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I’ve been sewing a lot of knits lately (proof forthcoming in a future post) and it’s all been done without a hitch on my trusty old Singer 401A (best almost $20 I have ever spent in my entire life, ever).

I simply use ball-tip needles so as not to snag the delicate knit fabric. Otherwise my construction techniques don’t significantly vary from my handling of woven fabrics.

I almost always zig-zag finish the seam allowances on most of the stuff I make. A fabric has to be very firmly woven and not likely to fray before I’ll forgo this step.

Even the zipper is vintage!
On woven fabrics, it looks like this.

With knits, it ends up looking more like this:
Illustrating handling knits with a conventional sewing machine
I zig-zag the seam allowances to prevent runs/fraying. Then I press the piece with a damp cloth to minimize “lettuce edging” along stretchable edges of the fabric. On the straight grain, the seam allowance is bound much like it is on woven fabrics.

The pink piece you see above is a drawstring-neck tee-shirt…this will be the third one I’ve made from this pattern, a 1972 Simplicity that has been panning out very well for me.
1972 Simplicity #9974
Simplicity 9974 View 2 drawstring neckline tee front

I’ve never really had the urge to procure a serger.  They look too prone to temperamentality.  They seem high-maintenance, and I’m just not on board with that.  Plus, I really don’t want my seam allowances bound and trimmed.  I like to keep my seam allowances open for future alterations.  I like to be able to un-do mistakes to a certain degree.  If you screw up with a serger, say by catching another bit of the garment in the way of the seam, you’re completely screwed.  It’s stitched down and trimmed off.  No thank you!

Plus sergers seem to be a bit like fixed gear bicycles.  A lot of people who acquire either machine become evangelical about them and are inclined to get shirty with those who aren’t eager to “come into the fold.” I’ve been getting by very damn well, thank you, without either, and the few times I’ve given a fixed gear bicycle a go, it’s netted me nothing but awkward frustration (kind of like dating in high school). Since the way I’ve been doing things has been working out well for me, I reckon I’ll just keep on keepin’ on.

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