Tips for Sewing Stretch Material

Written by gail delaney
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Tips for Sewing Stretch Material
Stretchy material doesn't unravel at the seams. (sewing image by pncphotos from

You can sew almost anything out of stretchy material. Clothing and blankets are two examples. Stretch material doesn’t unravel at the seams like cotton fabrics do. If you don't stitch carefully, the seams on stretch material can pucker or cause the top and bottom fabric to sew unevenly.

Stabilise with Thin Tissue Paper

Stabilise the fabric before you sew to avoid wavy seams. This can be done by placing thin tissue paper on top and beneath the material that you need to sew. The thin tissue paper is light enough to sew through. Simply tear the tissue paper away after the seams are sewn.

Spray with Starch

Spray the fabric with starch to keep it from stretching. Allow the starch to dry before you begin sewing. Always spray a scrap piece of material first to test. You don’t want the starch to stain your fabric.

Adhesive Tape

Glue adhesive tape onto the fabric. Put the tape along the exterior edge of the fabric along your seam line. Stitch next to the tape toward the interior of the fabric.

Sew with a Ball-Point Needle

Sew with ballpoint needle in the machine. A blunt ballpoint needle will push the threads of the fabric aside instead of cutting through the fabric.

Right-Sized Needle

Choose the right size needle for the weight of your material. Sew with an 11/80 needle for lightweight stretch material, 14/100 for medium-weight fabric and 16/110 needle for heavy material.

Don't Stretch Or Pull Fabric

Sew the stretch fabric pieces slowly. Do not push or pull the fabric as you sew because this will stretch the material and cause the fabric to pucker.

Adjust Feed Dogs

Adjust the feed dogs according to the manufacturer’s manual. Different weight fabrics require more pressure to go through. Lightweight fabrics require more pressure than heavy fabrics. Test on scrap material first to see which setting sews better.

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