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Forum > Sewing Techniques and Tips > Help-laying out knit fabric for cutting! ( Moderated by MissCelie)

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Help-laying out knit fabric for cutting!
christea
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christea
Advanced Beginner
Arizona USA
Member since 2/19/08
Posts: 69
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Date: 11/14/08 7:41 AM

Hello! Does any one have any tips or suggestions about laying out knits for cutting so that the fabric is properly aligned? I have been having difficulties with the fabrics stretching and twisting when I try to lay it out. Mostly I've been using cotton jersey-medium weight. Thanks all!

JTink
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JTink
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Member since 4/20/08
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In reply to christea


Date: 11/14/08 7:53 AM

This can be a bit of a challenge. I have had some that roll so bad, I just pin them to the cutting board. Iron it really good, before laying it down for cutting. We are lucky that knits can be somewhat forgiving. So not getting it cut exactly right, might not make a big difference in your garment. I've never used fabric weights before, but if you have some, that might be helpful with the stretching and twisting.

Michelle L
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Michelle L
Intermediate
Missouri USA
Member since 1/20/08
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In reply to christea


Date: 11/14/08 8:58 AM

I sew with knits a lot, and to keep them from twisting and wiggling I cut in a single layer. I learned the hard way after putting a lot of time into getting my pattern piece perfectly aligned with the print, that the fabric itself was skewed, so the opposite piece was messed up. And by "learning the hard way" I mean I did this over and over again!! So now I cut in a single layer and get much better results.

I also use pattern weights if the edges seem to want to curl up, and use a rotary cutter rather than scissors.

Oh, and when you cut in a single layer, you can usually get away with using less fabric than what is recommended, so if you have some "stash" fabric that might be a bit short, try laying it out in one layer.

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Michelle

http://cheapandpicky.blogspot.com/

emelle
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emelle
Alabama USA
Member since 11/22/07
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In reply to christea


Date: 11/14/08 9:21 AM

Knits have *grain* ....it's the little knit stiches that you can see if you look very closely......

To keep track of where the grain is, I use a trick I learned here from Nancy K....take painter's or masking tape, find the grainline and mark it all the way across the fabric with the tape (since you can't pull a thread on knits....This works well on the shifting knit material.

Then cutting one layer and since I use shears instead of a rotary cutter, I pin the fabric to the cutting (card) board mat by sticking lots of pins straight through the fabric into the cardboard.

BTW, it will matter on some pieces if you do not cut knits straight, or with the appropriate grain line observed, e.g. on the front edge of a jacket/cardigan top...If you don't cut straight, the front will roll in or out and not stay straight...ask me how I know....and if you have a heather type fabric and you cut off grain....it will be obvious that the grain is *wonky*....all over prints may be more forgiving.

HTH, ML

Birdie757
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Birdie757
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Date: 11/14/08 9:58 AM

I cut my knits on our area rug in our living room. It works well for cutting knits because the knit will kind of "stick" too it so I can smooth it out and it won't shift around as easy. Since it "sticks" a bit the edges don't roll either. My area rug has a really low pile to it so it might not work as well with more plush carpets though.

Nancy K
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Nancy K
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New York USA
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In reply to christea


Date: 11/14/08 11:53 AM

I use a magnifying glass to find the edge of the rib and blue painters tape to mark it. Then I line up the grainline with it. If you are cutting double you need to place it wrong sides together so that you can see the edge of the knit line. It looks like knit purl that you see in a sweater, just a lot smaller. It is easier to cut in a single layer to be honest and I make a full pattern of all the pieces. You can find the grainline near the middle of the piece and mark as above and use this to fold on. But, if there is a pattern, I cut single. If it is really slippery fabric you can cut it between paper, graining it up as you would a chiffon or slippery silk.
-- Edited on 11/14/08 11:55 AM --

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www.nancyksews.blogspot.com

christea
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christea
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Arizona USA
Member since 2/19/08
Posts: 69
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Date: 11/14/08 6:30 PM

Thanks, everyone. I will try those suggestions!

EveS
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EveS
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Michigan USA
Member since 11/26/06
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Date: 11/15/08 9:22 AM

If I have a knit that is uncooperative and rolls a lot, I lay it out flat - taking care that the grain is nice and straight and that the fabric is not warped in any way - spray it w/ spray starch, and let it dry in place. This not only helps it behave when you are trying to lay it out and keep it on-grain for cutting, but it really eliminates most of that pesky curling.

HTH!
Eve

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People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it - Chinese proverb

Nancy K
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Nancy K
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New York USA
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In reply to EveS


Date: 11/16/08 8:28 AM

I used to do this and it drove me crazy. Since the edge of knits is not a real selvage, but where it was cut open. (it is knitted in the round) it is often not even on or near the real grain, I have learned to ignore it and the curl by finding the grain as I mentioned above. It is much more accurate. Some times the edges have blotches of glue to keep them flat and they cause pulling, in which case I will cut them off so that the knit lays flat.

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www.nancyksews.blogspot.com

EveS
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EveS
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Michigan USA
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In reply to Nancy K


Date: 11/16/08 9:35 AM

Nancy,
I do exactly what you do to find the grain. What I was referring to was those pesky knits that, as soon as they're cut, roll up into tiny little tubes...making them virtually impossible to pin together and/or sew correctly. I use the spray starch to eliminate the curl, not to find the grain. I mentioned laying the fabric "straight" so that she wouldn't inadvertently starch the fabric into a really wonky shape.

Just wanted to clarify my lack of clarity!
Eve

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People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it - Chinese proverb

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