Recently updated on August 6th, 2022
When the knit fabric is sewn, it puckers due to stretching and distortion caused by the feeding process. The stretch in the fabric must therefore be controlled in order to reduce pucker. Three simple steps to reduce puckering are as follows: (1) use a walking foot to ease the fabric into the sewing machine, (2) stabilize the fabric with tissue paper, and (3) press the seam after stitching. Whenever hem fabric, follow the same three steps and use fusible interfacing to stabilize the hem. Every time, the seam would be flat.
With the help of SewingWithEase, here is more information about each step.
Step 1: Make use of a walking foot
As the knit fabric is fed into the machine, the presser foot and feed dogs stretch it out, causing it to stretch during sewing. A walking foot makes it easier for the fabric to pass through the machine without catching. Just like the feed dogs underneath the fabric, the walking foot allows the presser foot on top to move. The fabric should be fed evenly through both layers, reducing stretching as a result. Walking feet are not the only solution to puckering; they are an essential part of a multi-faceted approach.
Step 2: Apply tissue paper to stabilize
Tissue paper also acts as a stabilizer when sewing seams, along with a walking foot. The tissue paper is placed between the presser foot and the fabric between the seam and the tissue paper. Using this method prevents the sewing machine from eating the fabric and helps prevent it from stretching. The tissue paper is ripped away after the seam is stitched, leaving a beautiful flat seam.
Using this method, you may need to use tweezers to remove tiny pieces of paper that get stuck in the seam. To prevent this, lift the tissue paper to perpendicular to the fabric, tear it, and then lift it and lift it perpendicular to the fabric again – this usually results in a clean tear, although there are still occasional small pieces left behind.
Buying tissue paper designed specifically for sewing knit fabrics is not necessary. In an emergency, you might even use parchment paper from the kitchen (the one used for baking) instead of the tissue paper that comes with my online shopping purchases. In addition, other sewists stabilize knit fabrics by using pattern paper or even printer paper. It is possible to reduce puckering by using any of these types of paper when sewing knit fabrics.
Step 3: Press the seam after stitching
After sewing, the seam should be pressed with lots of steam. A few seconds after hovering the iron over the seam with steam, gently press down on the seam and finish pressing it. In most cases, this eliminates most of the puckers and waves in the seam.
Additional step when hemming: Use fusible interfacing to stabilize the hem
Prior to sewing the hem in place, I always iron a half-inch strip of lightweight fusible knit interfacing to the hem of my garment if I am hemming knit fabric rather than sewing a seam. In addition to stabilizing the fabric at the hem, the fusible interfacing prevents the fabric from stretching out too much. A side benefit of this method is that it reduces skipped stitches, which are common when sewing jerseys of lighter weight. Occasionally, you’ll double-stitch with a twin needle to keep the stitches nice and flat.
When you begin working on a knit project, always have some fusible interfacing strips on hand, so you can interrupt your project to cut strips of fusible interfacing.
It’s that simple! How to sew knit fabric without puckering in three (and sometimes four) steps. Using McCall’s 5752, we made this knit dress by following these three simple steps. This garment’s seams are nice and flat, and its interfaced hem flows smoothly.
Sewing with knit fabric can be a bit daunting, but if you take your time and use the proper tools, it can be just as easy as sewing with any other type of fabric. Be sure to use a stretch stitch or a serger for best results, and take extra care when handling the fabric to avoid stretching it out of shape. With a little patience and some practice, you’ll be sewing beautiful garments made from knit fabric in no time!