Working with stretchy fabric can be both exciting and challenging for sewers. These fabrics, often used for garments like activewear, dancewear, or form-fitting clothing, require different techniques and considerations compared to non-stretch fabrics.
Tips for Sewing Stretchy Fabric
1. Use a Stretch Needle
When sewing stretchy fabrics like knits or spandex, it’s important to use a stretch needle. These needles have a rounded tip and a special scarf which helps prevent skipped stitches and fabric damage. Regular sewing needles may cause the fabric to pucker or even tear.
2. Use a Stretch Stitch
Most sewing machines have a stretch stitch option, such as a zigzag or lightning bolt stitch. This type of stitch allows the fabric to stretch without breaking the thread. Using a stretch stitch ensures that your seams will endure the strain of movement without popping.
3. Opt for a Twin Needle
For hems or topstitching on stretchy fabric, consider using a twin needle. This specialty needle sews two parallel lines of stitching simultaneously, while the bobbin thread creates a zigzag pattern on the underside. This technique creates a flexible and professional-looking finish.
4. Choose the Right Thread
Selecting the appropriate thread is crucial for sewing stretchy fabrics. Polyester or nylon threads work well with stretch materials due to their elasticity. Avoid using cotton thread, as it is less flexible and may break under stress.
5. Test Stitches and Tensions
Before sewing your final project, it’s crucial to test different stitches and thread tensions on scrap fabric. Experiment with different settings until you achieve a seam that is both secure and flexible. This will give you confidence when sewing the actual garment.
6. Use Pins or Clips Sparingly
Instead of relying solely on pins for holding fabric together, consider using fabric clips or even basting stitches. Stretchy fabric can easily be distorted by too many pins or by pinning with excessive pressure. Clips or basting stitches offer a more secure hold without stretching the fabric.
7. Stay Patient and Take Breaks
Sewing stretchy fabric can sometimes be frustrating, especially when troubleshooting issues like skipped stitches or uneven seams. Remember to stay patient and take breaks when needed. Stretch fabrics can require more attention, so it’s essential to sew with a clear and relaxed mindset.
Sewing stretchy fabric opens up a world of possibilities for creating comfortable and stylish garments. By using the right tools, techniques, and mindset, you’ll be able to successfully navigate the challenges associated with working with stretch fabrics. With practice and patience, you’ll soon master the art of sewing stretchy fabrics like a pro!