Knit fabric is stretchy and shrinky, making it hard to sew with a standard sewing machine. If you are on the hunt for the best sewing machine for knit fabric, a serger sewing machine (also called an overlock sewing machine) is the best fit for your needs.
And when choosing a serger, you should take the knit fabric types (weft-knit and warp-knit fabric), stitching types into your very first account.
Besides, available accessories, bobbin-thread lift, and other features (such as differential feed, which helps prevents stretching and puckering on all fabric types) are also worth considering, which will make your machine more versatile and your sewing experience more comfortable.
But with so many serger models in the market, picking the right machine might be a bit tricky and confusing, even for an experienced sewer. All other sergers are either too basic or too advanced.
In this article, I have rounded up 7 best sewing machines for knit fabrics, taking into consideration price and features:
- Juki MO654DE Serger Sewing Machine
- Janome MOD- 8933 Serger
- Singer Professional 5 14T968DC Serger
- Brother 2340CV Cover Advanced Serger
- Juki MCS – 1500 Coverstitch and Chain Stitch Machine
- Janome 8002D Serger Sewing Machine
- Juki MO – 1000 Push Button Serger
See the overview, pros & cons below.
What Is Kint Fabric?
Fabric can come from various materials, including linen, rayon, spandex, lycra, viscose, and cotton. However, the preparation of almost all fabric falls under two main fabric types: knit or woven.
Woven fabrics have vertical and horizontal threads and are woven on a loom. They are made of warp yarns and weft yarns. On the other hand, knit fabrics are made of interlocking loops of yarns. As a result, they will stretch when you pull them.
Knit fabric is more flexible than woven fabric, and it is more popular in sewing smaller pieces such as socks and hats. This is because they are super comfortable to wear. However, if you are a beginner or new in the field of sewing, this kind of fabric can be quite frustrating initially.
What Kind of Sewing Machine is Best for Knit and Stretch Fabrics?
#1. Serger or Overlock Machine
The serger machine is considered to be the best machine for stitching knits. Typically, these machines are used for hemming raw edges, but they can also be used to sew knit fabrics because the stitches can stretch easily.
This is quite a popular model of sewing machine that helps you get the desired results. While the drawback of a serger machine is that you cannot do topstitching on it. And it is are less versatile than a sewing machine and not suitable for a beginner.
#2. Coverstitch Machine
This is another kind of machine that is suitable for hemming knits. The stitches are almost similar to the kind of serger machine. However, while one side has thread loops, the other side has two parallel stitches.
These help to stretch the stitches without damaging the fabric. A majority of the popular brand t-shirts are sewed using this machine.
#3. Conventional Sewing Machine
A regular sewing machine is useful when you stitch knits. However, if you do not own a serger, a traditional sewing machine will work too. You can use the stretch stitch for this purpose.
Furthermore, a traditional machine is a great option to sew hem. You can use different kinds of stitches to do a mock coverstitch. If you wish to do topstitching on any knit fabric, the best option is the traditional sewing machine.
How Do I Prepare to Sew Knit Fabrics?
#1. Pre-Shrink the Knit Fabric
Even though the knit fabric label might indicate that the knit fabric is pre-shrunk, it still will shrink unpredictably after washing. So before you start with your sewing work, it is crucial to first pre-wash the material.
Washing the fabric before you start with sewing will shrink the material so it will remain the same size even after you wash it multiple times.
#2. Note the Stretch Amount
It is crucial to note how the knit fabric stretches before you start with your projects. Every knit fabric differs, and you might get different results each time. However, a majority of the patterns suggest the most suitable knits.
Furthermore, fabrics have a stretch gauge that will help you understand how the material will fit once done.
#3. Find the Direction of Stretch
Always make sure to notice in which direction the fabric stretches the most when you cut a knit. In most cases, the direction of the stretch will need to go around the body, not up and down.
You can have a look at the pattern pieces to recognize the direction. Make sure that before you cut, line the pattern pieces parallel to the stretch direction.
Top 7 Best Serger Sewing Machines For Knit Fabrics
This advanced sewing machine from Juki is an absolute powerhouse of features and amazing specifications. It is a high-quality machine that comes with a powerful drive cutting system meant for knit fabrics.
Highlights a 2-3-4 thread capability with automatic features, this serger allows you to create customized designs and patterns.
Though it has a compact and small size, it does not compromise an inch on quality or performance. The sewing machine has a powerful knife system and an automatic rolled hem setting, which ensures that the serger folds the knit fabrics underneath and stitches it neatly.
Furthermore, the productive machine can easily sew lightweight and heavy fabrics as well. It has an impressive sewing speed of 1500 stitches per minute.
It also has safety features installed in the machine. For instance, the switch machine won’t run if the swing cover is open.
Besides, the sewing machine is also portable that allows you to carry it around with ease. The weight of the sewing machine is just 7 pounds. You have thread options like 2,3,4 with several accessories along with the machine.
It comes with a cleaning brush, machine oil, dust cover, lower knife, and so much more. So if you are looking for a reliable serger that can handle various fabrics at a reasonable price, the Juki MO654DE is the best fit.
The Janome MOD – 8933 is a fantastic sewing machine known for its performance. It’s again one of those machines specially designed to work with knit fabrics.
The stunning machine has 3 or 4 thread options, making it suitable for all general sewing purposes.
It also features a differential deed that avoids puckering and stretching when sewing knit fabrics. The adjustable foot presser and quick change rolled hem make it an all-rounder sewing machine suitable for your rolled hemming needs.
You have the option to change the length of the stitches between 1 mm and 4 mm. Since the sewing machine has a stitching speed of 1300 stitches per minute, you can complete your projects faster than expected.
Additionally, the serger sewing machine has a simple working system that makes it easy for everyone to use. This machine is packed with features you would want to experience, such as a lay-in tension control, a color-coded thread guide, and a pretension setting slider to increase the threading process’s speed.
Furthermore, the sewing machine is available at quite a reasonable and affordable price. So if you wonder which sewing machine to invest in, this Janome product won’t disappoint you.
This is a heavy-duty and sturdy serger sewing machine featuring a 2-3-4-5 configuration, providing a wide selection of stitch options for all types of projects with professional results every time.
Also, the durable and solid metal frame makes it less prone to vibrate or produce sounds while operating. The best part about this Singer machine is that it offers a coverstitch function.
Additionally, the sewing machine has a stitching speed of 1300 stitches per minute and an extensive range of stitch options for sewing seams, hems, decorative edges, rolled hems, cover hems, and more. It also comes with a decent 25-year limited warranty.
Another sewing machine that is suitable for knit fabrics is the Brother 2340CV serger. It is a durable serger machine that built to serve you for a long time and allows you to work with different materials. You can easily create coverstitches with this serger.
Also, this serger is top class when it comes to results and finishing. The machine has an impressive sewing speed of 1100 stitches per minute. Though the stitching speed isn’t as high as others on the list, it is still decent and perfect for intermediate and advanced users.
Also, threading a serger can be difficult, especially if you are a beginner. However, the machine has a color-coded guide that helps newbies thread the serger easily.
Along with the product, you also receive a cleaning brush, 4 thread nets, operating manual or instruction manual, blind stitch foot, and several other accessories too.
Additionally, these two features, ‘chain stitch’ and ‘differential feed’, allow you to work with new designs using your creativity and create high-quality, professional-looking seams and edgework.
This user-friendly coverstitch and chain stitch machine feature a 1-2-3-4 color-coded thread capability and breakaway threading looper and is considered one of the best knit fabric sewing machines that allow you to sew interesting designs and patterns.
Its high-quality needles and fantastic performance allow you to create professional and long-lasting seams and unparalleled edgework to a whole new level.
It can handle knit fabrics, wovens, and other stretch fabrics. With the coverstitch feature, you can sew hems, necklines, or sleeve cuffs on knit fabric more easily.
Also, chain stitches can be used for stitching the side seams, pants waists, and creating interesting decorative necklines for dresses.
Juki MCS – 1500 serger has a presser foot lift that allows you easily insert the fabric while sewing so you can take your stitching to a new level and let your creativity take over.
It also features an adjustable differential feed that enables you to stitch knit fabrics more conveniently. You can use it for all kinds of fabric like georgette or knit.
If you are looking for a serger sewing machine within a fixed budget, the Janome 8002D serger will fit your needs. This knit fabric sewing machine has a stitching speed of 1300 stitches per minute, which is impressive when compared with other equivalent and expensive models.
Measuring 15 x 13.5 x 14.5 inches and weighs only 13.4 pounds, this portable serger enables you to take it around, suitable for fashion design students.
This is an easy-to-use machine and has all the necessary features you want in a serger model. In addition, the come-along user manual allows everyone to understand the operation and mechanism of the model easily, shortening the learning period considerably.
Moreover, an easy-to-read chart is printed on the machine’s exterior for understanding, helping you set up your machine easily.
It also comes with thread tension dials that simplify your sewing process. You can separately control the needle thread and the bobbin thread, putting varying amounts of tension on them. Sewing machine tension can be tightened or loosened to affect the needle thread, the bobbin thread, or both.
You can adjust the length of the stitch between 1 mm – 4 mm. It also has adjustable foot pressure along with snap-on presser feet and a retractable upper knife.
This Juki MO-1000 serger sewing machine is perfect for beginner and professional sewers. It comprises patented Jet-Air looper threading that offers you an effortless stitching experience.
This Juki MO-1000 sewing machine has an impressive stitching speed of 1500 stitches per minute. This allows you to complete your projects at a faster pace. And the stitch length is adjustable, ranging from 1mm to 4mm.
Besides, the amazing sewing machine also has an adjustable differential feed to make sewing even easier. In addition, users can make use of the 2- 3- or 4-thread overlock, a 3-thread narrow overlock stitch, a 3-thread rolled hemstitch, a 3-thread flatlock stitch, and a gorgeous 3-thread that will add style and patterns to garments.
You also have the option to use the long-cutting knife that will provide you with flawless cuts every time.
Included in the box with your purchase are a screwdriver, dust cover, electronic foot control, tweezers, and more.
What Kind of Tension Should I Use for Knit Fabric?
For instance, if you choose stable knits or loftier knits, it is best to use a lower tension like a 2 or 3. However, if you are using good heavyweight knits, use a moderate tension of around 4. For moderate-weight knits, you can go for tension weight between 4-5. These tensions are considered to be the best and yield excellent results.
How to Choose the Best Serger Sewing Machine for Knit Fabrics?
#1. Which Fabric Are You Going to Use?
The first step to a successful sewing project is to know the type of fabric well. There are many different types of knit fabrics available in the market. Here I will list some of the detailed descriptions that will help you choose better and sew easier.
– Jersey Knit
The Jersey knit fabrics are one of the most familiar fabric types you will come across. This material is the perfect option for comfortable wear. And most of the t-shirts and blouses are crafted with these fabrics.
– Double Knit
This fabric has two layers of fabric, which is why it is called a double knit. The fabric is perfect for beginners to start their sewing journey with because they are easy to handle. Furthermore, the material is sturdy enough; hence you won’t damage it easily.
Last but not least, this fabric accentuates the shape of your body. You can sew dresses, skirts, lightweight jackets, and so much more with this fabric.
– Sweater Knit
The winters are on the way, and so is the season for sweaters. The sweater knits are the best material to stitch nice and cozy sweaters.
Besides, it is also important to have a good sewing machine for such kinds of fabrics. Then you can make your custom-designed sweater and rock the season.
#2. Stitches Type You Make for Your Sewing Projects
To make your sewing project a success, you need stretch stitches. Else, there are chances of them popping or breaking. Here are some basic stitches that will let you easily handle knit fabrics.
– Zigzag Stitch
The first stitch on our list is the zigzag stitch. You might be very familiar with this stitch if you have been stitching for a while. They are the perfect kind of stitches that are suitable on a knit fabric. A zig-zag stitch is 1.4 mm long and 3.5 mm wide.
Since the fabrics are stretchy, do not pull them too much. Pulling will make the fabric look old and damaged.
– Triple Zigzag
If you are looking for a durable stitch, the tripe zig-zag will sort your worries. The triple zigzag offers double the strength of a normal zig-zag.
This kind of stitch is suitable for projects like tents, kites, or outdoor gears. Hence, try the triple zig-zag stitch to add extra strength to your stitches and style to your projects.
– Twin Needle Stitch
A twin needle stitch sews two parallel lines of stitches along with zig-zag interlocked stitches between them. This stitch is not only attractive but is also strong and stretches easily when you pull them apart.
It is recommended that you use a ballpoint twin needle for this purpose because the twin needle avoids any kind of damage to the fabric.
Hints and Tips for Sewing Knit Fabrics
#1. Knit Fabric
The first step to sewing a successful and professional project is to know your fabric well. It is recommended that you start your projects with thick fabrics because they are easier to start sewing with. In addition, sewing on heavy fabric allows you to change your stitches anytime and correct them. Once you familiarize yourself with sewing heavy fabrics, you can start working on knit fabric.
Before you work on any fabric, know its fiber content. While some knit fabrics stretch to a large extent, others may not. Hence, it is important to know the fabric’s stretch extent and pull them to check the same. And every knit fabric is different and they stretch in different patterns, which adds more challenge of your project.
Knit fabrics have fiber in them, which can be damaged if you use regular needles as they have a sharp head that can damage the look of the fabric.
It is important to note that the knit fabric also has a thicker structure. Hence, the traditional needles may not be the best pick for sewing.
The best needles for sewing knit fabrics are ballpoint twin needles. These needles do not have a pointy head, which makes them a suitable choice for knit fabrics. And they do not damage the fabric and give you excellent finishing and quality stitching.
Since every fabric is different, they all have different requirements for sewing. Just like knit fabrics require twin needles for better stitching results, the thread also plays an important role in delivering an excellent finish to the project.
But you can not use just any thread for sewing on a knit fabric. The best threads to use on knit fabrics are all-purpose threads. But stretchy threads are also great alternatives.
If you have been planning to invest in a serger sewing machine, this detailed buying guide will help you make an informed choice. Make the best purchase at an affordable price range and enjoy the fun of sewing.
#1. What Should You Do Before Sewing Knit Fabric?
First, you need to understand the stretch of the fabric. Next, use the right needles, threads, and pins for the same. Then, make use of the right stitch and know knit edges. Also, do not forget to use the presser foot and feed dog feature properly. These basics will help you in a long way.
#2. Which Needle Do You Need for Knit Fabric?
It is recommended that you use ballpoint needles for stitching knit fabrics. They are considered to be an ideal choice that will give you the desired results.