Row 1: Gretchen, Phoebe, Gretchen, Adele, Phoebe, Lilly Belle
Row 2: Madelyn, Elise, Kate, Phoebe, Olive

"I would love to make that, but I do not know how to sew with knit!" 

We can't tell you how often we've had that said to us...  Do you feel the same? Does sewing with knits feel intimidating?  You're not alone if it does!  But sewing with knits is so easy! You just need to know a few things before you start.... we are here to tell you, your mind is about to be eased and a whole new world of sewing is about to be opened up!! 

This blog article is designed to take the mystery out of knit...

You'll know: 

  • How to pick which type of knit fabric is best for your garment
  • What type of settings to put your machine on when sewing with knit
  • Tips to make a fabulous finished knit garment
You'll have the confidence and tools you need to start creating gorgeous garments with knit.
Let's get started!!!


Knit fabric comes in various forms, here are a few of the most common forms:

  • Jersey Knit -  Jersey can be blended out of cotton, rayon, polyester and silk. Jersey knit is also usually blended with a bit of spandex, as this is what helps it to stretch and bounce back to the original shape.  Jersey knit has a distinct front and back, with the smooth side on the front side of the fabric, and a more textured back side.  When cut, jersey knit tends to curl at the edges, which can make it a bit more tricky to work with.  This knit is great for skirts, tops, yoga pants and dresses. 
          We often sew with jersey knit.  We like jersey blends of 90-95% cotton/poly with 5-10% lycra spandex. This produces a quality, light weight knit that holds its shape and is soft and comfy.
Here are some examples of cute Jersey knits:

Jersey Knits from Girl Charlee


Here are some examples of patterns we've sewn using Jersey knits:


Madelyn top pattern, Gretchen cardigan pattern, Olive top pattern


  • Interlock Knits - Interlock is thicker than jersey knit, as both sides of the fabric are smooth, like the right side of a jersey fabric. Interlock is SUPER easy to sew with because it doesn’t stretch out of shape as easily as jersey and it doesn’t curl at the edges.  We find Interlock as easy to sew with as any woven cotton!  Because it is a more stable fabric, and is a breeze to work with, it is one of our preferred types of knit!  This knit is great for skirts, tops, yoga pants, and dresses.
          We love interlock knit, and there are tons of gorgeous prints found in interlock!  It holds it's shape very nicely, and ruffles don't tend to be too heavy when sewn using interlock knit. 
Here are some examples of gorgeous Interlock knits:

Colorful Rabbits, Hot Air Balloons, Mustaches

(just a sampling of super creative and fun interlock knits available at


Here are some examples of patterns we've sewn using Interlock knits:


Phoebe top/dress, Brooke riding pants, Gretchen cardigan

Interlock Knits from Spoonflower, from left to right: Yellow Dot, Cameo Pink Roses, Blue Vintage Hot Air Balloons, Cameo Rose Dots


  • Rib Knits - Rib knit has the ribbing on both sides of the fabric.  Rib knits tend to be very stretchy when pulled perpendicular to the rib. The ribbing can come in a variety of sizes from large ribs to baby ribbing.  If you envision the neck of a t-shirt, this part is usually made with Rib knits.  This knit is popular for cuffs and bands because of the elasticity.  We don't really use rib knits often, but they certainly are fine to use! 
Here are some examples of Rib knits:


    Here we've sewn the Adele dress using Rib knit:

    Adele dress pattern
    • Slinky Knit - Slinky knit is an acetate-lycra fabric with ribs that is very stretchy and does not wrinkle. This knit is great for wrinkle free dresses that are light weight.  We don't recommend slinky knit for any of our patterns that feature ruffles, because it isn't able to hold the weight of ruffles well at all.  This type of knit especially wouldn't be good for the Phoebe dress, because the weight of the skirt portion would weigh the top portion down.  This is a knit that we don't ever really use and we don't recommend it for our patterns. 

    Now that we've discussed the types of knits that are great to use, let's take a look at sewing machine settings and other sewing tips!


    1.  Choose your needle.  Ballpoint or Stretch Needles are specifically designed for sewing with knits. The ballpoint is great because it will not make loose holes in the knit fabric while you sew.
    2. Machine Stitch Settings. The absolute best stitch to use when sewing with knit is the stretch stitch.  On some machines this stitch looks like a small lightning bolt.  Here is a picture of that stitch on one of our machines.  Not all machines have this particular stitch, though.... See below if yours doesn't.

    Basically, the stretch stitch is a narrow zig-zag stitch.  This type of stitch allows the fabric to retain the stretch after it is sewn.  If you do not have a setting on your machine for this exact stitch then you can adjust the zig-zag on your straight stitch to mimic it.
    A. First, increase the stitch length on your sewing machine.  We put our stitch length around a 4.  This will help maintain the stretch in the fabric once it is sewn.  This also helps the knit move easily through your machine.
    B. Second, lower the tension on your machine down to a 2.  This will also help the knit move easily through your machine and maintain stretch.
    Here is a photo of our stitches once all the correct settings have been applied:
    3. Sew slowly to maintain control and adjust the fabric as necessary. Be careful not to pull or stretch the fabric as
    you sew, as this will prevent your garment from losing its shape.
    4. Knit does not ravel, so it is not necessary to finish the inside seams or the bottom of the ruffles.  We actually prefer to not finish the seams.  We like the ending look better.  Sometimes if you finish the inside seams with a serger or zig-zag stitch, it can cause the the fabric to look pulled or warped.  
    How do you feel about sewing with knit now? 
    Are you ready to give it a go? 
    We hope we've helped build your confidence a little if you were nervous or intimidated before.  Get yourself some plain knit to practice with, and some gorgeous knit for after, and get to sewing!!! 
    Need some patterns???  How would you like to WIN some?
    How about EVERY Violette Field Threads pattern that can be made from knit?
    This includes:
    Lilly Belle
    Scarlett (the legwarmers)
    We're having more posts on knit this week..... where we love to purchase it from, fun knit combinations, more tips,
    AND *MORE* EXCELLENT GIVEAWAYS (hint, hint, that include knit fabrics) stay tuned!  
    Jessica & Ericka


    September 11, 2013 by Jessica Herning


    Rachel Dow

    Rachel Dow said:

    Thank you for this blog post! Great info! I am just starting to sew with knits and this will be such a BIG help! I would also LOVE to win this giveaway! What mom of a little girl wouldn’t??

    Sara U.

    Sara U. said:

    I only see one knit in the Birch section… the yellow deer.

    Mary on Lake Pulaski

    Mary on Lake Pulaski said:

    Emily Isabella for Birch Organic Fabric – Yay Day – Wings of Love is my favorite!


    Joelle said:

    I love the birdie spokes coral and the honeycomb multi!


    Nicole said:

    These tips are useful! I’m just starting to sew with knits and am getting very excited about it.

    Brandy Hoot

    Brandy Hoot said:

    I just love the whole Yay Day line – I just bought some cute knits but am scared to death to get started. Thank you so much for all of the tips shared above. Time to get brave!!

    Katie Darby

    Katie Darby said:

    I would choose yay day in parade!!

    Kelly-Ann F

    Kelly-Ann F said:

    Birds on a Spoke in either color and The Grove Honeycomb is just precious!


    Dianna said:

    Yay Day Parade and Wings of Love, so cute!!


    Jill said:

    Birdie Spokes Coral! Thanks for the fantastic giveaway!! :)


    Amanda said:

    Honeycomb multi is awesome!

    Karen Ciubotariu

    Karen Ciubotariu said:

    I love the Birdie Spokes Coral fabric. Thanks for the tutorial and easy to follow information.


    FLAVIA said:

    the prints yay day and Emily Isabella are lovely and honeycomb is so colorful!Love them all!thanks for the giveaway!


    fenna said:

    birdie spokes in coral :)


    Diana said:

    Thank you for explaining the different types of knit.

    Angela Ray

    Angela Ray said:

    I love the Wings of Love print—it’s gorgeous

    Sarah M.

    Sarah M. said:

    I’m in love with the Mod Deer 2 fabric! It’s amazingly gorgeous!


    Heather said:

    I am in love with Elk Family Sun :)


    Aimee said:

    I’d pick Emily Isabella!

    Allison P

    Allison P said:

    I like the Birdie spokes…so cute!


    Meg said:

    Love the Emily Isabella!

    Wendy Hatton

    Wendy Hatton said:

    Birdie Spokes Coral is my favorite Birch fabric from her range.

    Fiona Kelly

    Fiona Kelly said:

    My favourite fabric is the pretty floral Emily Isabella Yay Day. Amazing giveaway!! Just love your pattens & would just LOVE to win :)

    Cherie L

    Cherie L said:

    the honeycomb knit I’ve love to make a cardi out of!


    Amy said:

    I LOVE all your patterns!! I have several but I could most certainly use them all :)

    Nicole Watkinson

    Nicole Watkinson said:

    What a great post, I already love sewing with knit but picked up a few tips. I would love to win this bundle as I’m dying to make a Gretchen and all the others too.


    Shella said:

    Thank you for the post. These tips will save me a lot of frustration!


    Susan said:

    Of the Birch prints available in the etsy shop, my fav is the Emily Isabella ‘Pretty Floral.’ I LOVE the Grove Honeycomb, but it looks like a heavier weight (canvas).

    Donna Lee

    Donna Lee said:

    I like the Elk Grove Mineral decor fabric! Thank you for the knit hints and the giveaway!


    Debbie said:

    The timing of this post is amazing! My big questions is the difference between the knits and when to use what, this helped and I am ready to dive in. My mother didnt sew knits and I remember her telling me repeatedly how hard they were to sew, so, I havent tried. But I am, today. Thanks and keep the good stuff coming!


    Tina said:

    emily isabel is just wonderful…
    I wish I wasn’t broke…


    Anh-Chi said:

    I would choose Birdie Spokes Coral. So pretty!!


    Rhonda said:

    I adore The Grove Mineral!! That would make some stunning curtains!!


    Nadja said:

    Yay Day Parade is sooooo cute, my little one would love it!

    Susanne Ascue

    Susanne Ascue said:

    Live them all!


    Suzanne said:

    The Birdie Spokes Coral fabric is divine. <3 Thanks for this great tutorial!!


    Cricket said:

    My favorite is the elk family. I do most of my sewing with knots, and I am so glad Birch has started putting some out – the world is in need of more gorgeous knits!


    becca said:

    i adore them all, but i would prolly chose Birdie Spokes Coral first!

    Sharon Putnick

    Sharon Putnick said:

    I adore the Birdie Spoke Prints (every color is so totally perfect – thinking the darker blue is my favorite!).
    I love the HoneyComb, as well!
    All gorgeous prints~
    Thanks for a great tutorial on knits and a wonderful giveaway.
    Good Luck to Everyone.

    Amy H.

    Amy H. said:

    Love the The Grove – Honeycomb!

    Sheryl Ball

    Sheryl Ball said:

    Love your hints for knits and your patterns! I’d pick either Birdie Spokes in coral or the Elk Grove deer in gray (to go with the gray chevron for a pocket tshirt that I saw).


    Signe said:

    Love to try one of your pattern. Your post gave me a lot of Info about knit sewing ;)

    Gina C

    Gina C said:

    I love the elk family knit fabric. Very gender neutral!

    Fiona Jenkins

    Fiona Jenkins said:

    Loving the gretchen cardigan & the olive top patterns & a great knit blog explains the knits well.
    I hope this helps people get over any fears they have & can discover the joy of the wonderful array of knit patterns & fabrics.

    Lisa P

    Lisa P said:

    Loving the Grove Honeycomb fabric :D


    cecelia said:

    Great tips. Thanks

    Angela H.

    Angela H. said:

    I would pick the Elk Family knit fabric, since deer hunting starts tomorrow. My daughter would love that fabric!

    Mary Cook

    Mary Cook said:

    I love birdie spokes in coral. Such a sweet color!

    Lara R

    Lara R said:

    I love the Birdie Spokes Sun!


    Kathleen said:

    I love Birdie Spokes Coral!

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