Last Updated on July 23, 2023
Sewing Machine Settings for Spandex: Sewing with spandex and swimwear fabric can be intimidating for many, but fear not! With the right tips and sewing machine settings, you can conquer this stretchy and slippery material and create stunning garments.
Whether you’re making swimwear, athleticwear, dance costumes, or other fitted garments, follow these guidelines to ensure successful sewing with spandex.
Can you use a sewing machine on spandex?
Yes, you can use a regular sewing machine to sew spandex. While a serger can be helpful, it’s not essential. With the right tips and techniques, sewing spandex on a regular sewing machine is definitely possible.
Sewing machine settings for spandex and Tips
Follow these guidelines to achieve professional results with spandex.
1. Choose the Right Project
Before diving into sewing with spandex, pick a suitable project. Negative ease projects, where the fabric should be fitted and stretched, work best with spandex. These include swimwear, athleticwear, dance costumes, and similar garments that require a snug fit.
2. Opt for Quality Fabric
Selecting the right fabric is crucial for a successful spandex sewing experience. Look for good quality spandex fabric with either two-way or four-way stretch. The fabric should quickly recover to its original shape when you stretch it.
Explore online sources if you need help finding suitable options in local fabric stores.
3. Preparing the Fabric
Spandex does not shrink, so pre-treating it before cutting is not necessary. However, if you prefer to wash it, use a delicate cycle with cold water and air dry to maintain its integrity.
4. Pay Attention to Fabric Stretch Direction
When cutting the fabric, ensure that the direction with the greatest degree of stretch goes perpendicular to the grainline on the pattern. This way, the stretchiest direction will wrap around your body, providing a comfortable fit.
5. Cutting the Fabric
Avoid using straight pins within the seam allowance area when cutting spandex, as they can damage the fabric. Instead, try using a rotary cutter and mat with fabric weights to keep the fabric flat on the table and prevent stretching as you cut out the pieces.
For securing pattern pieces together, use clips rather than straight pins.
6. Choose the Right Thread and Needle
Opt for 100% polyester or all-purpose thread for sewing spandex, as they provide more flexibility than 100% cotton thread. Additionally, use a ballpoint tip or stretch needle coated to glide easily between the fabric fibers. Select a needle size appropriate for the fabric weight, such as an 80/12 needle.
7. Select the Correct Stitch Type
Choosing the right stitch type is crucial when sewing spandex. Utilize a stretch stitch, zigzag stitch, or 3-step zigzag to allow the seam to stretch without breaking any threads. Consider using a walking foot to ensure even feeding through the machine or a Teflon foot with reduced presser foot pressure.
8. Handy Sewing Tips
When sewing spandex, hold onto the threads and start sewing slightly away from the fabric edge to avoid fabric being sucked into the needle plate. To stabilize the fabric, place a small piece of tissue paper between the fabric and the needle plate and tear it off when finished.
9. Handling Seams
Sew with a gentle stretch, holding the fabric slightly from the back and front to avoid excessive stretching. Don’t be alarmed if your seams wave slightly due to stretching. Finish seams using pinking shears, a zigzag stitch, or fold-over elastic to bind the edges.
10. Test and Adjust
Before sewing the actual project, test on fabric scraps to check the tension and ensure the seams have enough stretch.
11. Heat and Pressing
Spandex cannot handle high heat, so be cautious when pressing. Use a lower heat setting on your iron and employ a press cloth to protect the fabric.
12. Consider Extra Stabilization
Some spandex fabrics might become transparent or need additional stabilization. If necessary, add a lining using tricot fabric for a professional finish.
FAQ – People Also Ask
To further help, here are some answers to questions you may have about Spandex.
Do you need special thread to sew spandex?
Yes, you need a special thread to sew spandex. Use something that’s 100% polyester or an all-purpose thread, as it will have a little more give than 100% cotton thread.
What tension should I use for spandex?
Use a stretch, zig zag, or 3 step zig zag stitch type and test on fabric scraps to determine the appropriate tension for sewing with spandex.
What is the stitch length for spandex?
The stitch length for spandex should be a stretch stitch, such as a stretch, zig zag, or 3 step zig zag, to allow the seam to stretch without breaking any thread.
What size sewing needle for spandex?
Size 80/12 sewing needle for spandex.
What stitch to use on spandex?
Use a stretch, zig-zag, or 3-step zig-zag stitch on spandex.
So, sewing with spandex and swimwear fabric might seem challenging, but with these tips and sewing machine settings, you’ll be well-prepared to tackle any project confidently.
- Choose projects that require negative ease and a snug fit for sewing with spandex.
- Invest in good quality spandex fabric with two-way or four-way stretch.
- Spandex does not shrink, so pre-treatment before cutting is unnecessary.
- Align the fabric’s greatest stretch perpendicular to the grainline when cutting.
- Use a rotary cutter and fabric weights to prevent damage while cutting.
- Opt for 100% polyester or all-purpose thread and ballpoint or stretch needles.
- Use stretch, zigzag, or 3-step zigzag stitches for flexible seams.
- Hold onto threads while sewing and start slightly away from the fabric edge.
- Sew with a gentle stretch, and embrace the slight wave in seams.
- Test stitches on fabric scraps before beginning your main project.
- Be cautious with heat, and use a lower iron setting with a press cloth.
- Consider adding extra support or lining for certain spandex fabrics.
Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t hesitate to experiment and learn from your experiences. Happy sewing!
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