How to Sew Stretch Fabric by Hand – Step-by-Step Guide
Last Updated: Apr 31, 2021
Have you ever tried sewing fabric that has a great amount of stretch? It can be difficult. The fabric will often get hung up on the machine needle, and it is hard to tell how much tension you should use when sewing with this type of material.
When sewing stretch fabric by hand, you can use either a straight stitch or a zigzag stitch. The former is preferable for seams that must be very strong and the latter when the seam need not be as strong.
In this article, I’ll share some tips on how to sew stretch fabric by hand in order to help make your job easier!
When you’re sewing with fabric that has some kind of built-in elasticity, things can get tricky. Fabric often gets hung up on the machine needle, which causes frustration at best! When this happens, we need to know how much tension to use when sewing with this type of fabric. Oh! In case you don’t know, let me list some stretch fabrics for you –
We prefer polyester because of its inherent elasticity. This thread can stretch with the fabric.
Cotton thread is a big red flag. Because it’s so much less elastic than polyester, it can easily snap when pulled.
You need to go for ballpoint needles like the ones from Dritz. But, why though? Well, ballpoint needles are the best choice for sewing with stretch fabrics because they have rounded tips. They won’t snag or break your fabric’s yarn as a sharp needle will. As the stretch fabrics have inherent flexing property, the sewing thread will glide smoothly in-between the knitting stitches.
For lightweight or tightly knitted fabrics, you can choose stretch needles as well.
Undoubtedly, zig-zag stitches. Try to make the stitches longer. That way, the stitches will stretch with the fabric smoothly.
A straight stitch is a row of stitches that are all in the same direction. When sewing stretch fabric, since the fabric has some give to it, you want to make sure your stitching follows with those natural lines of movement and not be against them. Straight stitches can cause puckering or rippling when used on fabrics that have any amount of stretch.
If you’re dealing with single jersey fabrics, you can use cornstarch to stiffen it up. Because single jersey knits have a tendency to curl at the edges, which may seem problematic to you when sewing by hands.
Choose the needle and sewing thread according to the recommendations made in the previous sections.
Place the fabric with the wrong side up. Position your needle, maintaining at least 1/2 inch of the seam allowance.
Start sewing in zig-zag patterns, keeping stitch length a bit longer than usual. As you stitch, don’t apply extra tension to the sewing thread. Rather, try to keep the stretch fabric in its relaxed form.
Finish your stitching at least an inch away from where you started. Cut off any excess threads or fabric pieces with sharp scissors.
Before signing off, we must tell you that it’s way easier to sew this type of fabric using a sewing machine rather than using your hand. Especially the finishing on the sewing machine looks way more professional. And the fabric and yarn tension during sewing is much easier to manage in an industrial sewing machine.
Anyways, hope you have gotten your answer on how to sew stretch fabric by hand. Remember, when you are using your motor skills, it takes time to perfect any art. So, be patient with your approach, and you’ll able to master it completely.