Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tuesday's Tute: No Curl Knit Fabric

The most difficult thing about sewing knits is fighting the curl.  You know how the cut edges of knits curl up and are a bear to keep flat while you try to keep your seam straight and sew.  I never have enough hands!  My son wanted to make a pair of shorts, his first pair by the way, out of a knit we found on the clearance table.  It curled horribly.  He'd never be able to keep the pieces lined up and flat.  After looking around the house a bit for something to stiffen the knit....ah ha.  Spray starch!  Yep, it's that easy to flatten your knit for sewing and then wash it out.  Some knits take more than one application to get them flat, like woven, but it works like a charm.  Even my little guy was able to sew his first solo project on a knit without the slightest curl.

Cut fabric Pieces with curl
Spray Starch
Hot iron (no steam)

 1. Lay the piece wrong side up on your ironing board.  Uncurl edges with one hand and spray with the other.  Spray edges of the fabric liberally. Always spray starch on the wrong side of the fabric.  There were a couple of times I had a bit of discolored starch come off the iron.  I don't want to take any chance of ironing a stain onto the right side.

 2. Press.  Do not slide your iron.  It may actually "stick" until the starch is dry.  Some steam may even come up as the iron dries the starch.  Move to the next spot and press.  When your sprayed piece is dry it shouldn't curl. 
3. If there's any curl, spray and press again.  Some really curly pieces have needed three starch applications.  Make sure you wash your garment before you wear it. ;)

The pieces in the picture are for a dress that Curly is getting ready to sew.

Happy Sewing!


  1. Thanks for sharing this tute! I have some cheapy jersey that curls really bad and I've been putting off sewing anything with it. I'll have to give this a try.:)

  2. mary ellen mcwhirterOctober 6, 2011 at 9:57 AM

    wow... I work at a fabric store and love to be able to share this info with my customers.... many thanks.

  3. Thanks, I'm going to try that!

  4. hi,
    I want to use knit material to make scarves for gifts. I wanted to leave the long sides unhemmed since jersey won't unravel. Is there a trick to cutting jersey knit so that the edges never roll? I am wanting to copy a lululemon vinyasa scarf like this one http://www.ebay.com/itm/272347761923?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT
    is there something I can do to the long edges that will keep them from curling?
    thank you,

    1. Great question. I've cut knit in a variety of ways and never found it to not roll. Looking at the scarf you are considering, I believe they are double layered w/no raw edges.

  5. Great idea! But I'm allergic to the perfumes in the spray starch and can't find one without perfume.

    1. Just found some at Nancysnotions.com

    2. I came across some DIY recipes with Cornstarch and Deionized water that work pretty well for spray starch!

    3. I know I'm a latecomer to this party but I'd like to suggest something I use - Betty's Best Press. It comes in scented versions but there IS an unscented as well. I use it on knits all of the time - it won't gunk up your iron either, like starch would. It's a tad pricey but often you can find it on sale by the gallon and it's a good buy. (Try Amazon) A gallon will last you a long time. Good Luck!

    4. Make your own starch by boiling water and add cornstarch mixed with cold water. Quickly whisk so there is no lumps. Allow to cool.. instant starch. You can add water to the cooked mixture for lighter starch.

  6. I use wash-away, double sided adhesive tape on a roll, which seems to work well.

  7. Love the homemade how to on starch. What are the proportions of boiled water, cornstarch, and cold water? I would like to try this. I have perfume sensitive family members also.


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