Sewing Machine Not Sewing Stretchy Fabric?

I have a Janome 2200xt, and have had it for 2 years now. I am trying to sew stretchy fabric. I have bought the correct needles and am using the correct setting. The needle is moving just fine, but it's not actually sewing. If I do the same thing on broadcloth to test it sews the fabric, but after adjusting and checking things several times I still can't seem to have it work when tested on my stretchy fabric.


I don't know what I'm doing wrong/what's wrong, can anyone help me out?

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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
August 26, 20180 found this helpful

Make sure you have fresh thread. Also make sure you have the correct size ball-point needle. Try sewing with tissue paper under the fabric and see if that helps. You tear the fabric away when you are done

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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 196 Feedbacks
August 27, 20180 found this helpful

When I first sewed with the stretchy fabrics in the 1960s, they made me nuts. First thing I learned was that if I didn't cut the fabric the correct way, it was almost impossible to my first question is is it cut right with the grain? I was always taught your fabric should be cut with the item pattern so the direction of greatest stretch will go across your body and that would make it easier to stitch.


Sounds like you have the right you could always try a fresh needle...just in case...although if it works on another fabric, you should be OK.

Then I was taught, to always buy the right thread...some threads just do not work with stretchy fabrics...I haven't sewn stretchies in a while so I have lost track of brand ask at the fabric store what they recommend.

As Judy says, tissue works or wax paper works (waxy side away from fabric). It helps it move through easier. Always pull the pins out before they get to the presser foot...that seemed to help with the stretchy fabric also...esp. if you were using paper backing--the pin just made it too thick and bulky to go under the foot.

Sometimes the getting started part is it will bunch and if you can try to move the wheel forward (and backward) and take a few stitches manually to get it to catch, then use the petal, once you get it going, if you keep it slow (hand on top and hand on bottom of fabric to guide and keep it flat, it usually will move along. It is painstaking...but worth it. As you go, when it bunches. Leave the needle in, carefully straighten it out, maybe increase or reduce your hand tension on how you are guiding and continue.


Hope this helps! Good luck!!

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Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 949 Feedbacks
September 3, 20180 found this helpful

Sewing stretchy is probably the trickiest thing you can do with a sewing machine so I can definitely understand your frustration.
If everything else is correct then it is possible that simply using tissue paper will solve your problem.

  • Sometimes when we think we have done everything right we reread something that says "maybe I need to recheck".
  • This question (on many different machines) is asked quite often so check out some of the answers that have been given in the past.
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  • This site also has some excellent information from beginning to end of sewing this type of fabric.
  • I do not know if you still have your manual but it has very specific instructions on how to set your machine. Here is a link to download a copy if you do not have yours.
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