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stabilizers or treatment for fine knits?
having trouble with a knit project
deeannb
deeannb
Advanced Beginner
MI USA
Member since 4/28/13
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Date: 5/30/13 11:08 PM

I am returning to garment sewing after many MANY years away - my most recent sewing work has been mainly upholstery, cushion covers and boat canvas covers on industrial walking foot machines.

Stupidly, on my part, I purchased a Singer Talent 3321 for $100 from JAs. Thought having the stretch stitch option was the only thing holding me back from working on knits. Boy was I wrong :-(

This Singer does not have pressure foot adjustment OR feed dog adjustment.

My question is this: my fine knit fabric gets shoved down into the feed dogs by the needle, unless I put some pull from the back, which also distorts to some degree (my neckline has ended up much wider than the pattern). Does anyone use a stabilizer of some sort in a situation like this? Is there something I can 'wash in / wash out' to add some structure for sewing purposes? Will I just have to break down and get a better machine?

Feeling very sad about my brand new machine. I had such high hopes :-(

tlmck3
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tlmck3
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Date: 5/30/13 11:55 PM

Skip the stretch stitch entirely and stick with a narrow zigzag. Stretch stitches generally put too much thread in the seam, which causes the knit to stretch out and distort. You can even use a straight stitch and do double rows of stitching. That way you can use a straight stitch plate with only a tiny hole in it, if your machine has one. That way your fabric won't get sucked down into the opening so easily.

You can put a strip of paper --pattern paper cut into strips or I use rolls of adding machine tape I purchased at a thrift store--between your fabric and and the feed dogs to keep the fabric from being pulled down. Then, when you are finished, just tear the paper away. Sometimes you just need a little bit of a strip to get the seam started.

Fabrics with a bit of lycra in them stretch out and distort less than fabrics without.

------
I am going for a level of perfection that is only mine... Most of the pleasure is in getting that last little piece perfect...Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just keep showing up and doing the work.

Chuck Close, painter, printmaker, photographer

Hope has two lovely daughters: Anger and Courage

St. Augustine

clothingengineer
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Date: 5/31/13 1:39 AM

Whenever I work with knits on my Janome I use a walking foot and always make sure to hold out the threads when getting a seam started. I also agree about using a zig-zag instead of the stretch stitch.

If you plan on doing a lot of work with knits do yourself a favor and pick up a serger.

------
-- Anne
clothingengineer.com

SandiMacD
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SandiMacD  Friend of PR
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Date: 5/31/13 7:45 AM

I agree with the wonky zigzag stitch. Can you set it to .05 or less with and 2.5 length?
I love the idea of putting something between the foot and plate. Perhaps 2 layers of painter tape would act as a seam guide if you can move your needle far left. Then your fabric edge would be far left. The right foot edge would hit the tape built up so the fabric wouldn't get so tightly compressed.

One good thing about your bargain deal is that you are sewing and learning. Over time you will be in a much better position to know what features are important to you when you do decide to upgrade.

------
sewing brings joy and meaning to my life...

SandiMacD
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Date: 5/31/13 7:57 AM

I also got to thinking. My Bernina gave me more problems with fine fabrics than my vintage Singer. It was due to the throat plate needle hole being wider and bigger to accommodate wide stitches.

You could try putting painters tape over the hole. That wouldn't help lessen the pressure on the presser foot but it would narrow the hole and help prevent fabric from being sucked in. I suppose you could reverse the idea and apply painters tape to the underside of your fabric, sew your seams and remove it like you would a tear away stabilizer

Also, if it is at the beginning, try starting your stitching about 1/4-1/2 inch in, then reverse, then sew. Or holding and pulling both threads back behind the needle area very securely for the first inch or so when starting your seam. If it happens in the middle, covering the needle hole with tape should help.

And you mentioned a fine knit so I am guessing you are using a 60 or 70 needle. You can try an assortment of types designed for stretch and knits. Or sometimes strangely enough, a universal gives me better results.
One of the first things I learned was to buy a large selection of needle types and sizes.
-- Edited on 5/31/13 8:05 AM --

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sewing brings joy and meaning to my life...

Marie367
Marie367  Friend of PR
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In reply to deeannb <<


Date: 5/31/13 9:10 AM

Welcome back. I was in the same position a couple of years ago-my old Kenmore hates knits too. I bought a better machine (Janome 6600) and a serger so I do not have the problems now. However, this is what worked for me-someone said use a stabilizer between the fabric and the feed dogs, use a walking foot and a narrow zigzag-skip anything that is labeled "stretch" stitch. For a stablizer, something as simple as tissue paper works great and is much cheaper than some of the commercial stabilizer paper. You can add clear elastic on necklines-this will help a little. You also need to make sure the neckline piece is about 1-2" shorter than the neckline. Divide the neckline piece and the neckline into 4 sections. Stretch the neckline piece as you sew it down. That assumes that you get the fabric through the machine. Make sure you are using a stretch needle in a small size (an 11 or maybe a 9 and not a ball point). So sorry you are having this trouble. There is a whole thread devoted to knit tops under the Beginner tab. HTH

lgrande
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In reply to deeannb <<
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Date: 5/31/13 9:15 AM

Is it possible to return that Singer and get your money back?
Then you could buy a better machine.

------
Linda

Bernina 830LE - Brother Dreamweaver VQ3000 - Bernina B530 - Janome 6600P - Pfaff 1209 - Babylock Evolution - Janome 644 - Babylock Sashiko2 - Babylock BLCS-2

sewsally
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Date: 5/31/13 10:17 AM

Be sure to use the right needle too and a small size. HS is the type.

kkkkaty
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Date: 5/31/13 11:04 AM

I also use spray starch on washables. It seems to really help make fabric a bit firmer and get it through those tricky spots. You don't necessarily have to iron it, just let it dry

------
Viking Lily 545
Viking Ruby
Bernina Activa 210
Brother 1034d

TX
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In reply to deeannb <<


Date: 5/31/13 12:30 PM

Try starting about a 1/2 inch in on the seam and first stitch backwards then forward. The fabric won't get pulled into the throat plate and then you lock the stitches at the same time. I also use a 3.0 stitch length on knits. For me, using 2.5 is just too small and makes my knits angry!

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