sewing-stretch-fabrics.jpg” alt=”Woman sewing stretch fabric” style=”width: 100%; max-width: 500px”>
Sewing stretch fabrics can be a little more challenging than sewing regular woven fabrics due to their stretchiness. However, with the right techniques and tools, you can create beautiful and comfortable garments from stretchy materials. Whether you are working with jersey, spandex, or knit fabrics, this article will guide you through the process of sewing stretch fabrics successfully.
Choosing the Right Needle and Thread
When sewing stretch fabrics, it is crucial to choose the right needle and thread for the job. A ballpoint or stretch needle is recommended as it glides smoothly through the fabric without damaging the delicate fibers. Additionally, a polyester thread with some stretch will be best suited for stretch fabrics as it ensures the stitches won’t break when the fabric stretches.
Using the Correct Stitch
Selecting the correct stitch is essential when sewing stretch fabrics. The stretch stitch or zigzag stitch is particularly suitable as it allows the seams to stretch without breaking. This stitch prevents the threads from snapping when the fabric expands or contracts. It is worth adjusting your sewing machine to use this stitch and familiarize yourself with its settings.
Preventing Fabric Stretch
Stretch fabrics tend to pull and distort easily, making it challenging to maintain accurate measurements and shapes. To prevent this, it is advisable to use stabilizers when working with stretchy materials. Stabilizers, such as a lightweight fusible interfacing or stay tape, can be applied along the seams or edges to reinforce the fabric and retain its shape during the sewing process.
Handling and Cutting Stretch Fabrics
Stretch fabrics can be slippery and require careful handling during cutting and sewing. To ease the process, it is recommended to lay the fabric flat on a cutting surface and use pattern weights or pins to secure it in place. When cutting, use sharp scissors or a rotary cutter to ensure clean edges. To prevent the fabric from shifting, you can also place tissue paper between the layers or use pattern weights.
Selecting the Right Seam Finish
Choosing the appropriate seam finish helps maintain the durability and professional appearance of stretch garments. Options such as the serger/overlock stitch, zigzag stitch, or a mock flat-felled seam are well-suited for stretch fabrics. These finishes prevent fraying and allow the seams to stretch without popping. Experiment with different finish options to find the one that works best for your fabric and desired outcome.
Using the Correct Tension and Foot Pressure
Adjusting your sewing machine’s tension and foot pressure is crucial when sewing stretch fabrics. Test your machine’s tension settings on a scrap piece of fabric to ensure it makes an even and secure stitch without causing any puckering. Additionally, reducing the foot pressure can help the fabric feed more smoothly through the machine, preventing unnecessary stretching or distortion.
Sewing stretch fabrics opens up a world of possibilities for creating comfortable and versatile garments. By choosing the right needle and thread, using the correct stitch, preventing fabric stretch, handling and cutting the fabric carefully, selecting the right seam finish, and adjusting tension and foot pressure, you can successfully work with stretch fabrics and achieve fantastic results. Embrace the potential of stretch fabrics and let your creativity soar!