Sewing School // 3 Tips for Sewing with Stretch Fabric
If I am honest I avoided projects that require knit (or stretchy) fabric for quite a long time. I was nervous about it. I didn't want to add an extra complication into my projects. I was a pretty competent sewer before I braved them at all and then totally messed it up (I didn't then know the 3 things I am about to tell you). But recently I have made a few things from stretchy fabric and I have had much more success. I found them so easy I don't know what all the fuss was about before. In fact I now love these items most out of all the clothes I have made for myself so far. I want to share with you the few tips of sewing with stretch fabric, because really there is nothing to worry about.
Number 1 // Use A Ballpoint Needle
If you want to have any success sewing with some stretch fabric, you will need to invest in a ball point needle for your sewing machine. These inexpensive, less pointy needles are designed so that they will push through the spaces in the threads of your fabric rather than making a new hole, this prevents your fabric from having little holes all the way along the seams, something you definitely won't want.
Number 2 // Sew With a Zigzag Stitch
On a normal sewing machine, a straight line of stitching won't stretch. If you do this on a stretchy fabric then you are fighting a losing battle, the fabric will stretch but the seams won't. To overcome this you can simply sew with a Zigzag stitch instead. This way your seams have the same flexibility as your fabric. There are other stitches that work too but a Zigzag stitch is the simplest.
Number 3 // Don't Stretch the Fabric as you Sew
When you feed your fabric into a sewing machine, the fabric will be pulled through automatically. When you are sewing with stretchy fabric this can mean it stretches on its way in unintentionally. This results in a really uneven edge- bummer. To avoid this try and hold your fabric up level with the needle and feed it in with you hands. It is actually pretty easy to do this once you have had a little bit of practice, so just test it out on a sample bit first.
These three things are the only 'rules' for sewing with knits. But there is something else I would say if you are only just learning. Look out for something that is not too stretchy. This is kinda tricky if you are buying your fabric online. But next week when I start going through how to make a stretchy circle skirt I am going to talk about what kinds of fabric to look for for your first few stretchy sewing projects, why not have a go with me? Zoe x