Machine steeking.... on the Janome Sewist 521

Someone asked about steeking with sergers and sewing machines... Here's some things I've learned:

I've discovered that I prefer using my sewing machine on handknits: Much easier to control. I use a zipper foot when doing straight stitch: much easier to see exactly where you're sewing. And I've discovered an easy secret to keep the machine from stretching out the knitwear as you sew: I use a fingerling single wool yarn to baste-backstitch (a backstitch with a longer than normal run) where I'm going to sew the first pass with the machine straight stitch: I sew a short straight stitch right over the backstitch, and it supports the fabric beautifully. I then sew in the valley of the adjacent stitch or on the next row if I'm going crosswise (opposite from where I'll eventually cut) . Then, if I want to save the excess fabric... skipping a whole stitch or row (which is my cutting line) I'll repeat the same. Finally, at a medium stitch length, and a width wide enough to just encompass a whole stitch, I'll do a zigzag over each set of adjacent rows. The final elasticity is about the same as a cast off and it's no more firm than a cast off row. If you do it neatly, it's not unattractive from the inside, either... Pictures to follow....


QueerJoe's picture

That is great information. I'm surprise an overlock type of stitch on the serger wouldn't work better to secure the open stitches of a handknit garment, so I'm glad to know that I could tailor knitwear using my sewing machine.

Also love the idea of using the zipper foot.

Thanks for being so generous in sharing your knowledge.

grandcarriage's picture

You're far to kind...I'm still kind of a duffer when it comes to this stuff. Learning as I go.

As they say down south:

"If you're green, you're growing. If you're ripe, you're rotten."

grandcarriage's picture

An overlock will work fine, but they tend to stretch out a handknit, so stabilizing the fabric is essential... I find the sewing machine has more control...The overlock is faster... Both secure the stitches far more than adequately.

Bill's picture

I highly recommend fusibles...a half inch wide strip of fusible interfacing will stabilize the knitting...and much of it can be trimmed away...

grandcarriage's picture

I know...I bought some...What I like about using the yarn as a stabilizer is that I use it to mark the eventual path of the sewing machine: I just have to knit rightover the yarn... (Plus the fact that I have a TON OF THE STUFF and don't have to run out to Joanne's for it...I did buy some interfacing with retackable spray adhesive.... Maybe I'll try it next... who knows, I may become a convert.