Working with knits


One of the things I love about my Janome Skyline S7 is it is so versatile! I love that I can work on a quilt, move over to hemming a pair of jeans, sew new pillow cases for the bed, make a case for dog show supplies, and then make a top out of stretchy knit fabric for my daughter.

DSC_4748For a long time I shied away from knit fabric. Many patterns will say you have to have a serger – and yes, having a serger can make for easy work of a pair of knit pants or a t-shirt! But there are many options on a sewing machine that lead you to a similar end result.

To start, there are two needles that can help set you up for success: a ballpoint needle with a rounded point will help you avoid snags and a twin needle (also with a ballpoint, rounded point) can give your knit projects a professional finished look. I used both of these for my raglan top project.

Regardless of whether you are on a Janome Skyline or another Janome machine, there are several stitches that you can become familiar with when sewing with knits.

On the Janome Skyline S7, the go-to knit stitch is the stretchy stitch (the one that looks like a lightening rod). If you don’t have this stitch on your machine, a simple zig-zag stitch will do the trick (on a scrap piece of knit fabric, test out your stitch length and width – ideally you want a fairly short length and narrow zig-zag).

An overlock stitch is also an option. This is the one I went for because it is stretchy and it finishes off the edges at the same time.


For my hems, I used the twin ballpoint needle. If you don’t have this, don’t worry! You can use a zig-zag stitch again, or even a straight stitch if that part of your project doesn’t require stretch.

If you have never used a twin needle before it can be easy to feel intimidated but it’s really easy to use. Follow the threading instructions in your manual and you’ll be a pro in no time.


I had so much fun working on this project. If you follow my blog, you’ll know I love sewing for my daughter. I’m learning what I love for colours, designs and styles for her (I’m a bit of a minimalist so simple lines, tunics, leggings are lots of fun and there are many patterns to chose from). And infant apparel sewing makes for quick projects. Usually I can start and finish in day – that’s very satisfying.

I think she enjoys her new top. What do you think?

Do you sew with knit fabrics on your sewing machine? Which stitch do you use? What are your favourite sewing with stretchy fabric tips?


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2 Responses to Working with knits

  1. Karen says:

    My Mother has 4 Janome seeing machines, including a serger. She has been a quilter all her life. She loved her sewing machines. Sadly she passed away 2 weeks ago and I have these machines and a ton of fabric. The fabric I am donating to a church ladies group that makes quilts for police, fire and, homeless, animal shelters, and Encore. I am not sure of the value of the machines. And she has 2 singer’s that were her grandmother’s.


    • lizafrica says:

      Hi Karen,

      What a wonderful use for the fabric – great cause. You could possibly contact a Singer dealer to enquire about the value of the machines.



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