How To Sew Stretch Fabric? Tips And Tricks You May Count

You may wonder, why do you need to learn sewing, especially for stretch fabrics? It doesn’t matter if you are an experienced sewer or a newbie; you need to know some tricks to handle stretch fabrics. 

Stretch fabrics are different because they stretch in different directions, unlike other materials. Other fabrics remain stiff, but stretch fabrics don’t. This makes it challenging for any sewer to stitch. But don’t worry, this article will help you learn how to sew stretch fabric.

Here you go. 

What is a Stretch Fabric?

Stretch fabrics are the fabrics that stretch. It is made of plastic fibres like lycra, elastane, spandex, etc. 

Types of Stretch Fabric

There are two types of stretch fabrics:

  • 2-way stretch fabric: This fabric stretches in two ways.
  • 4-way stretch fabric: This fabric stretches in four ways, both crosswise and lengthwise. 

Ways of Sewing Stretch Fabric

Stretch fabrics are also known as knit fabrics, which are quick to sew. But most sewers find it difficult to sew stretch fabric because they are not as stiff as woven fabric. But sewing a stretch fabric is not as challenging as they seem. 

The following steps will help you walk through the step-by-step guide on sewing stretch fabric.

i. Prewash your Fabric

After selecting your desired fabric, ensure you prewash the fabric before stitching. It is because stretch fabrics shrink a lot. Many of them shrink up to even 10%. So to avoid any inconvenience in your finished product, make sure you prewash the fabric. 

ii. Use soap slivers for marking

Always use soap slivers for making a stretch fabric. Soap slivers walk fluently over the material, and the fabric doesn’t bunch up when you draw a line. 

iii. Use a rotary cutter

It may sound strange that you use a rotary cutter to cut your fabric. But believe it or not, a rotary cutter gives the best results. Yes, you can use scissors or fabric shears, but you will fail to get a fine cutting. Moreover, the fabric bunches up while cutting with these tools. 

iv. Use stabilizers to add strength

It is crucial to add strength while sewing a piece of stretch fabric. It is because of the edges of a stretch fabric curl.

To prevent this, it is essential to add strength in certain areas. You can use fusible interfacing or a starch spray to strengthen the edges. 

v. Never use pins

The best way to keep your fabric from twisting out of shape is to baste it along the hemline. You can also use clips for the same. But never use pins. Pins damage your fabric, creating visible holes and will ruin the beauty of your work. 

vi. Do not stretch while sewing

Stretch fabrics go out of shape if you stretch them. However, they return to their original size once they are released. But the same things don’t happen if you stretch them while sewing. Because after sewing the fabric, it will not be able to return to its original position, giving it a distorted shape. 

If your seam gets stretched, you can make it shrink by running hot iron steam over it. 

vii. Using the correct needle

As a sewer, you might know that your selection of needles depends on the type of fabric you are dealing with. 

For loosely woven knit or sweater fabrics, you must use a ballpoint needle better known as jersey needles. Their rounded point helps to sew through the fabric efficiently. 

Similarly, for a stretch fabric, you must use a stretch needle. Stretch needles have a pointed tip with a higher eye. 

Making stitches using this needle helps the stitches stretch with the fabric. 

viii. Go for straight stitch

Since your fabric stretches, your stitch also needs to stretch with the material. And for a stretch stitch, a straight stitch will not work. A bit of zigzag stitch performs pretty well in this case. 

Set your machine for a straight stitch or a zigzag stitch. 

iix. Adjust your presser foot

Observe how your presser foot is doing its work. Do not stretch the fabric while sewing. If you notice that your foot is putting pressure on the material, making it stretch, then change the stress of your presser foot. 

ix. Apply proper stitches

Not all types of stitches will work for a stretch fabric. There are a few stitches that suit best for this kind of fabric. Also, these stitches stretch with the material. Following are the stitches which you can apply while sewing:

  • Zigzag stitch: 

If your machine doesn’t offer you much variety of stitches, don’t worry. A basic zigzag stitch will work pretty well. Set your device to a narrow-width stitch and get your zigzag stitch. 

  • Three-step zig-zag stitch: 

You can go for another type of zigzag stitch. It is a three-step zigzag stitch. In this stitch, each zigzag has three tiny stitches. This stitch stretches a lot and works best for stretchy fabric like lycra. 

  • Triple stitch or stretch stitch:

The machine goes two stitches forward and one stitch backward in each cycle in this stitch. It takes a little longer to stitch, but it is worth putting your time into it.

So, these are the steps you need to keep in mind when sewing stretch fabrics. Yes, stretch stitches are a bit challenging to handle. But if you follow some guidelines, you can manage them very efficiently. 


Stretch fabrics are quick to sew, and thus they have become a crucial part of the garment industry. But most of the sewers feel that handling stretch fabric is quite challenging. But the actual formula lies in the fact that it all depends on the steps you follow for sewing.

Sewing a stretch fabric depends not only on the stitching technique but also on several factors. These include the type of fabric you select, the type of needle you choose, etc. Follow the steps mentioned above and make a firm grip over your stretch fabric. 

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