A Favorite Fabric – Knit!
Take a moment to think about what types of fabric you’ve worn over the last 7 days. I’ll wager a bet you said you wore knits on more than four of the seven days. And we all know why – comfort! Comfort is a characteristic we must keep in mind when adding machine embroidery to those delightful fabrics. Here are my top tips for stitching on knits.
Avoid machine embroidery designs with large solid areas of fill stitches. Open airy designs work best on knits because the open areas of the design allow the fabric to drape and relax. Heavy, patch-like embroidery designs definitely change the hand of the fabric resulting in an unprofessional finish. The comfort of a knit comes from its stretch and open airy designs still allow the fabric to stretch between the embroidered areas and helps maintain its comfortable wear ability.
Select a ball point needle when stitching on knits. The slightly rounded tip will slip between the fibers instead of piercing the fibers. You’ll get good results with an 80/12 ball point needle for embroidering on sweatshirts while a smaller ball point needle, 70/10 is appropriate for finer knits.
Your goal when embroidering on knits is to completely eliminate the stretch in the knit so that the fabric can accept the stitches. If the stretch still exists during the embroidery process, puckers and wrinkling will occur. Use a fusible cut-away stabilizer such as fusible polymesh, a strong but comfortable permanent stabilizer. A layer of film-type water soluble stabilizer on top produces a crisp, clean embroidery design. Just remember, once the fabric is laundered, the water soluble stabilizer completely vanishes so don’t depend on it for permanent stabilization.
Many knits suffer from hoop burn when secured in a standard embroidery hoop. So I use Snap-Hoop when I stitch on knits. Snap-Hoops are flat, magnetic hoops that grip the fabric between the two FLAT frames – the bottom metal frame and the magnetic top frame. Once the knit is sandwiched between the frames, just tug on the fabric to remove any excess fabric. Because the knit is stabilized and the frames are flat, no distortion occurs. I love these frames!
If you have to rely on a standard hoop to embroider your knit fabric then make sure you have a can of spray sizing (such as Magic Sizing) on hand. After you remove the knit from the standard hoop, spray the hoop burn area with the sizing and press away the marks. I strongly suggest testing this first on a similar fabric.
Tear away any excess water soluble stabilizer. Use a wet cotton swab to remove tiny bits of the film from small areas. Cut all thread tails from the right and wrong side of the embroidery.
Press the embroidered area from the wrong side. While the stabilizer is still warm, gently lift it away from the fabric. Trim the stabilizer to within ½” of the design. Pinking shears are great for this task as they leaved a pinked, jagged edge instead of a hard straight line. Once trimmed, press the wrong side of the embroidered area again, resetting the adhesive on the stabilizer.
Next week, I’ll address sheer, stretch knits such as burn-out cotton and stretch mesh.