These are some stitches used for sewing knits on a conventional sewing machine.

”4-stretches”

On my machine I have to flip some of the stitches horizontally to get the main stitching line on the left.

Notice the main stitching line of these stretch stitches is at the edge of the stitch.
So, to get the stitching in the right place, the centre of the presser foot needs to be to the right of the seam line.

Here are the easiest settings to use for doing this :

Set the stitch width to 6 or 6.5.
(5 mm if this is the widest stitch your machine can do.)

6 and 6.5 mm are a smidgen either side of 1/4”.
So the middle of the stitch is 1/8” from its edge.
To get the main stitching line on the seam line, and the rest of the stitch in the seam allowance, the centre of the presser foot needs to be 1/8” to the right of the seam line.

”overcast”
(red line marks centre of presser foot)

As we usually sew relative to the edge of the fabric, this means :

pattern with 5/8” seam allowances :
keep the centre of the presser foot 1/2” from the edge of the fabric.

pattern with 1/2” seam allowances :
keep the centre of the presser foot 3/8” from the edge of the fabric.

pattern with 3/8” seam allowances :
keep the centre of the presser foot 1/4” from the edge of the fabric.

Takes a bit of explaining and getting your head round, but get in the habit of using these settings and you won’t have to think about it again :
Stitch width : 6 or 6.5
Presser foot 1/2″ from edge of fabric (for 5/8″ s/as).

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Does this matter ?

If you sew with the centre of the presser foot on the seam line, this makes the stitching line 1/8″ to the left of the seam line.
1/8” taken off each side seam of a top or pant leg reduces the total size by 1/2”.
Not important perhaps on a loose fit tee or sweat shirt and pants.

Won’t have much effect when sewing a ‘front-back-sleeve set in flat’ top, or ‘front-back-cut on waist casing’ bottom.
But styles with more pattern pieces assume the stitching line is in a particular place. If it isn’t, the pattern pieces won’t match up together properly.

And on a skin-fit tee, or a garment with negative ease such as a leotard or swimsuit, making it even a little smaller may make it very uncomfortable or even impossible to get on.

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This is just one point about using a conventional machine to sew knit fabrics.
Here’s a post with main links to guidance on sewing knits with a standard sewing machine.

That post has tips for making samples, to choose the right stitch for your fabric.
Good luck with gaining confidence in sewing knits without needing a serger/overlocker.

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