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Hemming knit fabrics can often be a tricky task for sewers due to the stretchy and delicate nature of these materials. However, with the right techniques and practices, achieving a clean and professional hem on knit fabrics can be easier than you think. In this article, we will explore the best practices for hemming knit fabrics to help you achieve polished and durable results every time.

Understanding Knit Fabrics

Before diving into the best practices for hemming knit fabrics, it is essential to understand the unique characteristics of these materials. Knit fabrics are made by interlocking yarns in a series of loops, resulting in a fabric that is stretchy and flexible. Unlike woven fabrics, knits do not fray when cut, which can make hemming them a bit different.

Choose the Right Stitch

When hemming knit fabrics, selecting the right stitch is crucial to ensure that the hem retains its stretch and flexibility. One of the best stitches for hemming knits is the zigzag stitch. The zigzag stitch allows the fabric to stretch without breaking the stitches, making it ideal for garments that need to move with the body. Set your sewing machine to a narrow zigzag stitch to prevent the fabric from puckering or stretching out of shape.

Use a Stretch Needle

Another important consideration when hemming knit fabrics is the type of needle you use. A stretch needle, also known as a ballpoint needle, is designed specifically for sewing knit fabrics. Unlike regular needles, which can cut through the fibers of knits, a stretch needle has a rounded tip that slips between the yarns, reducing the risk of snags or runs in the fabric. Using a stretch needle will help you achieve smooth and even hems on your knit garments.

Stabilize the Hem

To prevent your knit fabric from stretching out of shape while hemming, it is essential to stabilize the hem before sewing. You can use a variety of methods to stabilize the hem, such as using fusible interfacing, clear elastic, or knit stay tape. These materials help to support the fabric and prevent it from stretching as you sew, resulting in a neater and more professional finish.

Pressing is Key

Proper pressing can make a significant difference in the appearance of your hem on knit fabrics. Before sewing the hem, press it with a steam iron to set the fold and remove any creases or wrinkles. Use a pressing cloth to protect the fabric from heat damage and avoid stretching the knit out of shape. Pressing the hem will help it lay flat and smooth, resulting in a polished and professional-looking finish.

Experiment with Twin Needles

Twin needles can be a great tool for hemming knit fabrics, as they create two parallel rows of stitching on the right side of the fabric and a zigzag stitch on the wrong side. This double row of stitching adds strength and stability to the hem while maintaining the fabric’s stretch and flexibility. Experiment with different widths of twin needles to achieve various decorative effects on your knit hems.

Test on Scrap Fabric

Before hemming your actual garment, it is always a good idea to test your stitches and techniques on a scrap piece of the same fabric. This allows you to adjust your machine settings, needle choice, and stitch length to find the best combination for hemming your specific knit fabric. Testing on scrap fabric can help you avoid costly mistakes and ensure a professional result on your final project.

Embrace Topstitching

Topstitching is a decorative and functional technique that can add a professional touch to your knit hems. Using a twin needle or a stretch stitch, topstitch along the edge of the hem to secure it in place and create a polished finish. Topstitching can also help to prevent the hem from flipping up or rolling after washing and wearing, ensuring that your garment looks neat and tidy.

Incorporate Decorative Finishes

Lastly, don’t be afraid to get creative with your knit hems and incorporate decorative finishes for a unique look. You can experiment with decorative stitches, contrasting thread colors, or even add lace or trim to your hems for a personalized touch. Adding decorative finishes to your knit hems can elevate the overall appearance of your garment and showcase your sewing skills.

In Summary

Hemming knit fabrics doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By following these best practices, you can achieve professional and durable hems on your knit garments every time. Remember to choose the right stitch, use a stretch needle, stabilize the hem, press carefully, experiment with twin needles, test on scrap fabric, embrace topstitching, and incorporate decorative finishes to enhance the look of your hems. With practice and patience, you can master the art of hemming knit fabrics and create beautiful and long-lasting garments.

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