How to Sew Knit Fabric Without Puckering

Utilizing knit fabrics allows for the creation of adaptable and comfortable clothing in the sewing community. Due to their stretchability and softness, knit fabrics are highly favored by home sewers and fashion designers alike. Nevertheless, improper handling of knit fabric can result in issues such as puckering, stretching, or distorting the fabric. This guide offers detailed instructions and expert advice to guarantee that your knit fabric projects are perfect every time.

With the help of SewingWithEase, here is more information about each step.

Key Takeaways

  • Choose the Right Tools: Utilize ballpoint or stretch needles and polyester or woolly nylon threads to prevent fabric damage and ensure the durability of seams.
  • Pre-Wash Fabric: Always pre-wash knit fabrics to avoid shrinkage after making the garment.
  • Use a Rotary Cutter: A rotary cutter and mat are recommended for precise cuts to minimize fabric distortion.
  • Select Proper Stitches: Employ stretch or zigzag stitches to maintain fabric elasticity and prevent seam breakage.
  • Adjust Machine Settings: Fine-tune tension and presser foot pressure based on fabric thickness to avoid puckering or stretching.
  • Hemming with a Twin Needle: Use a twin needle to achieve professional hems that allow for a stretch.
  • Troubleshooting: Address puckering by adjusting tension and prevent skipped stitches by regularly changing needles.
  • Practice Patience: Mastery in sewing knit fabrics comes with practice and understanding the unique properties of each knit type.

Choosing the Right Tools and Materials

How To Sew Knit Fabric Without Puckering

Selecting the Best Fabric

When selecting knit fabrics, consider the stretch percentage and recovery, as these factors will influence your garment’s fit and comfort. Opt for high-quality knits that offer both elasticity and stability.

Needles and Threads

  • Needles: To prevent damaging the fabric, use ballpoint or stretch needles. These needles glide between the fibers rather than piercing them, reducing the risk of snags or runs.
  • Threads: Polyester threads are ideal for their strength and flexibility. Consider using a woolly nylon thread in your bobbin for areas requiring extra stretch.

Preparing Your Fabric

Before cutting your fabric, pre-wash it as you wash the finished garment. This step is crucial to eliminate any shrinkage. Lay your fabric flat to dry, and avoid stretching it out of shape.

Cutting Techniques

To ensure accuracy while cutting knit fabric, use a rotary cutter and a cutting mat. This method reduces fabric movement and results in precise cuts. Always cut in a single layer for the utmost precision.

Sewing Techniques for Perfect Seams

Stitches Selection

  • Stretch Stitch: A built-in stitch on most sewing machines mimics the stretch of knit fabric, making it perfect for seams needing to retain elasticity.
  • Zigzag Stitch: An alternative to the stretch stitch, the zigzag stitch offers flexibility and prevents the seam from popping when the fabric stretches.

Sewing Machine Settings

  • Tension: Adjust the tension according to the thickness of your fabric. Test on a fabric scrap first to ensure the stitches form correctly without puckering.
  • Pressure: Decrease the presser foot pressure to avoid stretching the fabric as it feeds through the sewing machine.

Finishing Touches


For a professional-looking finish, hem your garment using a twin needle. This creates two parallel lines of stitching on the front and a zigzag stitch on the back, allowing the hem to stretch with the fabric.


Trim seam allowances and press them flat to prevent bulky seams. For areas under tension, such as the crotch or underarm, reinforce seams with a second row of stitching or a serger.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

  • Puckering: If your fabric wrinkles, reduce the tension and ensure you use the correct needle and stitch type.
  • Skipped Stitches: Skipped stitches often result from using the wrong needle type or a dull needle. Replace your needle regularly to avoid this issue.

Expert Tips

  • Before starting your project, perform a stretch test on your fabric to understand its behavior.
  • Use a serger to construct seams if available, as it creates strong, stretchy seams and simultaneously finishes the edges.
  • For decorative finishes, explore using a coverstitch machine, especially for hemming knit garments.

How To Sew Knit Fabric Without Puckering FAQs

Why is it important to use a ballpoint or stretch needle for knit fabrics?

Ballpoint or stretch needles are designed to move between the fabric’s fibers instead of piercing through them, reducing the risk of snagging or creating runs in the fabric.

Can I use a straight stitch on knit fabrics?

It is recommended that knit fabrics be sewn using a stretch stitch or a narrow zigzag stitch. These stitches allow the seam to stretch with the fabric, preventing the stitches from breaking when the fabric is stretched.

How do I prevent my knit fabric from puckering while sewing?

Puckering can be prevented by adjusting your sewing machine’s tension, using the correct needle and thread, and choosing the right stitch type for your fabric. It’s also helpful to test your settings on a scrap of fabric before beginning your project.

What’s the best way to finish the edges of knit fabrics?

A serger is ideal for finishing edges as it trims, sews, and overcasts the edges in one step, creating a clean and stretchable finish. If you don’t have a serger, use a zigzag stitch or a special overlock foot on your sewing machine.

How often should I change my sewing needle when working with knit fabrics?

Changing your sewing needle at the start of each project or after every 8 hours of sewing time is advisable. A fresh needle ensures smooth sewing and reduces the risk of skipped stitches or fabric damage.

Is it necessary to pre-wash knit fabrics?

Yes, pre-washing is essential to remove residues and account for potential shrinkage before cutting and sewing the fabric. This ensures the final garment maintains its shape and size after washing.


Sewing knit fabrics can be a rewarding experience, yielding comfortable and stylish garments. Following the guidelines outlined in this comprehensive guide, from selecting the appropriate tools and materials to applying the correct sewing techniques, you can achieve professional-quality results in your knit fabric projects. Remember, practice and patience are key to mastering the art of sewing with knits. Happy sewing!

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