Learning to Sew Knits: Tailoring a Tee

Yellow Flag Tee Shirt

Although I wear knits, I haven’t sewn with them.  One problem is that I haven’t had a clear idea of which stitch to use to sew seams.  I also had some bad experiences when the machine ate my fabric, when I attempted to shorten and re-hem some tees.

Double Hem Knit Tee Fail

I was completely puzzled why this happened; I was using a twin needle which is commonly used to hem knits.  I knew that ballpoint needles are used for sewing knits, but I didn’t realize I needed not just a twin needle but a stretch twin needle.  This is the second one I bought.  I broke the first one when I forgot to change my stitch back to straight after sewing zigzag.

Stretch Twin Needle

I like the 4.0 mm distance between the two needles, which looks the same as ready to wear, instead of the closer together 2.5 mm twin needles.   OK, that part is worked out.

For seaming, I have read to use a narrow zigzag which is too vague for me.  I followed the advice of the tutorial “knits without a serger”  and used a stitch length of 1.5 and a width of 5.  This is a dense zigzag.

I eased into sewing with knits by altering a flag tee shirt I bought at a thrift store awhile back to be ready in time for Memorial Day weekend.  First I resewed the side seams, then I cut and re-hemmed the sleeves and the bottom of the tee.

Can you tell which is the original hem stitching and which one I sewed?

Hem Comparison

Look at the close-up.  Can you tell now?  It’s a close match and I’m happy with my results.  I know you sewists are looking for telltale signs such as tunneling and skipped stitches.

Hem Comparison Close-up

No rips this time!

And for those of us in the USA who are fans of The Great British Sewing Bee, the fourth season is being put up on You Tube.  Episode 1 had the contestants sewing chevrons.  Watch it while you can, because the episodes tend to disappear after awhile.


2 thoughts on “Learning to Sew Knits: Tailoring a Tee

  1. Stitch It Again Post author

    I think it’s more flattering. I’m not a tucker anymore, and being short, having the right proportions is important. Thank you for reading and for your encouragement!


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