Sweater knits are lovely to wear, sew and embroider on. Sweater knits are available in a wide variety of types from sheer and lightweight to heavy, textured and dense. Single knits have a knit look to them on the reverse side whereas double knits have a similar appearance on the front and back side of the fabric.
Sweater knits come in a wide range of fibers too. From natural like silk, cashmere, wool and cottons to synthetic acrylics, rayon, Lycra, metallic and other man-made fibers. The use of Lycra in sweater knits allows for single knits to be very stretchy. Double knits stretch less than single knits and are a dream to to work with.
Sweater knits can be used for any garment from sweaters, pullovers, cardigans, dresses, tops, pull on pants and skirts. Always check the pattern envelope to gauge the amount or percentage of stretch needed for a particular garment when picking out a sweater knit.
Don’t be intimidated by sewing with sweater knits. You don’t need a fancy machine and most get by without a serger. Use a narrow zigzag stitch for seams and finish edges using a standard zigzag or a stretch overlock stitch if you have one. A walking foot is nice for use with a slinky knit or with bulky knits.
Stabilize necklines with a fusible bias tape and use clear elastic when stabilizing shoulder seams.
When sewing buttonholes place a layer of water-soluble stabilizer on top of and underneath the fabric to keep it smooth when stitching.
Most sweater knits wash up fine in the washing machine. Check the fabric and content for any specific washing or dry cleaning requirements.
For embroidery designs sweater knits do best with small designs. A large dense design will make the sweater knit stiff and could be uncomfortable to wear. Small floral designs are nice and add a vintage charm to a garment.
Applique is a wonderful embellishment with sweater knits and are adorable when used with children’s clothing.
Use a 40-wt rayon and polyester thread when embroidering on wool or cotton type sweater knits, it will show off well. Cotton, metallic and wool thread work well too.
Use ballpoint needles when sewing and/or embroidering with knits.
Most sweater knits do well with a adhesive-backed stabilizer. Place the stabilizer in the hoop with the paper release side up. Use a pin to score the stabilizer around the edges inside the hoop perimeter; peel away back to expose the sticky side. Position the fabric over the adhesive. Make sure the fabric has not been distorted. Once all embroidery is completed carefully tear it away.
Water soluble stabilizer can be used with smooth knits. Use a topper when working with spongy or textured knits.
Do you embroider on knits? What’s your favorite way to stabilizer or embellish knits?