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Quick Tips

There's really no one "right way" to cut and sew a sweater. Always let your preferences and experience guide you. If you have no experience sewing sweater knits, these tips may help.

  • Before cutting your fabric, prepare your fabric by laundering it in the same way you'll launder your finished garment. Sew a wide zigzag along all raw or unfinished edges before washing. 
  • Many knit stitch patterns have a one-way design. Be sure to make note of the direction of the stitch pattern before you begin to place the sewing pattern pieces on the fabric. Marking a “T” or an arrow on the wrong side of the fabric to indicate placement of the top of garment is helpful. In other words, if your sweater knit has a one-way design, treat it like a fabric with nap. 
  • Often there are better results when cutting a garment flat, rather than placing pattern pieces on the fold. It makes matching stitch patterns easier too. 
  • Use a ballpoint needle of appropriate size when sewing. 
  • Consider sewing with polyester thread. It stretches just a little and is stronger than cotton. 
  • Use a stretch stitch or narrow zigzag stitch when sewing seams. 
  • Try not to stretch a raw edge too much. Instead fold the edge over several inches first and then stretch the folded edge to test stretch and recovery. 
  • Raw edges can fray or run with sweater knits. (See above about not stretching too much.) There are several ways to finish a raw edge with a regular sewing machine or an overlock machine. Practice your finishing methods on your cutaways before you begin to sew your garment.
  • If adding a rib band, read Determining the Length and Width of Rib Bands for helpful tips. 
  • Use the “Search” feature on my blog Crafting Fashion (desktop/laptop view) if you've got a question. Perhaps there's a post on your topic.
  • When it comes to fit, sweater knits are forgiving in many ways. Relax and have fun!