Learn to sew difficult knits with these tips for slinky knit fabrics – ITY knit, bamboo knit, rayon jersey knit, and more
Hey y’all, while I’ve got all kinds of information on how to sew knit fabric, while developing my latest pattern, the Bexley Dress, I realized there are some tips specific to rayon knit or what I call “slinky knits” that might be helpful. So I made a video sharing those.
You can watch the video below or on my YouTube channel here.
How to Sew Thin Stretch Fabrics
While slinky knits might be soft and have great drape, they can be tricky to sew. Here are my best tips to make the process painless.
- Test stitches first. There are many stretch stitches you can use (see examples here) and one might work better than another on a particular fabric. Even adjusting the width/length of your zig zag stitch can make a big difference.
- Change needles. I generally start with an 80/10 universal needle, but if you’re getting skipped stitches or runs in your fabric, try a stretch needle or a jersey needle. Stretch and jersey needles are slightly different, and your machine/fabric combo might prefer one needle over the other so I generally have both types on hand.
- Before cutting your pattern, test fabric for growth. Rayon knits and similar tend to grow in length as they are worn, so hang your fabric overnight and check the length in the morning – you might want to cut your pattern shorter to adjust for fabric growth.
- Use your phone camera zoomed in to help you distinguish the right and wrong sides of the fabric
- If your fabric won’t lay flat because of the selvages, cut off the selvages before pinning your pattern.
- Consider reinforcing the shoulders of your garment with stay tape, interfacing, twill tape or clear elastic.
- Spray starch (affiliate link) and Stitch Witchery (affiliate link) can both be handy. Use starch to stiffen fabric before cutting and/or to press hems. Stitch Witchery can hold the hem and stabilize it if you’re getting tunneling of your stitches.
- Adjust the presser foot pressure on your machine if you have that option. Use the lowest setting you can that still feeds fabric.
- Hold the upper and bobbin threads behind your presser foot as you begin to stitch, and use them to pull the fabric through to prevent the fabric from getting sucked into the throat plate.