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Forum > Creative Sewing > Doll Clothes ( Moderated by Lynnelle)

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Doll Clothes
trouble with knits
namakb

namakb
Advanced Beginner
Illinois USA
Member since 2/23/04
Posts: 166
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Date: 12/17/11 10:43 AM

I am trying to make knit t-shirts for 18" dolls. The problem I am having is that since the seam is only 1/4" the material is being drawn down into the plate. I am using a new recommended #11 needle for knits. It sews alright in the middle of the material but not at 1/4" seam.
Anybody have any hints on how to get this to work.

Elizabeth made this
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Elizabeth made this  Friend of PR
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Colorado USA
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Date: 12/17/11 10:50 AM

Are you using a #11 stretch needle? It should make a difference. I don't know how much experience you have with knits, but a narrow zigzag is really good for construction (.5 width, at least 2.5 in length). My guess is that you are using one of those really finicky sort of knits, in which case I'm sorry...I hate those. I made a shirt once in which every single kind of stitch I could think of pulled straight out.

Wooly nylon or some other sort of nylon serger thread hand wound on the bobbin will also help get some extra stretch in your stitch. HTH.

Theoretically since it's for a doll and there's at least a little stretch in knits, you might be able to increase the sa to a scant 3/8 to get a little more under the foot. You could also use a foot that doesn't press down as much on the fabric or lower the tension in your foot (I can't do that on my machine, but my applique foot glides a little easier than my normal foot).
-- Edited on 12/17/11 10:52 AM --

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namakb

namakb
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Illinois USA
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Date: 12/17/11 10:57 AM

I do not have experience with knits but am using the knit zig zag stitch and a universal #11 needle. I do not have a stretch needle. I may just have to run to Joanns and pick one up. Thanks.

sewgramma

sewgramma  Friend of PR
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In reply to namakb


Date: 12/17/11 1:08 PM

I make lots of doll clothes for my granddaughters & their dolls range in size from Barbie to American Girl. Those tiny outfits make quick sewing, but I know what you mean about fabric getting sucked down into the stitch plate - what a PITA! What I do is use a strip of tear away stabilizer at the beginning of each seam, & sometimes the entire seam. I especially use stabilizer for the entire length of a seam when I'm sewing with knits for tiny tshirts or leggings. The stabilizer keeps the seam nice & straight with stretchy fabric. After you sew the seam just fold the stabilizer along the stitching line & it comes off easily - just be gentle when pulling off the stabilizer or you'll dislodge the stitching itself. No more puckered seams or fabric sucked into the stitch plate. Have fun!

Mittskitt
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Mittskitt
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In reply to namakb


Date: 12/17/11 1:18 PM

I use paper between the knit and feed dogs. Believe it or not, I have found that for me scratch pad paper works the best. If you place the paper so you are sewing with the paper grain (tear it off the pad and sew with the paper going from top to bottom), it tears off with hardly any effort. HTH

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jannw
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In reply to namakb


Date: 12/17/11 1:18 PM

If you don't have the stabilizer, a dryer sheet or a piece of newspaper works well.

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Everyone who sews seriously has a stockpile of fabrics, because it is natural to purchase more than can be sewn in any one season" Singer, Timesaving Sewing, 1987

Sauvage
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Sauvage  Friend of PR
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Date: 12/17/11 1:35 PM

I had that problem too when starting to sew knits last year--the opening just seemed to eat up the lightweight knit I was using for practice. Fortunately I was participating in the knit sew-along for beginners here, which had lots of tips for stabilizing the fabric.

Tips on stabilizing start at about page 26 (most of the earlier discussion wouldn't apply to doll clothes, though I recommend LynnRowe's descriptions of different kinds of knit fabrics). I've had good luck with spray starch; people also suggest steam-a-seam, tissue paper (which you tear away afterwards), and fusible web. If you can use a wider seam allowance, that helps too.

LynnRowe describes a technique of pressing and hand-basting, then sewing, which I didn't try then (summer of 2010--I was using the iron as little as possible) but I'm tempted to try now, especially for doll clothes. Hand-basting doll t-shirt seams would probably be fun and relaxing.

Did you find a pattern for a knit tee, or make one up?

ETA: Hah--while I was reviewing the old thread people wrote in with some of those suggestions. sewgramma, you sound very experienced. Are there patterns you particularly like?

Jeanne (a gramma only to 18-inch "Bailey")
-- Edited on 12/17/11 1:41 PM --

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Jeanne
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namakb

namakb
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Illinois USA
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Date: 12/17/11 1:55 PM

Great solutions everybody. Thank you so much.

diane s
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diane s  Friend of PR
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Date: 12/17/11 9:52 PM

Hold the thread tails and start stitching in a little bit, not right on the edge. You can backstitch the spot you missed.

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My grandmother taught me to sew when I was 10, and I've been sewing ever since.

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