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Good sewing machine for knits
sjones2

sjones2
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Date: 1/3/10 7:33 PM

I can't get a serger (well maybe I could) so what is a good sewing machine for knits? I am finding that I am mostly sewing shirts for my boys with knits, and my machine only does a mediocre job.
Does a singer 401, 403 or 500 do a good job on knits? What else?

Everyday Sewist
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Everyday Sewist
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Date: 1/3/10 7:52 PM

Well, I sewed knits for years on a bottom-of-the-line Kenmore, so I tend to believe you can sew knits successfully on any working machine.

But a couple of things you might want to look for to make it easier: Adjustable presser foot pressure and a walking foot.

diane s
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diane s  Friend of PR
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Date: 1/3/10 8:33 PM

If you have a serger, it's OK if your sewing machine is ho hum. When I bought my first serger in 1983, I had a basic Kenmore. With the serger I thought I had died and gone to heaven. lol It's just as good for wovens as knits. I would sew the seams with my machine and finish all the raw edges. Fabrics like denim and linen are fun to use, if you have a serger to tame the ravels.

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

sjones2

sjones2
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Date: 1/3/10 8:56 PM

That is what I have a good lower end Janome (just like Kenmores sold at Sears) but I am not satisfied with how stretched out the knits become no matter how I adjust the stitch settings.

LynnRowe
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In reply to sjones2


Date: 1/3/10 9:25 PM

IMO the best machine on the planet for sewing knits is any Pfaff with IDT.

IDT = built-in dual feed, a "foot" that acts like feed dogs on top of the fabric. You can use any open-back foot with the IDT.

Other machine susually have as an option a walking foot. The advantage of the Pfaff IDT is you can use ANY open-heel foot with the IDT.

Also look for a machine that has a small hole (or "straight-stitch") foot and a small hole throat plate. With the IDT, the small hole foot & throat plate, knits are as easy to sew as any other fabric on the planet.


------
I heart Panzy, Pfaff Creative Performance, the sewing machine love of my life!
And Baby (Enlighten serger), Victor (BLCS), Ash (B350SE-Artwork), Kee (B750QEE-Panzy's BFF), Georgie (B560-Kee's baby sister) and the Feather-Flock!

Most of all, I heart Woo (HimmyCat). Until we meet again, my beautiful little boy. I love you.

LynnRowe
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In reply to sjones2


Date: 1/3/10 9:27 PM

Dual feed (IDT on Pfaffs, or a walking foot on other machines) is what prevents knit seams from stretching.

On a serger, you use positive differential feed to prevent the stretching.

------
I heart Panzy, Pfaff Creative Performance, the sewing machine love of my life!
And Baby (Enlighten serger), Victor (BLCS), Ash (B350SE-Artwork), Kee (B750QEE-Panzy's BFF), Georgie (B560-Kee's baby sister) and the Feather-Flock!

Most of all, I heart Woo (HimmyCat). Until we meet again, my beautiful little boy. I love you.

Ripple Dandelion
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Ripple Dandelion
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In reply to sjones2


Date: 1/4/10 6:48 AM

I have never sewn on a the Singer 401, 403 or 500, but I am amassing a considerable collection of vintage machines and I am not a big fan of any of them for knits. All of my vintage machines do have adjustable foot pressure. I was using one of them (a Japanese import from the 70s) this weekend for making underwear. It was certainly capable, but my modern machine makes a better job of it. Temperatures in my sewing room were frigid, so I was using the machine that sits in the living room!

Maybe my technique is at fault, but for me, newer machines have worked best for knits. I had a Bernina 160 that did a very nice job on knits, and my new Juki F600 has been fantastic on knits.

------
Virginia
http://asewinglife.blogspot.com

glenj

glenj
AUSTRALIA
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In reply to sjones2


Date: 1/4/10 7:25 AM

lower the pressure on the foot to 1 if you can.my first machine was a my style janome.I only sewed knits and it was fabulous,no stretching out what so ever

Michelle L
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Michelle L
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In reply to sjones2


Date: 1/4/10 8:45 AM

Quote: shantelsurvey
Does a singer 401, 403 or 500 do a good job on knits? What else?

All of my machines are vintage, an my main machine is a 401. I sew knits on this all the time.

To be successful sewing knits you need to make sure that you are using the proper needle, a ball point or a needle specifically for stretch.

You also need to make sure that you are using a narrow zig-zag to sew, so if you use a vintage machine you have to have one that has zig-zag capability, and that you can adjust your stitch length and width. Some vintage machines do not have this capability.

Also, you may want to look for a machine that has an adjustable foot pressure (my 401 and 503 both have this) and you may want to locate a walking foot. With vintage machines, this can sometimes be more of a chore. I have a walking foot, but rarely use it.

I always use scraps of the fabric that I am using to make a number of samples, using various stitch lengths and testing tension.

If you do that, you should have no trouble sewing knits on a vintage machine.

------
Michelle

http://cheapandpicky.blogspot.com/

maryl
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maryl
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Date: 1/4/10 9:26 AM

I second Diane S. A serger makes sewing knits, and everything else I think, sooooo much easier. Plus an inexpensive serger (I love my Juki 654) along with your current machine will be far less costly than buying a Pfaff or other high end electronic sewing machine. Really, for me, trying to sew current fashions without a serger (and coverstitch) is like trying to build a house without power tools. Sure, a builder can do it, but why would he want to?

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