Several useful tips for sewing stretch fabrics
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  • Sewing Tips
  • Posted May 16, 2016
Several useful tips for sewing stretch fabrics

Basics of Sewing Stretch Fabric

Basics of Sewing Stretch Fabric

Beginners or first timers in sewing stretch fabrics can be a scary thought if you think about it. The fabric can be really hard to get the correct measurements and you might be afraid to get it wrong once you start sewing. These are common concerns that although are true, it doesn’t really mean that it’s too difficult to learn the basics of sewing stretch fabric.

A general idea on sewing together a stretchy garment would be to use sewing techniques that will not affect the stretchiness of the material. I will be discussing sewing techniques that will work when working with a sensitive textile.


Serger and/or overlock stitches will be a good way to start when you’re working on the seams of your garment. Aside from being a decorative type of sewing technique, it allows you to work through the fabric in one step with overlocking, cutting, and the finish in just one run. The technique also allows some leeway for the fabric to stretch out.

Another alternative is the zigzag stitch. With your sewing machine follow a zigzag technique on the seams you are working on. The shape of the thread running on the seam will give the fabric more freedom to stretch once you’re done.

Finishing the edges of a stretchable garments isn’t really required in most types of jobs. Unless, you’re trying to make a sweater, you won’t really need to worry about fraying when you’re working on stretch fabrics.

There are a lot of sewers who buy machines with stretch fabric sewing function and they praise it for the ease. However, it doesn’t mean that this sewing machine specific function can add more quality in the process and the result. Find the pattern you like to use and use it when you are sewing together seams.


Sewers also get concerned when it’s time to apply hemming techniques on stretchy fabrics. I’m telling you it’s not that hard. Basic techniques like double needle and the zig zag stitch are great ways to finish up the job.

The double needle technique as the name suggests uses to needles to finish the hem of the garment. Not many people try it out because they’re afraid of messing it up. However, it is not that hard to apply this type of stitching technique.

You just use a normal sewing machine but instead of using one needle you connect an additional needle to the machine plus you should use 2 different thread spools. Once you’re done, start the machine up and thread on the hem.

For you to be able to finish up the hem, the top stitch should be performed on the right side of the cloth. Wider hems might give you problem when using a machine because the measurements on the machine may not be able to accommodate the entire garment.

It is here when you have to use a sewing guide to be able to properly stitch up your fabric. Some sewers use a piece of masking tape as a marker. There are those who use other sticky items as a guide. Whatever method you use, you must make sure you have a guide that allows you to run the sewing machine through the hem correctly.

You can also go back and use the zig zag technique to stitch up the hem if you think the double needle is too advanced. Doing the zig zag pattern as a top stitch should be good enough to allow some stretch on the hem of the garment you’re working on.

If you think my advice is useful, try it out by buying your first stretch fabric and making it into a dress or skirt. This is an easy enough start to build up your confidence as you add to your sewing techniques and improve your sewing skills.


Kathy is fashion and lifestyle writer who has recently earned interest in sewing her own clothes. Writing for Sewing Ideas gives her another avenue to express her experiences and learning in her sewing journey.

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