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Message Board > Beginner's Forum > Best sewing machines for knits ( Moderated by EleanorSews)

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Best sewing machines for knits
What machines have the stitches I need to sew knits?
Ginasan
Ginasan
Member since 6/5/12
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Date: 6/3/13 11:05 AM

Hello Ladies and Gents (who sew),

I am now ready to purchase a sewing machine and need one that will sew knits nicely. I have googled this topic and don't find information that addresses this. I have heard of machines with the lightning bolt stitch and the overlock stitch and the triple zig zag stitch. Does anyone know of one machine that has all three of these stitches? I do want to sew tougher fabrics for home decor but not sure if one machine can do it all. Thanks for reading this and for any thoughts you might share.

Gina

Marie367
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In reply to Ginasan <<
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Date: 6/3/13 1:04 PM

Most modern machines will do it. You do not need these specialized stitches. I never use them. I use a straight stitch for basting and a small zigzag for seams. It depends on how much you want to spend. I owned a Brother 420PC . It did a nice job on knits. I own two Janomes-one a mechanical and a 6600. Both do well on knits. I use a stretch needle and reduce foot pressure and use a walking foot. I highly recommend getting a sewing machine with adjustable foot pressure. This is not a common feature anymore. Many of the new mechanical machines have it; most of the lower priced computerized machines do not have it. Do you have any sewing experience? Do you have a budget in mind?
-- Edited on 6/3/13 1:13 PM --

clothingengineer
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Date: 6/3/13 1:07 PM

I'm happiest sewing most knits on a serger. I agree that the walking foot makes sewing knits on a regular machine a much more pleasant experience.

------
-- Anne

diane s
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diane s  Friend of PR
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Date: 6/3/13 2:49 PM

I never use a stretch stitch, I prefer using a zigzag. Stretch stitches use alot of thread which tend to stretch out knits. I agree with the adjustable presser foot pressure, it will help prevent waviness. If you're going to stitch elastic on, a machine that has needle up/down makes it easier.
I use my Pfaff Select for home dec projects and it's worked well on knits, just made several leotards on it. I used a very sheer knit once and it didn't like it, so I switched to my Viking, and had no problems. The Pfaff doesn't have adjustable presser foot pressure, but it does have IDT which is similar to a walking foot, only it's built in.

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

aprilla
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Date: 6/3/13 3:07 PM

My Janome sewing machine sews knits pretty well for me as long as I used a stretch/ballpoint needle and zig zag stitch and fiddled with tensions etc, but since I got a serger I don't think I will use the sewing machine much for knits... the serger is streets ahead for knits.
The serger simply doesn't care if it's a knit or woven... it just does it's thing ;)

Ginasan
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Date: 6/3/13 3:29 PM

Yes, I have been sewing on and off since I was in 5th grade. Now with all the information on the internet I am inspired to start up again and want to learn more techniques and better finishes. I could spend up to $1000.00. Thanks for your response!

Elona
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Date: 6/3/13 3:45 PM

I have been sewing forever, and make a lot of knit things. The best overall stitch I have ever found for sewing knits is very simple: A very slight zigzag, almost straight, but not quite. It does just what you need--providing a considerable amount of stretch--and it is very simple. Since knits almost never ravel (a very few do), you really do not need to finish the inside edges, though if you do, a plain zigzag or the overlock stitch can accomplish that.

All my lovely old Berninas have the three stitches you mention. From time to time, I have used the overlock stitch for seaming, but that was before I got a serger, which does the job much better.

As for the for lightning bolt and the triple zigzag, and I am here to tell you that you do not want to use either of them on knits. They "build" too much too much thread into the seam, so that it gets thick and tends to 'wave.' Also, these stitches are absolute he*l to pick out if you make a mistake. In over fifty years of sewing, I have never found a real use for those two.

For really, really stretchy, drapy fabrics, like silk knit, I have found a serger to be the best machine overall, because it will provide much more stretch than any of my regular sewing machines, allowing the garment its maximum drape and stretch.

MartiP
MartiP  Friend of PR
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Date: 6/3/13 6:01 PM

The triple staight stitch is wonderful for making polar fleece socks. It is strong, but has stretch. I have had some of these socks last for years. The most useful place to use it is for crotchseams, especially for thingsthat get a lot of wear and tear, like children's PJ bottoms.
I have a Bernina 1230 and use a teflon foot for swimwear fabric, because it does not have adjustable pressure.
I just ordered a Brother CS6000II, because it has the "lightlning bolt" stitch. that my Bernina doesn't (although I understand that the new ones do)
I think using it will depend on what type of knit I am sewing.

------
MartiP

Ruckertt's Law; There is nothing so small that it can't be blown out of proportion.

Bernina 1230 Bernette 007D
Brother CS6000i Brother 2340 CV
New Home L372 US Blindhem,
Singer 221K (off white) Model SL 718/2D
Simplicity SE2 Brother 700II

marymary86
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Date: 6/3/13 6:17 PM

After you narrow down your search, take samples of the kinds of knits you want to sew with you to the sewing machine dealer. Sew samples and you'll get a chance to see how the machines deal with your fabric in real life.

------
Mary


Elona
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Date: 6/3/13 6:31 PM

Quote: marymary86
After you narrow down your search, take samples of the kinds of knits you want to sew with you to the sewing machine dealer. Sew samples and you'll get a chance to see how the machines deal with your fabric in real life.

A great piece of advice! Sometimes, dealers don't like it when you test drive a machine with your own fabrics, preferably examples of those you like best and those that are perfect nightmares, but I think this is the only way to be sure if a machine suits your purposes, as well well as the way your body works.
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