I have been asked several times about sewing knitted pieces for a garment on the sewing machine as opposed to hand sewing with a mattress stitch. I have sewn a lot of my knitting together on the sewing machine and thought I would jot down what I have done with success. Although, I would invite everyone to experiment on some swatches to see if the results are satisfactory to you. Nothing fancy – just thread up and knit up several inches over 30 – 40 needles. Block a bit to manage the curl some and then sew together on the sewing machine to check it out. With this technique, a multi-color or textured yarn will hide the seam better if there are slight mistakes. If you have a light colored, plain yarn, the accuracy is even more important. And if it a very special project, it might be one to hand stitch together.
To Sew Knitted Pieces on a Sewing Machine
- Block your garment pieces to size in your preferred method and let dry thoroughly
- Thread the sewing machine with matching thread/bobbin to your knitted project
- I use a straight stitch; some use a small zig zag stitch
- I use a plain foot because I want easy, visual and physical access to the stitches and the less in the way for me, the better
- I do not place anything like paper or stabilizer over or under the knitting
- I do not change the tension from the default setting unless it is particularly heavy knitting, then I put a little less pressure on the pressure foot
- Set the stitch length a bit longer – depending on the weight of the yarn
- Pin seam to be stitched very carefully; match beginning, center and ending, then add pins in between
- Lay the pieces under the pressure foot one stich in from the side, being very careful to catch both layers
- I use a tool I consider indispensable for this process – a quilters/sewing stiletto – because it can get in that tiny space where my stitches are to ensure I only catch 1 stitch in on both top and bottom layers
- Begin stitching and stitch slowly along whole seam; take a couple stitches, poke around with the stiletto, making sure everything is in the right place, take a couple more stitches, etc. (This is not a project where you sew with wild abandon – but it is still faster than hand sewing). The stiletto makes putting paper on top of the knitting unnecessary because you are manipulating that knitting, making sure it does not get caught under the foot.
Many would not consider sewing a knit project on the sewing machine, but I would invite anyone to ever notice which way it was done on my projects – even upon a seam inspection – which no one is doing to yours or mine. 🙂
Ann Huppert (GrammaAnn)