Sewing Stretchy Fabric

Tips from the ThriftyFun community for sewing stretchy fabric without warping.

Use Tissue Paper

Have you tried sewing with tissue paper? Sandwich the fabric inside the paper, the feed dogs will not stretch the paper. Once the seam is sewed, you just have to rip the paper off. You only need a narrow strip, maybe 2 inches wide.


By Lois

Stretch The Fabric While Sewing

Be careful. If you don't stretch the fabric a bit while sewing, you will find that the stitches break when the fabric stretches while being worn.

By Sue

Adjust Pressure

You should be able to adjust the presser foot pressure. Check your machine manual. For lightweight fabric - more pressure and for heavy fabric - less pressure. Play with different settings to see what works best. A teflon coated presser foot will also help some fabrics glide through easier. Also try lightly steaming and pressing the seam after sewing to shrink the stretching back to normal. Sometimes this helps with certain fabrics.

By Michelle

Use Ball Point Needles

Make sure you are using a ball point needle and loosen the tension of your pressure foot. Tissue paper also helps.


Helpful Tip: Make sure the package says ball point needles. I once asked the sales person to give me needles for stretch fabric. She gave me universal needles. My daughter made it for the last dance to her Jr. prom because I had so many problems trying to sew with the universal needles. After the event, I purchased ball point needles and they glided through the material like silk. That was an experience that both my daughter and I will never forget.

By Joanne

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By Anna from Maine (Guest Post)
June 13, 20070 found this helpful

I always use a walking foot and a narrow zig-zag stitch when sewing on knits. I make lots of panties and this works great and no broken stitches from stretching.

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June 14, 20070 found this helpful

You definitely need the right needles. I also use a special stretch stitch on my machine to keep the stiches from breaking. Finally, I find that using an "even feed foot" on my machine really helps. It is a presser foot that has feed dogs on the top to feed fabric smoothly through the machine, not allowing the bottom to move through faster than the top piece of fabric.


(Works great with plaids or any fabric that you must match too.) Some machines have an even feed foot that rolls to grip the top layer of fabric. This looks different than mine, but works on the same principle.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By jenny (Guest Post)
September 23, 20080 found this helpful

your post was so helpful! thank you for all the information and keep it up!

<3 jenny

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

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