You can stitch fabric by hand but a sewing machine is what most people think of when it comes to a sewing project. You can also use a sewing machine to stitch hand knit or crochet items together. Sewing the seams together will give you a pretty sturdy finish to the knit/crochet garment or home decor item. Here are a few tips to engage your sewing machine to help finish your hand knit or crochet item.

A basic sewing machine will work for joining knit/crochet items as long as it has the capability of making an adjustable zig-zag stitch. It helps if you can adjust the pressure on the presser foot of your sewing machine. That can be really helpful with some thicker knit/crochet yarns.

One suggestion is to make a few sample swatches of your knit/crochet item (e.g., make two squares to stitch together) so you can practice a few times before turning to the finished garment or home decor item.

Once the items are made, you will need to block the edges of the knit garment. Blocking a finished knit or crochet item will help the edges lay flat, making it easier to stitch together and allowing the sections of the knit/crochet to be shaped to fit the needed measurements of your specific pattern. (Blocking is a discussion for a future column.) It may also be helpful to be able to adjust thread tension on the machine and in the bobbin, although I usually don’t mess much with the sewing machine bobbin tension. I’m always concerned I will do something messing with the bobbin tension and end up taking my sewing machine to the repair shop to get the bobbin tension properly readjusted. I figure I can usually do most of my tension adjustment with the tension knob on the front of my sewing machine.

Sewing on a sewing machine for your knit/crochet items needs to be done carefully and should not distort or change the drape or hang of the garment/home decor item. You may need to adjust your stitch length. It’s suggested to use longer, wider stitches on bulky-yarn items and shorter or narrow stitches for lighter weight yarn items. Again, I would suggest making a sample swatch to stitch together to see how your yarn project handles being sewn on the sewing machine.

You can also use a zig-zag stitch along areas of a garment that are prone to stretching (e.g., shoulder seam). Create the selvage edge along the seam line before seaming two sections together and it will give a firmer edge to reduce stretching and give the seam more stability.

I have only used my basic sewing machine to stitch two knit or crochet pieces together. If you choose to serge the edges together with a serger sewing machine, be sure the serger cutting blade is retracted or removed before stitching the two pieces together, unless you are stitching something where the fibers are well felted before stitching the items together. I’ve fixed many store-purchased sweaters because the yarn comes loose from a serged seam line that let the cutting blade trim the edges while the seam is stitched together.

Buschkoetter
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