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Sewing up a knitted cardigan by machine


Sewing up a knitted cardigan by machine
« on: March 02, 2017, 11:00:32 AM »
Has anyone ever tried this?

I read about it somewhere many years ago - something about using a zigzag machine stitch, or was it a stretch stitch? No idea if they used cotton or synthetic thread. Any thoughts on the wisdom, or otherwise, doing this? of


Re: Sewing up a knitted cardigan by machine
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2017, 11:22:04 AM »
The only time I've heard of this, was on a video tutorial about 'Steeking' (sp?) by Arne and Carlos.

Maybe that would give you an idea of what stitch to use.  It's a Youtube video - I'm sure there will be others too.

Look forward to seeing how you go on.  I hate sewing up - well not me, more my eyes and fingers!

Jessie, who is very happy to be here!!  :),  but who has far too many sewing machines to be healthy, and a fabric stash which is becoming embarrassing.


Re: Sewing up a knitted cardigan by machine
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2017, 12:28:54 PM »
Yep - no problem. Not just once or twice but quite literally hundreds of times! Used to work for a small company that made knitwear for Harrods, lots of other biggies, many small boutiques here and abroad and they showed at Pret a porter, Inn on the Park and New York. The garments were made on home knitting machines - single bed - very intricate shaping and colour changing. Not slave labour, knitters were well paid for skilled work and it was all put together on sewing machines. Shallowish zig zag with enough give for the garment. At times when a job needed to be completed, we all had to set to with the sewing! At that time I was in contact with many companies producing exclusive knitwear and they all machine sewed. I absolutely couldn't face sewing up by hand - try it - you'll be converted.


Re: Sewing up a knitted cardigan by machine
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2017, 14:26:16 PM »

Before tackling your 'good stuff' have a go with different types of knits, cardigans and pullovers from the charity shop which can be a good source for woollies and it doesn't matter if they have holes or pulls for cutting up and trying techniques.

Good to use the swatches made for your knit project for your machine stitch sampling and settings that give the result you want on the real project. (Yep, of course you knitted swatches didn't you, hahaha)

The main issue is to avoid stretching out the edge so a light foot pressure is a good idea.

Find the stitch length and width that works for the thickness of the knit so that the edge is not too stiff or feels like a rope.  Each one is different.  Try to stitch close to the edge.

Also it's about experimenting with what kit and feet you have.

Pfaff do a Knit edge foot

Bernina offers the Bulky Foot  - check which one works with which machine.  Also there's a tutorial on Cra'tsy, but it's not hard to work it out yourself.  It can be used for more than knits, overedging etc.

Any foot that has a channel under the foot or a step edge can be used so it's worth experimenting.
On the Janome sewing machines I use I like to use the piping foot for bulky sweater knits or hand knits.  I funnel the edge into the piping foot channel and the needle stitches just to the side of it, easy, peasy.
Depending on the knit and how it behaves and whether I'm just sewing up preshaped knitting pieces or using the cut and sew method, sometimes I'll use the sewing machine, sometimes the overlocker and sometimes the chain stitch on the coverstitch machine.  When I use the overlocker or coverstitch, if the yarn is fine, then I'll use that in the loopers - perfect match.  If the yarn of the fabric isn't fine enough to be used in the loopers then I'll use woolly nylon.  I prefer sewing machine or chain stitch over the overlocked edge, except for when attaching bands.

Having sewn a lot of hand knits, various types of bought sweater knits, and machine knits there are all sorts of tips and tricks that you can pick up along the way of experimenting.
The fine, stretchy and loosely knitted fabrics can be the most troublesome, but can look fabulous if you take the trouble with some prep.
Do use narrow cotton tape along shoulders and back neck edges.  Sometimes a narrow elastic is used.
Also applying narrow strips of lightweight fusible interfacing to the edges that will be stitched is a good thing.  It stabilises the edges for wearing as well as for helping to control the edge when you're stitching.

Experiment with -
lightweight fusible interfacing - cut 1cm wide strips and fuse to the edges.
tearaway stabiliser strip underneath
tearaway stabiliser strip sandwich (on top and underneath) - love this method for controlling compression of the knit and preventing stretch.
washaway stabiliser sandwich - ideal for preventing the needle or the toe of the presser foot catching on a loop of yarn, also helps to prevent the stitches sinking into the yarn and tightening.
painting edges with gloop and letting them dry before stitching  (gloop = all the leftover pieces of your water soluble stabiliser kept in a jar and then dissolved into gloop)

Have a play and discover what works for you.

« Last Edit: March 02, 2017, 14:32:21 PM by Morgan »


Re: Sewing up a knitted cardigan by machine
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2017, 18:57:38 PM »
Thank you ladies for all the info.
of course you knitted swatches didn't you, hahaha
Yep, hahaha. Near enough's good enough.  ;)

I don't mind sewing up too much, but I've always wondered if there was a quicker way. I put a zip in the last one by machine (DH likes his zip-front cardies, and so do I - no button band to mess with) and it didn't work too badly, so maybe I should give it a proper go.


Re: Sewing up a knitted cardigan by machine
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2017, 20:05:59 PM »
I've never used a sewing machine to sew up my knitting projects but I have altered knitted jumpers on the machine with good results. I must try using the machine as I hate making up garments.
At leisure on the leisure penninsula


Re: Sewing up a knitted cardigan by machine
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2017, 21:10:49 PM »
I knit so slowly I don't have to sew up much anyway LOL but that is a great thought. Thank you.
A happy herd of vintage machines - mostly Singers.


Re: Sewing up a knitted cardigan by machine
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2017, 17:10:38 PM »
I have found that if you can match the stitch length to the row gauge on your knitting it gives a very good finish.
crooknees - buried under a mountain of fabric and yarn.


Re: Sewing up a knitted cardigan by machine
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2017, 17:51:44 PM »
A good few years ago I went on a guided tour around a knitwear factory in Nottingham.
G H Hurt & Son   They make lacy shawls and scarves (Prince George had one or more shawls from there, and we were told the Queen had a dozen for Prince Charles!).

They were made in continuous strips of lace knitting and then a very nimble woman used a sewing machine (an overlocker I think) to cut them into individual pieces and secure the ends.  After that they were wetted and stretched out over frames with nails sticking up and allowed to dry.  That made the edges scalloped.

The scarf I have is mohair, very fine singles yarn about the thickness of regular Sew All, and there appears to be a thicker yarn running inside the overlocking.

Sorry about the poor quality of the photos.
Brenda.  My machines are: Caroline a Singer 201K-3 born 1940, Thirza a Featherweight 221K born 1949, Azilia a Singer 201K born 1957 and Vera, a Husqvarna 350 SewEasy about 20 years old. Also Bernina 1150 overlocker and Elna 444 Coverstitcher.