Sewing Sweater Knit on a Serger

The weather has finally turned cold in my town, so I’m ready to bring on the sweater knit fabrics with full force. I love this time of year because the weather is perfect for getting all cozy near the fireplace and cuddled up with blankets. But when I need to step outdoors, I’m definitely trying to be cute and warm at the same time

If you read my blog post earlier this month, you received some great tips about sewing with sweater knit fabrics. And if you watched the YouTube video, you heard me say that I don’t recommend sewing sweater knit fabrics on a serger.

Sewing Sweater Knit on a Serger

Well, guess what I’m talking about today? I just sewed this beautiful sweater knit duster on my Baby Lock Vibrant Serger. Hahaha! Now listen, I didn’t say it couldn’t be done. I said I wouldn’t recommend it, especially if you’re a new beginner. If you’re new to sewing, I suggest practicing with  the serger to finish off your seam allowances until you have some experience before sewing sweater knit on this specialty machine. When you’re ready to sew your sweaters on a serger, I’ve got you covered. Today I’m sharing 3 Tips to help you achieve success when sewing your sweaters on a serger.

Sewing Sweater Knit on a Serger

Simplicity 8648 - Duster in Two Lengths

First, let’s talk about the pattern I used to sew my duster. This is Simplicity 8648, and I chose it because I love the midriff band with the button closure. I sewed View B, omitted the bottom ruffle, and used the hem length for View A. This duster is so versatile, which makes it a winner for me. With a simple change in fabric, sleeves, and length, the possibilities are endless. I suggest this pattern for advanced beginners. If you’re a new beginner, get some practice sewing garments with less detail before attempting to sew this pattern. There’s a link to the pattern at the end of this post.


Sewing Sweater Knit on a Serger
Sewing Sweater Knit on a Serger
Sewing Sweater Knit on a Serger
Sewing Sweater Knit on a Serger

Depending on the type of fabric you choose, this garment can be used as a beach coverup, kimono, or a sweater duster, like mine. At first I was calling it a cardigan, until I read the pattern description on the Simplicity website. They describe it as a duster. I always thought they were the same, so I decided to search for the difference on Google.

According to what I found, there are differing views. Several  answers said that a cardigan falls around the hip area, and a duster falls below the knee. Others called this floor length garment a cardigan. So, I don’t really know, but I’m calling mine a duster. Hahaha! Let’s just go with that today. What about you? Do you call it a cardigan or duster when it’s below the knee?

Fabric Options

The pattern suggests soft, lightweight fabrics such as Challis, Cotton Types, Crepe, Double Georgette, Gauze, Georgette, Linen Types, Silky Types, Voile, and Lace. You’re probably wondering why I used sweater knit. The answer is simply a matter of desire. I wanted a sweater duster and that’s what I made. I’ve had the fabric for several years and thought it would pair nicely with this pattern. I absolutely love the freedom I have to create garments with fabrics of my choice. That’s a HUGE bonus when sewing your own garments. Follow the link at the end of this post for sweater knit fabric options.

Sewing Sweater Knit on a Serger
Sewing Sweater Knit on a Serger

It’s acceptable to substitute knit for woven fabrics. However, if your pattern calls for knit fabric, you need to stick with knit because the pattern is designed for stretch fabric. You shouldn’t try to substitute woven fabrics for knits. If you’re new to sewing, follow the pattern suggestions until you have more experience.

Sewing Sweater Knit on a Serger - 3 Tips

To gather information on how to sew with sweater knit, go back to my earlier blog post where I share four great tips that will help you create beautiful sweaters. But today, it’s all about the serger. I used the Baby Lock Vibrant Serger to sew my duster and it handled the fabric perfectly. As part of the Genuine Collection, a line of beginner sewing machines, this serger really is a work horse. I’ve sewn quite a few garments with it over the last couple of years and it’s still creating beautiful seams. Now, let’s take a look at three tips for sewing sweater knit on a serger.

Sewing Sweater Knit on a Serger

Tip #1: Cut a 1" Seam Allowance

When cutting your sweater knit fabric, extend your seam allowance to one inch. Using this technique tends to reduce the amount of stretching while stitching. If you’re working with a very stretchy sweater knit, this technique will be especially helpful. Whatever seam allowance your pattern includes, add to that amount to create a 1″ allowance. In the demonstration below, I’m adding 3/8″ to a pattern that includes a 5/8″ seam allowance.

Sewing Sweater Knit on a Serger

Tip #2: Use a 4 or 5 Thread Overlock Stitch

Because sweater knit tends to unravel, it needs more support at the seams and allowances. Therefore, using a 4 or 5 thread overlock stitch is preferable to a 3 thread stitch. Some people like to use a 3-thread overlock stitch to reduce bulk on thicker fabrics, or when sewing garments that fit close to the body.


The 3-thread overlock uses one needle to secure the stitches. The 4-thread overlock uses two needles, providing more protection. The 5-thread overlock uses one needle to create a straight stitch, and a second needle to create a chain stitch. All of these overlock stitches use the upper and lower loopers to secure the seam allowance. I used a 4 thread overlock stitch on my Baby Lock Vibrant Serger to sew my duster.

Sewing Sweater Knit on a Serger

The seams on my duster are very secure and the seam allowances are completely enclosed. Therefore, I don’t have to worry about my seams coming apart during wear or when going through the wash cycle. I will be wearing this duster for a very long time.

Tip #3: Test Stitch the Fabric

As with any other machine, always test your stitches on a scrap piece of the fabric that you will be using for your project. The last thing you want to do is start sewing on your main fabric and find that your stitches are not set properly for the fabric. When working with sweater knit on a serger, I like to test the stitches in three directions: crosswise, vertical (parallel to the selvages), and on the  bias (diagonally). This gives you an idea of how the stitches will perform on the fabric. When testing your stitches, use two layers of fabric, as you will when sewing the garment.

Sewing Sweater Knit on a Serger

Use the tension dials on your serger to make adjustments to the needle and looper threads until you have a stitch that works for your particular fabric. Sweater knits are available in different thicknesses and stretch percentages which may require adjusting the tension dials. I’m able to use the same settings for most of the fabrics I sew on my Baby Lock Vibrant. However, there have been a few times when I’ve had to adjust the dials. It’s very easy to make adjustments because the owner’s manual has pictures and directions to help you pinpoint the necessary changes. 

Sewing Sweater Knit on a Serger
Sewing Sweater Knit on a Serger

Ease Fabric While Sewing

Sweater knits can stretch out of shape as you sew, no matter what type of machine you’re using. I gave you four tips on how to prevent the stretching in my last blog post and YouTube video. However, there’s one tip that bears repeating. When testing your stitches, I recommend easing your fabric through the machine while sewing. This will prevent the presser foot from pulling the fabric across the machine causing it to stretch out of shape. Simply puddle the fabric up in front of the presser foot and allow it to feed the fabric through without pulling.

Sewing Sweater Knit on a Serger

Test all of these tips on a scrap piece of your sweater knit before sewing your project on the serger. Keep testing until you get the desired seam for your particular fabric. Also, make sure you read my post on “4 Tips for Sewing with Sweater Knit.”  Combine those tips with the three I’ve provided here to achieve a great outcome when sewing your sweater on a serger. Follow the link at the end of this post .

Styling Options

The sweater duster will definitely get lots of wear because I can pair it with several pieces I already have in my closet. Here are some fun ways I can change it up with different accessories in the future. And, of course, I must wear it with jeans.

Sewing Sweater Knit on a Serger
Sewing Sweater Knit on a Serger
Sewing Sweater Knit on a Serger
Sewing Sweater Knit on a Serger

So, what do you think? Do you like my duster? Is this something you would sew for yourself? Final questions: Would you try sewing sweater knit on a serger? Do you have a serger?

How about a GIVEAWAY?

Now that I’ve given you three tips on sewing sweater knit with a serger, the team at Baby Lock and I think this is the perfect time for a Christmas gift for someone who’s been wanting a serger.

Baby Lock is donating a Vibrant Serger for me to give away. If you would like a chance to win a new serger, follow the instructions below to enter the drawing.


How to Enter the Drawing

  1. You must be subscribed to my Email Sewing Community. (Link below)
  2. You must be a resident of the United States (Baby Lock shipping rules)
  3. Click the link below (under my signature) to ENTER DRAWING. (use same email address as #1)
  4. 1 entry per person
  5. Deadline to enter is Thursday, December 23rd at 12:00 am PST.

Winner Announced

The winner will be announced on Friday, December 24th, via YouTube. You will be notified by email when the video is available. I will be posting a video about sewing sweater knit with a serger, and the winner’s name will be called during that video. Then, the winner will be contacted via the email used to subscribe to my Email Sewing Community.

Thanks for stopping by,

Remember: When you live in your DESIGN, it is from there that God SHINES! 


Links to Products, Posts & Tutorials

Here are links to products, blog posts, and tutorials I mentioned in this post.

(DISCLAIMER: This list contains some affiliate links. If you click on an affiliate link, I’ll receive a small commission on qualifying purchases. All opinions in this post are my own.)

(DISCLAIMER: This blog post may contain affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission on qualifying purchases. All opinions in this post are my own.)

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This Post Has 54 Comments

  1. Gayle

    You asked about our thoughts on cardigan vs. duster. When I was in college my roommate said a duster is the longer version because “it could dust the floor.” That made sense to me.

  2. Ellen McCaulley

    Love the duster

  3. Theresa

    Absolutely gorgeous duster. Bummed I missed the giveaway . Have a fabulous holiday

  4. Kim fenner

    Gorgeous duster. We just recently started a beginner’s sewing class. Would love to win the machine for the class.

    1. Anita Morris

      Thank you, Kim! Wishing you so much fun and success with your beginner’s sewing class.

  5. Teresa Wilson

    I am a fan after reading this first post from you about your lovely duster! I have decided to try this pattern myself after seeing it on you and what you’ve created. Thank you for the serger ‘sewing with a sweater knit’ tips blog. I have been sewing for a long time, and mostly knits and have had many sergers during my sewing ‘career’ but I haven’t tried a real ‘sweater’ knit. Now, I must!

    1. Anita Morris

      Yaaaaayyy, Teresa! I’m so glad to have you here. Have fun sewing your sweater knit fabrics.

  6. Annette

    Thank you for giving such wonderful details and visuals I learn best this way!

    1. Anita Morris

      Thank you so much, Susan. I agree. it’s a great pattern.

  7. Cathy

    Beautiful sweater

  8. Jennifer

    Love this duster. Beautiful color and details

    1. Anita Morris

      Thank you, Jennifer! I’m glad you like the duster.

  9. Maurine Monson

    Love the red, you look great in it. And YES it is a duster.

  10. Melody Pelton

    I love the duster. You look beautiful. Thank you for the tips for sewing knits.

    1. Naomi

      Yes… I would call it a duster, it’s beautiful and you are fabulous. Your tips on sewing knits are Bert good. My goal is to sew more with knits.

    2. Anita Morris

      You’re very welcome. Thank you for reading, Melody.

  11. Gwendolyn Terrell

    Appreciate the tips! Will certainly try the seam allowance, puddle fabric feed, and 3 directional test stitching.

    1. Anita Morris

      Awesome, Gwendolyn! Have fun sewing with your sweater knit fabric.

  12. LaTisha Porter

    Great read and tips Anita. I sew with knits most of the time. I will be sure to apply the tips that I haven’t been applying. I absolutely love the duster and all of the style options.

    1. Anita Morris

      Hey LaTisha! Awesome! I’m so glad you enjoyed the blog post. I love sewing with knits too.

  13. Emily Augustine

    Beautiful Duster! So inspiring to see the beautiful pieces you create. ❤️

    1. Anita Morris

      Thank you so much, Emily! I’m really happy to hear you get inspired from my posts. ?

  14. Gladys Scott

    Thank you Anita I love that pattern. I sewed the short kimono and it’s nice. I love the one you made. And I would wear a turtleneck with your duster.

    1. Anita Morris

      I love turtlenecks, Gladys! And I will definitely be wearing one with my duster.

  15. Sandra Barnes

    Hi Ms. Anita
    Thanks you sharing your talent and passion with us.
    I am not able to see a link to enter as well.

    1. Anita Morris

      You’re very welcome, Sandra. The links are located under my signature.

  16. Charlene Yarborough

    Oops sm…lol much appreciated!

  17. Charlene Yarborough

    Thank you sew much for tips on sewing knits much are!!

  18. Denice

    Hi Anita,
    Thanks for the tips. I could not find the link to enter in the give away either. Can you let us know where it is?
    Thanks much.

    1. Anita Morris

      Hi Denice. The link is at the bottom of the post with all the other links. Others are entering the drawing, so it’s there, along with the other links.

  19. Ros Reed

    Hi Anita, fabulous as always.

    I did not see the link for the giveaway.


    1. Anita Morris

      Thank you Ros! It’s at the end of the blog post with all the other links.

      1. Ros

        Hi Anita, I finally figured it out. I guess I was too excited over the duster! Sometimes I have to slow down. ☺️? thanks again.

  20. De

    Hi, Anita! Thanks for the tips. Your choice of pattern has given me an idea to update some pieces in my wardrobe. This will be great as a spring “duster” for a sheath dress or a two-piece skirt set. Maybe I can try a sweater knit after the Christmas activities that will be a warm cover-up when I wear jeans. You take sewing to a new level; this is a pattern I would miss. Best to you and Merry Christmas!!

    1. Anita Morris

      Yeeesss, De! This pattern has so much potential. I love all your ideas. We can really do a lot with this pattern.

  21. Peggy

    Hi Anita. Thank u so much for sharing the tips. That duster is beautiful and nice choice of fabric. I have to get an imagination to see beyond the fabric the pattern suggests. If that make sense. Awesome as usual.

    1. Anita Morris

      Thank you, Peggy! Yes, that makes sense. Imagination is what makes it so much fun for me. I envision what it will look like before I even start and that gets me all excited while I’m sewing.

  22. Dorothy

    Hello Anita, I will be trying the pattern soon. You look gorgeous as always in the duster outfit. Thanks for the tips. Hoping to win that serger mind need to be replace. Anita thank you for all the tips and useful information that you give to all. I can always learn new ways of sewing. Thank you again and may God continue to bless you.

    1. Anita Morris

      You’re very welcome, Dorothy. I’m glad you found the tips helpful. Wishing you luck on winning the serger.

  23. Thomasine

    Looking forward to win that serger. I have been wanting to get back to sewing garments. All your tips so very helpful.

    1. Anita Morris

      Good luck, Thomasine! It’s an amazing machine.

  24. Pat B

    I have been wanting to get back into garment sewing and all of your tips are so good. Gorgeous duster and model. Thank you so much for sharing your talents.

    1. Anita Morris

      You’re very welcome, Pat. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the tips.

  25. FLOR

    I have been waiting for the right price on a serger

    1. Anita Morris

      Hi Flor! I wish you much luck in winning the serger.

  26. Michelle

    You are amazing and so many “little” tips have made such a difference in my lame projects!

    1. Anita Morris

      Awesome, Michelle! I’m so glad you’re finding the tips helpful. Happy Sewing!