How to Sew Cotton Knit Fabric

Are you ready to tackle sewing cotton knit fabric?

In this article, we’ll guide you through the process step by step.

You’ll learn how to choose the right fabric, prepare it for sewing, and gather the essential tools and equipment you’ll need.

We’ll also cover techniques for sewing cotton knit fabric and provide tips for giving your finished garments a professional touch.

Get ready to create comfortable and stylish pieces with confidence!

Choosing the Right Cotton Knit Fabric

When choosing the right cotton knit fabric, you’ll want to consider the weight, stretch, and texture of the material. There are various types of cotton knit fabrics available, each with its own unique characteristics.

Jersey knit is lightweight and has a great drape, making it perfect for t-shirts and dresses. Interlock knit is slightly heavier and more stable, making it ideal for tops and skirts. Rib knit has a textured surface and is often used for cuffs and collars. French terry knit is looped on one side and smooth on the other, providing comfort and warmth for sweatshirts and loungewear.

To find the perfect cotton knit fabric, start by assessing the weight. If you’re looking for a lightweight and flowy fabric, choose jersey knit. If you prefer a slightly heavier fabric with more structure, opt for interlock knit. Consider the stretch as well. Some cotton knit fabrics have a good amount of stretch, which is great for garments that require ease of movement. Others have limited stretch, which works well for more structured pieces. Lastly, pay attention to the texture. Run your hands over the fabric to feel its softness, smoothness, or ribbed texture.

Preparing Your Cotton Knit Fabric for Sewing

To prepare your cotton knit fabric for sewing, start by washing and drying it according to the care instructions on the label. Prewashing fabric is essential because it removes any chemicals or finishes that may be present, as well as any shrinkage that could occur. Simply toss your fabric in the washing machine with a gentle detergent and wash it on a delicate cycle. Once washed, transfer it to the dryer on a low heat setting or lay it flat to air dry. This step ensures that your fabric is clean and ready to work with.

After prewashing, it’s time to cut out your pattern pieces. Lay your fabric flat on a clean, flat surface and smooth out any wrinkles. It’s important to note that cotton knit fabric has a tendency to curl at the edges, so use pattern weights or pins to keep it in place. Carefully place your pattern pieces on top of the fabric, making sure to follow the grainline indicated on the pattern. Use sharp fabric scissors to cut around the edges of the pattern, being careful to cut smoothly and accurately. Take your time and double-check that you have cut all the necessary pieces.

Essential Tools and Equipment for Sewing Cotton Knit Fabric

You’ll need some essential tools and equipment for working with cotton knit fabric. Here are three items that will make your sewing experience with cotton knit fabric much easier:

  • Ballpoint or stretch needle: Using the wrong type of needle can result in skipped stitches or fabric damage. A ballpoint or stretch needle is specifically designed for knit fabrics and will help prevent these issues.

  • Walking foot: A walking foot is a great investment when sewing cotton knit fabric. It helps to evenly feed the fabric through the machine, preventing stretching or distortion. This is especially important when sewing seams or hems.

  • Twin needle: A twin needle is a handy tool for creating professional-looking hems and topstitching on cotton knit fabric. It creates two parallel lines of stitching on the right side of the fabric, giving it a polished finish.

When sewing cotton knit fabric, it’s important to avoid common mistakes that can lead to frustration and poor results. One common mistake is using too much tension on your sewing machine. This can cause the fabric to pucker or stretch. Be sure to adjust the tension settings according to the fabric’s stretchiness.

Another common issue is not using the right stitch type. When sewing cotton knit fabric, it’s best to use a stretch stitch or a narrow zigzag stitch. These stitches allow the fabric to stretch without breaking the thread.

Lastly, be mindful of the seam allowance. Using a narrow seam allowance can cause the fabric to fray or unravel. Stick to a ¼ inch or larger seam allowance to ensure the durability of your finished project.

Techniques for Sewing Cotton Knit Fabric

Using the right stitch type is crucial when working with cotton knit fabric. This type of fabric is known for its stretchiness, so it requires a stitch that can accommodate its flexibility. When sewing with cotton knit fabric, it’s important to choose the correct stitch type to ensure your seams are strong and durable. Here are some stitch types that work well with stretchy fabrics:

Stitch Type Description Common Use Cases
Zigzag Stitch This stitch creates a zigzag pattern and allows Attaching elastic, hemming, and finishing
the fabric to stretch without breaking the edges on stretchy fabrics
Stretch Stitch This stitch resembles a lightning bolt and is Sewing seams and hems on stretchy fabrics
specifically designed for stretchy fabrics.
It stretches with the fabric and provides
excellent durability.
Twin Needle This stitch creates two parallel rows of stitching Hemming, topstitching, and decorative
and adds a professional touch to your projects. stitching on stretchy fabrics.

When sewing cotton knit fabric, it’s important to troubleshoot common sewing issues that may arise. Some common issues include skipped stitches, uneven seams, and fabric puckering. To prevent skipped stitches, make sure your needle is sharp and appropriate for knit fabrics. Uneven seams can be avoided by using a walking foot or a stretch needle that prevents the fabric from being stretched while sewing. Fabric puckering can be minimized by using a longer stitch length and gently guiding the fabric through the machine. By following these tips and techniques, you can achieve excellent results when sewing with cotton knit fabric.

Finishing Touches and Care Tips for Sewn Cotton Knit Garments

When working with sewn cotton knit garments, it’s essential to pay attention to the finishing touches and care tips. Here are some important care instructions and troubleshooting tips that will help you maintain the quality and longevity of your cotton knit garments:

  • Washing and Drying: Always check the care label for specific instructions, but in general, machine wash your cotton knit garments in cold water on a gentle cycle. Avoid using bleach or harsh detergents. After washing, reshape the garment and lay it flat to dry. Avoid wringing or twisting the fabric, as it can stretch or lose its shape.

  • Ironing and Steaming: Cotton knit fabric is prone to wrinkling, so it’s important to know how to properly iron or steam it. Set your iron to a low or medium heat and use a pressing cloth to protect the fabric. Gently press the iron over the garment, avoiding excessive pressure or dragging.

  • Fixing Common Issues: If your cotton knit garment develops a hole or a loose thread, you can easily fix it with a needle and thread. Use a matching thread color and carefully sew the hole or loose thread back into place. If the fabric starts to pill, you can use a fabric shaver or a sweater stone to remove the pills gently.

Taking these care instructions into consideration will help you maintain the quality and appearance of your sewn cotton knit garments. By following these tips, you can enjoy your garments for a long time and troubleshoot common issues that may arise.


In conclusion, sewing cotton knit fabric can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience.

By choosing the right fabric, preparing it properly, and using the essential tools and equipment, you can create beautiful garments.

Remember to use the appropriate techniques, such as using a stretch stitch or a serger, for sewing cotton knit fabric.

And don’t forget the finishing touches and care tips to ensure your sewn cotton knit garments last for a long time.

With practice and patience, you’ll become a skilled cotton knit fabric sewist in no time.

Happy sewing!

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