Knit is considered the most difficult fabric to sew with a sewing machine because of its stretchiness and shrinkage. If not handled correctly, your sewing project will not take its proper shape.
Sewing with a knit fabric can be a daunting endeavor, especially if you don’t know how to handle the fabric correctly or know what type of sewing machine, needle, or stitch to use.
So what are the best sewing machines for knits? The best sewing machines for knits are serger, or overlock, sewing machines, but they can be difficult for beginners to navigate. Beginners can try a regular sewing machine, but it should be able to do at least a couple of stretchy stitches, such as a zigzag or twin needle stitch.
In this article, we will share a complete guide to help you learn about sewing with knit material, and rank the best sewing machines that you can use to work with knit fabric.
Sewing Machines For Knits – Which to Use
Before investing in a sewing machine, you should know what would work best with a knit fabric, and the proper steps you need to take before sewing with knits. Below we have some tips to help you identify the right tool for your next knit clothing pattern.
Should You Consider a Serger?
Sergers, otherwise known as overlocks, are recommended for sewing knit fabrics. Sergers are typically useful when hemming raw edges, so that the fabric will not fray, but they can also be used to sew knit fabric as the stitches can stretch well.
However, most sergers will have powerful knives to trim the frayed edges, so any fabric that’s leftover on the right side of the needle will be cut off. This means that when you sew two pieces of knit fabric together with the serger, both pieces will have to lay on top of one another on the left side of the needle.
Sergers are also not beginner-friendly and less versatile than traditional sewing machines with fewer stitch options.
Can I Use a Regular Sewing Machine For Knits?
Regular sewing machines with different stitch options can be used to sew knit fabric. It’s important that you use ballpoint twin needles to work with knit fabric. Pointy needles can puncture holes in the knit, making the stitch look uneven.
Since knit fabrics will stretch, you should look for a sewing machine that can create stretchy stitches. The simplest stitch is a zig-zag stitch, which you can find in most commercial sewing machines. If you are working with a heavier knit fabric, using a triple zig-zag stitch can strengthen the bond.
A twin needle stitch can also be useful when working with stretchy material. When you work with a twin needle stitch, you will see two parallel lines on the right size, and a zig-zag stitch on the inside, so this stitch is both attractive and strong.
So when it comes to a sewing machine for your knits, your best bet is a serger if you’re more experienced or a regular sewing machine capable of stretchy stitches like zig-zags and twin needle stitches if you’re a beginning sewer.
3 Best Sewing Machines For Knit Fabrics
There are so many different brands of sewing machines and sergers out there, that it is difficult to tell which option will be the best for your project.
Below are our top three recommended sewing machines that work best with knit fabric:
|Brother Sewing Machine
|Beginner-friendly, 27 stitches
|Brother Project Runway Sewing Machine
|For experienced sewers, 50 stitches
|JUKI Thread Serger Sewing Machine
|2/3/4 thread serger, portable
We also have more information on each below. So keep reading and happy sewing!
1. Brother XM2701 Sewing Machine
The Brother XM2701 sewing machine is an amazing option that’s so user-friendly, especially for beginners. This sewing machine comes with 27 stitch options, including some stretchy stitch options like the zig-zag stitch, which will allow you to work with knit material.
We love this machine because it is a perfect starter machine that is not intimidating at all, especially when you work with a difficult material like knit. In addition, it also comes with 6 sewing feet, a 3-piece needle set, twin needles, and 4 bobbins that allow you to work on a wide range of projects.
With this machine, you can use any of the recommended stretch stitches to sew with knits. Moreover, this machine can accommodate other sewing needs whether you’re a beginner or advanced sewing enthusiast.
2. Brother CS5055PRW Project Runway Sewing Machine
If you are an advanced user hoping for a bit more versatility in a sewing machine, Brother also offers a 50-stitch sewing machine that can accommodate more sophisticated sewing projects. This machine also has an LCD screen that allows you to choose and adjust your stitches for your project.
This machine comes with 7 sewing feet, a 3-piece needle set, and twin needles, which will help you create the perfect twin needle stitch for your knit fabric. Additionally, this versatile machine can also create buttonholes, attach zippers, add decorative top stitches, and overcasting edges.
We don’t recommend this machine for beginners, mainly because you will not be using all of its functions and capabilities. However, if you are an experienced sewer who’s looking for a versatile machine that can work with both knit and non-stretch fabric, this is a great option for you.
3. JUKI MO654DE Thread Serger Sewing Machine
It would be remiss if we do not include a serger in this list, as it is the most recommended machine when working with knit fabric. This JUKI serger is a lightweight portable machine that offers 2/3/4 thread options and automatic rolled hem to work with different types of fabric.
The maximum stitch length is 4mm, and you can adjust it to work with knit fabric. Keep in mind that like most sergers, it does have a powerful knife that will chop off any leftover fabric on the right side of the needle, so be careful so the machine won’t unintentionally cut any piece that you need.
The machine does look quite intimidating with quite a few knobs, sewing feet, and four different thread spools, so it will take some getting used to especially if you are a beginner. However, the result is definitely worth it, and with some practice, this serger will be the best option to help you work with knit fabric.
Tips For Sewing Knit Fabrics
Knit fabric tends to shrink a lot in the wash, so you should always wash the fabric first before starting to sew any knit project. Even if the fabric you purchase says that it is pre-wash, you should still wash it to avoid any unnecessary shrinkage afterward.
After washing, you should also note how much the fabric will stretch to avoid any uneven stitches while sewing.
If you are cutting the fabric yourself, pay attention to the knit direction. You want to make sure the direction is placed vertically so that the stretch will wrap around the body when the garment is worn. (If there are “lines” in the knit, those lines will be vertical.)