Struggling with Sewing Stretch Fabrics? Let’s Help You!

Stretch fabrics are a versatile and popular choice for clothing, accessories and home decor items. They are comfortable to wear and move in and they can be used to create a variety of different styles. Nevertheless, sewing with stretch fabrics can be challenging, especially for beginners. In our many years of teaching, this seems to be ne of the top fears unlocked by a lot of new sewist, your sewing journey doesn’t have to be that serious LOL.. that’s we are here to help you alleviate the fear. 

What to consider when sewing with stretch fabrics:

  • Choose the right needle and thread. When sewing with stretch fabrics, it is important to use a stretch needle and thread. Stretch needles are designed to pierce the fabric without damaging it, and stretch threads are designed to stretch with the fabric.
  • Adjust the tension on your sewing machine. The tension on your sewing machine should be slightly looser than when sewing with woven fabrics. This will help to prevent the fabric from puckering.
  • Use a stretch stitch. There are a variety of stretch stitches available on most sewing machines. Some of the most common stretch stitches include the zigzag stitch, the triple stitch, and the honeycomb stitch. You want to avoid straight stitches on stretch fabrics as this will pop once the fabric starts stretching
  • Don’t pull the fabric as you sew. Pulling the fabric can cause it to stretch out and distort your seams. Instead, let the fabric feed through the sewing machine naturally.
  • Use a serger (optional). A serger is a specialized sewing machine that can sew, trim, and finish seams all at once. Sergers are ideal for sewing with stretch fabrics, but they are not essential.

There are different types of stretch fabrics and we have put together some tips for sewing specific types :

  • Knits: Knits are a type of stretch fabric that is made from interlocking loops of yarn. Knits are often used to make clothing, such as t-shirts, leggings, and sweaters. When sewing knits, it is important to use a ballpoint needle and a stretch stitch. 
  • Jersey: Jersey is a type of knit fabric that is made from fine cotton yarn. Jersey is often used to make clothing, such as t-shirts, dresses, and skirts. When sewing a jersey, it is important to use a ballpoint and a stretch stitch. 
  • Spandex: Spandex is a type of synthetic fiber that is very stretchy. Spandex is often used to make clothing, such as swimwear, activewear, and leggings. When sewing spandex, it is important to use a stretch needle and a stretch stitch. You should not stretch the fabric as you sew to prevent puckering.

Here are some additional tips that may be helpful:

  • Prewash your fabric. Stretch fabrics can shrink, so it’s important to prewash them before you start sewing. This will help to prevent your finished project from shrinking after you sew it.
  • Cut your fabric carefully. When cutting stretch fabrics, it’s important to use sharp scissors and to cut in the direction of the greatest stretch. This will help to prevent the fabric from fraying.
  • Pin your fabric carefully. When pinning stretch fabrics, it’s important to use sharp pins and to pin perpendicular to the seam line. This will help to prevent the fabric from puckering.
  • Use a stretch presser foot (optional). A stretch presser foot helps to feed stretch fabrics through the sewing machine smoothly. It’s not essential, but it can be helpful.

No matter what you are sewing, stretch fabrics can help you to create professional and durable results. With a little practice, you will be able to sew with stretch fabrics like a pro!

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