settings and attach a sample to the form. This will help quicken the settings when you want to do this again.



Before you make any changes to your machine, be sure to write down your original settings, and make a sample of it. While you will move the settings, then put them back, they may not be the exact results of the sample and you will need to adjust a little one way or the other but it will be so much easier then trying to remember.


When turning tensions you and numbers 1, 2, 3, thru 9

when changing the tension, change it only by a fraction of a number. Going from 1 to 2 is a huge jump.. so there is a 1-1/4, 1-1/2 and so on, but you can mentally divide it down further.. 1-1/8, 7-7/8 and so on. Just a tiny movement of the know adjusts the two discs together or further apart by moving a spring.


just practice on scrap fabric until you get it the way you think it looks best, attach a sample to the paper (in a sheet protector and into a binder for future reference), and make your project!


what are you making???? what kind of fabric? 100% cotton? (wash and dry first cause it will shrink!!!!!!), cotton/polyester (65/35) or polyester/cotton (65/35) or 100% polyester?



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I don't have a specific project in mind right now. But I've been sewing a lot more lately, and really enjoying it. I've made jeans, nighties, dresses & jumpers for my kids. I'm going to do more dresses (they love dresses), and fleece vests, and more.


I've been picking up a lot of patterns too. I found one that a skort that I liked. The skort is fine with woven material, but there's a shirt also on the pattern that is stretch ONLY.


So I just got to thinking...how much of my kids' clothing could I make? They usually wear stretch knit tops. They like stretchy pants...that's why I made them jeans, BTW. They hate regular jeans, so I did lightweight denim with a simple elastic waistband (and cute embroidery on the leg).


So I was just wondering.


My machine is simple, no computer, but a good one. It's a Baby Lock, about 12 years old now, and has a lot of different stitches. Honestly, all I ever use are the straight, zigzag, auto button-holer, and occasionally the blind hem.


Looking thru my manual, I see a triple stretch stitch. It says it is "used for any stretch material such as knitted fabric, tricot, etc. ... is three times the strength of a regular stitch and gives elasticity to seams which prevents thread breakage."


There's no adjustment for the presser foot pressure.


As for fabric, we like cotton mostly, although blends are okay if they feel nice. T-shirt weight, or maybe a bit heavier. I always wash and dry fabric first!


The sample and form is a good idea. Thanks, Westie.

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Wow I have so much to learn.


A bit off topic... but it kind of fits.

Do you do the forms for each fabric westie? And where exactly would I learn about the types of fabric there are and what to look for when choosing a fabric for a pattern?

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I have a note book for each machine. If I making something that requires a new technique, I make a sample or several samples until I get it down. Then I write down exactly how I did it, attach the sample to the page, slide it into a sheet protector and then into a notebook.


I have 6 Singer 401A's, all the same machine yet each one has a different tension setting. So if I was using each one I would then create a notebook for each one.


I have 8 sergers, and of the ones I use most I have notebooks for each of them. The others are just there in case one of my favorites breaks and I need a backup.


If I am using a gaberdine for the first time, I would cut it out, then take the scraps and do each techinque required to complete the garment. Finish seam allowance, or sew in a zipper (I use old used zippers for this), sew on a button, make a button hole. I want to know how gaberdine is going to sew. Attached to a form, explanation of how I did it and into the notebook.


If I need to do a rolled hem, I would practice on the fabric I am using until I figured it out.. then I would add it to my notebook with an explanation of how I did it with again, a sample pinned to the page.


At first this takes a bit of time, but soon, you have a sample of most fabrics you are going to use and the different techniques.


I have samples of Flat felled seams, mock flat felled, hong kong finish and more.. I rarely use them and always need to refer back to my samples to refresh my memory.


If I watch a TV program on sewing, find something new and interesting, I take notes and add it to my notebook.


so Jewlzm, to answer your question.. yes I do make a sample of everything.


Where to learn about the fabric.. on the end of the bolt it will tell you most everything you want to know...most everything



fabric contents

care and washing instructions

and sometimes the name of the fabric such as Velvet, Gaberdine, Knit, Satin and so on.


There are books you can get from the library on types of fabrics, ebay, bookstores, but the internet is fast becoming a valuable tool.


On the back of a pattern there is all the information you need when choosing the type of fabric to make that pattern. hummmm now where is a pattern? oh.. here..


I have a McCall's pattern 3442, size chest 44 and waist 39. copyright 1972. It is a man's bell bottom pants, a jacket and shirt. On the back is says Suggest Fabrics: all views - denim, corduroy, wool flannel or synthetic double knits, chino, suitable for plaids, checks and lengthwise stripes.


Then there is a Notions: Thread, Eleven 3/4" buttons, 3/4 yard of 1/4" twill tape for pockets and so on.


It will also tell you if lining or interfacing is required and how much.


I recommend the book Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing. I prefer the white cover though it is older then the orange cover.. but.. the white cover is better made and stitched where the orange cover is glued... just my opinion. Both have the same exact information but just in different order.


check ebay and amazon.


You are limited by the store or stores you have to shop in. If you are looking for awe some 100% cotton fabric, check out quilt stores but be prepared to spend a bit more money. There is no comparison to quality though.


Cotton shrinks!!! it has to be shrunk before cutting out your pattern. No sense in making something to have it not fit after the first washing.


how I shrink fabric... I turn my sink water on to hot! put it in a stock pot and then put in the fabric. I let it sit in there until the water is warm, empty the water out and fill it back up with hot water again. You can wash it in the washer on hot but my hot water is sooo slow this is easier for me. If my water isn't hot enough (kid just did dishes or took a shower, I heat it on the stove). If the dye bleeds badly, then I do this until the water almost rinses clear. Perhaps 3-5 times. Then into the dryer it goes.


Now here is where having a serger comes in handy... yes you can do this with a zigzag or even a straight stitch.


the edge of the fabric is called a salvage. The two cut ends are, well.. the cut ends! to keep the fabric from twisting and bunching up and really wrinkling, before washing, grab the two cut ends and sew together to make a BIG O, now wash and dry, then when you pull it out of the dryer, cut off the sewn seam and open the fabric back up, fold in half and away you go.


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fabric and the pattern on the fabric. There are two kinds of print, one doesn't matter which way you put your pattern.. polka dots, stripes checks and similar, the other it does matter!!!


would be awful to spend all of your time making an outfit to have the flowers be upside down on the back of the skirt!


so make sure you look at your fabric and know which is up and which is down. Upside down cinderella or spiderman won't be fun for your little one. So make sure you check your fabric. Don't know? then lay your fabric out and stand back and look at it one way then the other. Make sure your pattern pieces all go the same way.


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Knit fabric.. want to practice? husband have an old t-shirt? use it.


Husbands old t-shirts make great little t-shirts or panties.

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This is for westbrook...

Explosive chocolate bomb

An amazing party centrepiece! A 18cm tall bomb made from the finest 65% cocoa chocolate. Once lit, stand back before the bomb explodes, shattering the chocolate and causing a deluge of chocolate. Superb! Enough chocolate for 10 people.


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that is enough chocolate for me, everyone else has to BYOC! that is bring your own chocolate!

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