Sewing Stretch Fabrics

hi I'm Wendy from shiny happy worldcom and today I'm going to show you some tips on working with knit fabrics or stretch fabrics I don't have a serger so everything that I get show you is going to be tips and tricks that you can use with any sewing machine let's get to it so most t-shirt fabric only stretches in one direction this one stretches this way if you turn it the other way you'll see that it has very little stretch in the other direction and that's pretty common what I want to do is show you some different stitches that you can use to make your seam go along that stretch so that your seam will have some stretch too the first thing I'm going to do is just stitch a line with a regular stitch nothing fancy just a straight stitch so this is the same stitch that you would use for any cotton or non stretchy fabric and you'll notice that there's not much give in there you just lost a lot of the stretch my machine has a stretch stitch on there so I'm going to reset it to the stretch stitch and you'll see when I start to sew that it the feed dogs are going to feed the fabric back and forth and that gives it the magic that makes it a stretchy seen so here we go with that and see it's starting to go it goes a couple of stitches forward and then a stitch back a couple forwards and it one back it's probably enough of that so we'll pull that out I'll hold that up so you can see that now that you'll see it's a thicker stitch because it gets actually stitched over twice and it has a lot more stretch it's going to be a much stronger seen because of the extra stitching and it's also going to give a lot more than this seam here now if your machine does not have a stretch stitch you can still sew on stretchy fabrics what I'm going to do is sew it with a zig zag when you have a zig-zag stitch you can make adjustments to the width of the stitch and also to the length of the stitch so what I've done is a pretty narrow stitch because I don't want to have a big wide zigzag in here so I've got a fairly narrow stitch and also a fairly long one it'll give you a little bit more stretch but your seam won't be quite as smooth it really just depends on what you're doing but here is get that under the light better here is a slightly zigzag here it's a little bit wider and it's got a lot of stretch to it one more thing that I didn't talk about yet but it's really really important is that you need to use a stretch needle when you're sewing knits it's got a rounded end so it kind of finds its way through any fabrics that you're stitching this will keep if you try and sew stretch fabrics with a regular needle you're going to have your thread breaking a lot and you're also going to it's just not going to work you're going to skip a lot of stitches it's going to be messy and you're probably going to swear a lot so make sure you switch that out to a stretch needle and it will make all the difference in the world so that's a couple of tips on sewing with stretch fabric with a regular sewing machine remember that I don't have a serger so I do all of my stretch sewing on a regular sewing machine the number one most important thing to remember is to use a stretch needle that will make all the difference in the world you really cannot do it without a stretch needle it's kind of a disaster the other thing to think about is what stitch you want to use you can use a regular stitch the same kind of stitch you would use on cotton fabrics you can use that on knit fabrics but remember that's going to take the stretch away so for example don't use it around the bottom of a t-shirt that you're going to need to stretch to get on because those seams are going to pop I do use a regular seam line a regular stitch when I'm sewing softies because I don't want those seams to stitch I don't want the softie to get distorted when I stuff it so I'll use a regular non stretchy seam when I'm sewing those together if you're sewing clothing pretty much everything that you sow you're going to want to stretch because those are designed those patterns for knitting are designed to have stretch on all of those seams so for that if your machine has a stretch stitch you're going to want to use that stretch stitch but if your machine does not have a stretch stitch just use a zig-zag stitch and you want to make it kind of a flat and long zigzag a longer like low wide mountains so that's it I'm Wendy from shiny happy world see you next time


  1. KaiKAI Alexander

    I wish i had looked this information up 3 days ago.. šŸ™„. Everything you said even about the swearing. Lol. Thank you so much for this. Im Omw to get the needles now. This is about to save me a lot of headaches..

  2. Ifas safi

    Dear Wendi, I know my question on this subject is 8 years too late, but I hope you or someone else reading here will answer it. How about thread tension dealing with stretch fabrics? Can you do a tutorial on plus and minus tension for different fabrics, please! I could probably find a video relating tension, but you have a very neat way of tutoring. If u already have a tutorial on the subject, please show me the link. Thank you for your service šŸ™‚

  3. YuckyPickles

    I'm a DIY tinkerer for just about anything. Not a whole lot of repairs I can't do on home car…anything. I'm going to make my own motorcycle cover with the Spandex-like material. Your video has convinced me I can now attempt sewing one together. Thanks so much!

  4. Becky P

    Wish I saw this video when I made a wrap dress out of a super stretchy thin knit a few years back! I tried tissue paper, a walking foot, and many other tricks to keep my thin knit from being sucked into the machine, and dealt with the thread breaking every 30 seconds. That indeed had me screaming swear words lol! I didn't realize it was probably just the wrong needle. I went through an entire pack of them though! Found this video because I was thinking of trying to sew knit again. I',ll try to buy some of both needles this time. Thank you.

  5. lisalu910

    Well you can't use this on ANY sewing machine, as you said. Your method requires a sewing machine with a stretch stitch and all machines don't have that.

  6. zutarafan4ever

    To sew knit fabrics I need a stretch needle, but what about stretch thread. Is there a difference between it and regular thread aside from the obvious?


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