My Singer 48K is set up for sewing fine jersey – from single knit light weight to the finest lightest jersey available to buy these days. I already described in detail why this machine is so wonderful, but it has never been easy to find just the right combination of various parameters for that perfect stitch. Well, I think I figured out how to do it! 😃
Just to clarify: this method works on Singer 48K which is a cylinder transverse shuttle machine with spring-driven feed. It should also work on regular TS machines if their shuttles are good enough, but I haven’t tested it. Spring-driven feed is a must, so this method won’t work on a Singer VS for example because it’s a completely different machine with its own rules. It also won’t work on modern machines – doh! 😉
Before you begin, make sure your machine is well oiled and the bobbin is not running out and is not too full – all of that will mess up your tensions. If you are using a large spool of upper thread like those 1,000m or more spools you get these days, use a spool stand. Such spools are too heavy and will make your upper tension uneven.
To make a flexible stitch with 60%-70% stretch on fine jersey use the following settings:
- Reasonably thin thread, although nothing special is required. Exercise your common sense. 😋
- A jersey needle size 60 or 70. You can also use a more specialised “stretch” or “microtex” needle for microfiber materials.
- A short stitch length of 0.5-0.7mm. On my machine this is stitch length 2 1/4 (don’t ask! I know it’s weird but it works).
- Fairly high foot pressure. On my machine it’s over 3/4 of the pressure range.
- Fairly light bobbin thread tension but not too low or you get wobbly stitches.
- Fairly light upper thread tension. Probably about 3 on the scale of 0 to 10.
Now try sewing and see how your fabric takes it. You are after this:
Very fine stitches that disappear into the fabric and stretch with the fabric. If your stitches don’t quite look like that, try the following adjustments.
First of all get the stitch length right. It has to be in relation to the knitted stitches of your jersey. You can go as short as one knitted stitch!
Next balance the tensions. Increase foot pressure to reduce bobbin thread tension – weird, I know, but it works! Also adjust the bobbin tension itself until the bottom stitches look neat. It’s a balancing act. Now adjust the upper tension to get a balanced stitch.
Check that the stitch is actually sufficiently flexible! Stretch the seam and observe both sides of the stitch. This is also a good way to check whether the thread tensions are balanced: both sides should look the same. If one side is taut but the other is not, then you know which tension needs reducing. 😉
Hope this works for you!
If you can’t get a good flexible stitch whatever you do, try lowering the feed dogs a little. It should add stretch to your stitching.