Sunday, August 27, 2017

Discovering the lightning bolt stitch—
and remembering to use it when sewing knits

The lightning stitch, or lightning bolt stitch.
I knew of this stitch. I've heard it referenced many times in tutorials and TV programs about sewing with knit fabrics. I just never remembered to use it when I had a knit project under the needle... until recently.
The Lightning Bolt stitch is great for sewing knits.
I had a knit top already cut out just waiting for some sewing time. It's made from one of Art Gallery Fabrics' solid color knits (one of the fabric companies I rep). The color is orange creamsicle. I've sewn several long and short sleeve tops with AGF knits and my collection continues to grow.
Knit top in orange creamsicle by Art Gallery Fabrics.
These knit tops are soft, comfortable, wash up well and are easy to pack for traveling. This cotton fabric has a wee bit (5%) of spandex in it which gives it stability and memory... and makes it easy to sew.
Decorative stitching on yarn-dyed woven fabrics.
Anyway... back to the lightning stitch and how I happened to discover it...

Lately, I've been immersed with stitching on yarn-dyed wovens from Diamond Textiles (another fabric company I rep). This project features decorative machine stitching on 4-patch blocks. It's an exercise in color and contrast—thread color vs. stitch vs. fabric color and pattern, and how each plays off the other. It also got me using the myriad of decorative stitches that are built into my sewing machine again. (We just don't use these stitch beauties enough!) While experimenting with stitch selections, I noticed stitch #17 on my machine.

Behold! The lightning bolt stitch!

[I guess that lightning bolt finally hit me.]

So my pre-cut knit top was an opportunity to try out stitch #17—the lighting bolt stitch. I used this stitch for the armhole, side and shoulder seams. Then, the seam allowances were edge finished on the serger for a neater inside. The bottom hem and the sleeve hems were serged and turned it under once. From the right side of the work, the hems were sewn down by machine using the lightning stitch. The bottom hem has a fusible tricot strip inside to keep it from rolling.
Using the lighting stitch on a knit top.
The lightning stitch takes a bit longer to sew because it goes forward and back as it stitches. But it is neat, strong and still allows the fabric to stretch without the stitches popping. I think I like it better than a small zigzag (or wobble stitch) that I had been using. It has a more polished, finished look.
Finished knit T-shirt ready to wear.
Another knit top for my wardrobe and another stitch experience added to my garment sewing skill set. Good ol' stitch #17 did a good job for me. 

Don't wait for the lightning bolt to hit you in the head—try this stitch on your next knit project.
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