Sew Stretch Fabrics Successfully
Spandex fabric, Elastine and Lycra are three common names for this man made stretch fiber.
It was originally created by Joseph Shivers, a chemist with DuPont, in 1959.
This wonder fiber changed the fabric industry forever. Spandex is commonly known for swimwear and exercise wear. However, it has been blended with everything from denim, cotton, linen, wool, and even silk.
When spandex is blended with cotton, and nylon, it is commonly used for exercise wear and swim suits. Like the examples below.
When spandex is blended with woven fabric, it gives comfort to garments, such as fitted jackets, pants, and skirts.
Where To Buy Spandex Fabric
Spandex fabric is readily available. You can find spandex at your local fabric stores such as Joann’s , or you can shop online. Here are a few fabric stores that carry a variety of spandex fabrics.
Spandex Fabric by the Yard
- Preshrinking is not necessary for nylon spandex, however, cotton, linen and wool blends should be preshrunk.
- Cotton and linen can be washed on a gentle cycle with a mild detergent and dry on low.
- Heat will break the spandex fibers down over time, so hanging garments to dry is a better choice.
- Do not use bleach on spandex, bleach also will break down the
- When making swim suits or exercise wear it is recommended to have a four way stretch sewing fabric.
This means the fabric has stretch both up and down and side to side.
- Your sewing pattern will tell you if it is a good choice for Lycra fabric or not if you are using a commercial sewing pattern. If you are drafting your own pattern, typically you would use a spandex/lycra fabric if you need stretch or a certain amount of “give” when you move.
How To Sew Spandex Knit:
Spandex Woven Blends
Pre shrink cotton and linen blends in a warm water wash and low temperature dryer.
Silk spandex blends should be hand washed and hang to dry.
spandex blends can be pre shrunk by using a steam iron.
How To Sew Woven Spandex:
with tailor tacks, tailor chalk, and or tracing paper and wheel.
- Use a standard presser foot
70/10 machine needle
on silk Lycra blends.
- For linen, wool and cotton spandex use a 80/12 machine needle.
is always polyester. Polyester adds stretch to your seams, helping to eliminate breaking.
with a steam iron on medium temperature.
Be careful when using a regular sewing machine, not to pull fabric through the feed dogs. You will get puckered seams.
Use a small zigzag or stretch stitch.
- If you are using a serger put wooly nylon in the loopers and polyester serger thread in the needles.
More Great Tips For Sewing with Spandex
The information above will give you a good start to your next sewing project using spandex fabric. You may also find these sewing tips useful too.