How to Sew Stretch Fabrics

People often think that they can't sew stretch fabrics with their regular sewing machines. Actually, all you need is a regular zigzag stitch and straight stitch! Here's the technique Jeanne has been teaching since the early 80's:

  1. First, baste your pieces with a regular zigzag stitch (medium width, approximately 10 stitches per inch). VERY IMPORTANT: "ZIG" on the fabric and "ZAG" in the air as you can see in the video.
  2. Sew a straight stitch (again, regular length - not too long or too short). As you can see, she bar tacks at the beginning and then STRETCH THE FABRIC GENTLY as she goes. This way, the fabric keeps pretty much it's original stretch.
  3. This step is optional, but will reinforce your seam. It's another straight stitch, right over the first one. You have to stretch the fabric again, just like you did the first time:

It's as simple as that! Here you can see that our "regular machine stitch" has as enough stretch as the serger stitch. Before you make your first swimsuit for yourself or a skating dress for a loved one, take some fabric and practice the technique so you know how much you have to pull to have a nice stretchy seam :)

Happy sewing!


Anonymous said…
Thanks for the very clear instructions and video, you guys always have the moste innovative construction techniques!!
Dani Legge said…
Hi Emilie, I only just saw your message on my was in a very odd place...and of course you can put my pics of Jalie 3028 wherever you want. Hopefully I will get a photo of it being worn which I can pass on to you. Sorry for the delay in getting back to you cheers Dani ( in Australia),
Anonymous said…
Good suggestions, but wondering when your next ste of new patterns will be coming out?
Anonymous said…
I keep checking on the blog for a preview of the new patterns. Any hope of see them soon?
Trisha said…
I just found Jalie patterns recently, and am anxiously awaiting my Scarf-Collar Top! This is a great video! I love sewing knits with my regular machine, but have never done it quite like this. I will try this next time. Thanks!
Nikki said…
Thank you for this video! Very helpful and quick, the way I like 'em!

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