I'm so happy that there seems to be a surge of interest in sewing with knit fabric. We even shared about my sister making a pair of campan knit leggings as her second sewing project with no serger. Gasp! No serger! When I first started out I thought you had to have one to sew knits, I wish I'd had someone to encourage and educate me about such mis-guided notions.
The first two things I want to stress with regard to sewing knits are:
You CAN be a beginner sewist (sewer, seamstress – don't get hung up on the term).
You DO NOT have to have a serger.
Past that some general knit sewing basics are:
*pre-wash your fabric, then wash it again if you're really worried about shrinakage
*use a ball point needle
*consider using ball point pins (it makes sense, but I don't always do it)
*don't stretch your fabric as you sew
*use a stretch stitch (consult your user manual if your not sure which is which) zig-zag or stretch zig zag are both good choices for the sewing machine. Your regular 3 or 4 thread overlock is fine on a serger.
That's it in a nutshell.
One of the "things" about Jersery knits is that the cut ends curl up. Sometimes a little curl sometimes alot. This can be frustrating especially when you need to use every last inch of your fabric or when your trying to smooth it out and keep it straight. Let me offer you this:
Take your cut ends and serge (or sew on your machine) them together. A narrow 3 thread (serger) or medium to long straight stitch will do, you're not worried about the seam staying together forever. Just long enough to pre-wash your fabric.
fabric re-oriented so that the 2 cut ends are together
cut ends serged together
Wash and dry your bundle of fabric.
Back at your sewing table you'll trim off your stitching and you'll be left with flat edges. One note about that, if you're not planning on using the fabric straight away fold it up and store it as is because over time the edges will roll. You also have the added benefit of fabric that hasn't been distorted by the washers agitation, as sometimes happens. The down side of this is that you'll loose a little of your length, the upside is that you'll spend a lot less time fiddling with rolled edges.