I love sewing with knits, which is nice because I love wearing knits, and my kids love wearing knits. However I used to HATE sewing with knits and it was simply because I didn’t know how. Knits are different for sure, but they aren’t so bad and once you figure things out you will be whipping through knits like nobody’s business. So a while back I shared my Knits 101 post, and Ribbing 101, and today I am sharing all about the cover stitch and the overlock stitch. Both require special machines, but you don’t need special machines to sew with knits, they can just be helpful. 

 The cover stitch is the double (or triple) stitch used for hemming knits or topstitching seams that need stretch. You see even though it looks like a straight stitch it stretches with the knit, you know so you don’t hear that horrible “pop” sound when you try on a shirt and all the seams and hems that should stretch but don’t start to bust open. (I have had that happen more than I care to admit)

 To do a cover stitch you will need either a cover stitch machine, or a serger that has a cover stitch option. (see the buying guide below for more info) To sew the cover stitch you place the fabric right at the needles (just like when you are sewing)

 When you get to the end of the fabric you lift the presser foot and pull the fabric away instead of “over sewing” like you would when you use a serger.

 What you are left with is a double stitch on one side and the chain stitch on the back side which allows for the stretching of the seam.  If you check out any knit tee, skirt, dress, legging from the store they will all be hemmed this way. So it allows for a great professional finish when sewing at home.

 Next up the serged seam. You may hear people saying all the time that they were able to make a knit top super quick only using their serger. How is this possible? Well much like the cover stitch a serged seam stretches and if your tension is set properly you should get a nice tight seam. A serger sews much faster than a sewing machine, and it feeds the fabric through nice and smooth so it’s fun and easy to use when sewing with knits and it does make it easier.

 With the serger you start sewing and then feed your fabric through, and continue “chaining off” before cutting your fabric loose. The stitch will wrap around the edge of the fabric.

 You are left with a nicely stitched seam. No need to do anything else.

The seam will stretch which again avoids that pop that dreaded, dreaded pop.  (also it’s clearly not a good idea to take tutorial pictures after scrubbing a bathroom all day and loosing half my nail polish, but whatever)

So now that we have discussed the stitches, let’s talk machines…
*disclosure I am simply sharing my advice, and opinions I have not received any machines or money from any company nor is this post being sponsored by any brand*

Serger/Cover stitch in one

Pros:

  • All in one means one machine so less clutter at the sewing table. 
  • You only have to buy one machine
  • You only have to learn about one machine which means reading one manual

Cons:

  • You do have to completely re-thread and change the settings and needle placement, which is not super easy
  • You have to be smart about assembly since you don’t want to switch back and forth for every seam
  • You have to re-thread to switch (I hate that enough it was worth mentioning twice)

2 in one Machine:
I recently got the Baby Lock Diana
I love it, I decided on the Diana since I was in need of a new serger I had been using an old Elna and while I loved it for seam finishing I was never able to get the tension setting tight enough so my seams were always pulling apart, I don’t have that problem with the Diana.

Separate Serger and Cover Stitch Machine:

Pros:

  • No need to switch the threading of the machine. 
  • You can quickly and easily sew knits with both stitches

Cons:

  • You have to buy two machines
  • You would have two machines on your sewing table taking up space

Serger:
The Baby Lock Enlighten will cost a pretty penny but comes highly recommended.
The Brother 1034d comes with a smaller price tag and those who use it love it.

Cover stitch Machine:
There is the Janome Coverpro 900CPX is a machine with a decent price and is cover stitch only. I don’t know how well it works since I don’t know any reviews on a cover stitch only machine but the Janome seems like a decent option.

For more knit tips and posts for sewing with knit fabrics check out:
See Kate Sew
Melly Sews
Andrea’s Notebook

We are all sharing posts today to help with sewing with knits while making the Just Add Jeans collection of tops. If you haven’t picked up your collection yet you should the collection Ends Monday the 24th! (currently 40% off retail!)