The biggest anxiety about sewing with knits that comes up again and again whenever I ask is trouble when hemming. There's a lot of things you can do to help this process but the easiest by far: don't hem. There are many ways to avoid hemming (leaving it raw, serging or overcasting the edge, rolling the hem, lettuce edging, etc) but the one I use the most is making bands for the edges. Obviously this isn't the golden solution to all knit projects, but applying a binding to a raw edge can be done to so many garments:
For trousers, you can use ribbing for the waistband and ankle cuffs...
Ribbing quite often give garments a casual or sporty look, so for a dress, you can use a narrower interlock to edge your sleeves and neckband. Although I did hem the bottom edge :) My yoga leggings pattern and boy cut briefs pattern are also both designed to be sewn without hemming so if it gives you angst, my advice is just to avoid it until you get more confident!
This work-around is especially good for sewing a knit with a curly edge as the double folded binding works as a stabiliser and helps you tame that curl. Here's how I do it:
In this picture I'm sewing a waistband onto a pair of cotton / lycra jersey trousers. The serged edge of the ribbing that you can see is securing the elastic to the inside of the band rather than the two raw edges together, and the pin is keeping the ribbing layers from shifting. The waistband is pinned to the trousers at the quarter-points only, and I'm letting the curl hang over in between.
If my right hand wasn't currently taking this picture, it'd be pulling the ribbing / elastic waistband taut between the first two quarter point (needle and foot down at point one, right hand pinching at point two). Once it is taut and matches the width of the trouser edge, I use my left hand to tug the trousers gently so the weight and tautness of the waistband uncurls the jersey edge until all of the edges are flush.
Now you can start sewing, repeating the process between each of the quarters. This technique will also help you stretch-only-the-waistband-and-not-the-jersey as you sew, which leads to the wavyness that we hate with knits.
I'm hoping to organise all of these knit fabric posts (and my tutorials in general) in a much more obvious / less hidden way but in the meantime:
- My general introduction to sewing with knits from a couple of years ago
- A more in-depth tutorial of different types of knit bindings
- Basic introduction to different types of knit fabrics and some pros and cons of each
- And if you are on Pinterest, make sure you follow My Sewing with Knits board as I'm pinning all the knit-centric tutorials and projects that I come across