November 24, 2021

If you've ever tried to sew a stretchy fabric before and come out with wavy stretched out seams, then you know why it's important to use the right settings on your sewing machine - even if you haven't quite figured them out yet!

So what are the right settings?

Presser Foot Pressure

This is the most important one for knit fabrics - most machines allow you to adjust the presser foot pressure, and lowering it will dramatically reduce the waviness in your seams. Check out this comparison of the same fabric and same stitch type - only difference is the presser foot pressure.

Walking Foot or Knit Foot

While this isn't technically a setting, a walking foot or knit foot can be an integral part in achieving straight seams on your sewing machine, especially if you have a very basic machine that doesn't allow you to adjust the presser foot pressure. Even on a machine that does allow you to adjust the pressure, it can make a small difference - check out this comparison with a walking foot sample added.


I have not found that the tension needs to be adjusted for any of my knit fabrics, but I have heard that a very thick knit fabric may require a slight lowering of the tension.

Stitch Length

A longer stitch length helps a lot in preventing waviness in knit seams. You will also need a stretch stitch (such as triple stitch, lightning bolt, or zig zag) so that your seams can stretch with the fabric - but to prevent stretching during sewing, all you need is a longer stitch length.

Need more info on any of these settings? Check out this video:

YouTube video

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2 comments on “Sewing Machine Settings for Sewing Knit Fabrics”

  1. I have an inexpensive singer sewing machine (under $200). I purchased some stretchy bamboo to make pajamas. I have watched every youtube video and read everything I can possibly find on sewing stretch fabric. I've tried all the things: walking foot, stretch needle, stretch stitch, stay tape, tissue paper and on and on. Nothing works. Even after I think I've sewn a decent seam, the thread pops when I pull on it. Is it me or is it my machine?

    1. It could be your thread. You want good quality polyester thread, I like Gutermann. 100% cotton breaks more easily, and avoid cheap dollar store thread or old hand-me-down thread. If that's not the problem, can you email me and send me a picture of your stitches and the setting on your machine that you are using?

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