5 methods of sewing stretch fabrics with straight stitch

Is it possible to sew stretchy fabrics with straight stitch? YES! And there is more than one way of doing it!

If you want to know how I do it just keep reading 🙂 always test it on scraps and double layer of fabric. 

Method 1 – Stretch as you go

Simply adjust your stitch length to maximum when you sew your fabric and stretch it slightly. When you finish you’ll see that it created a shorter seam that is quite stretchy and won’t break. 

Method 2 – Short seam

I quite like this method. Set the tension of your top thread to the minimum and shorten your stitch length.  The shorter it is the more stretch you get but be careful, if you make it too short your fabric will get wavy!

Method 3 – Wooly nylon

Use wooly nylon thread but only in the bobbin. It’s not good for the needle. If you also lower top tension you can use straight stitch to topstitch and it will look great! You might have to shorten your stitch length. Just test on scraps first but it’s a good alternative for sewing stretchy seams.

Method 4 – Maraflex

Gutermann Maraflex thread is a stretchy regular thread (not woolly nylon) that is designed for industrial machines but you can use it in your domestic machine. Coats makes something similar – Eloflex (I haven’t tested that one yet). This is the only method where I get good results with the longest stitch. Top tension still needs adjusting on my machine, I lower it to the minimum and I’m really pleased with the results. This thread comes in the cone. Don’t be tempted to fit it to the top of your machine, just put it in the cup next to it. Thread needs to unwind freely.
My only issue with this thread is that it’s not easy to find (at least here in the UK). I only managed to find one supplier that sells these. It could also be a bit cheaper. £5 for 1500m if I only use it for topstitching isn’t a bad deal, but if you wanted all different colours it can get expensive. I only have black and white but I’m ok with that 🙂

Method 5 – Triple stitch

I won’t be explaining this one, all new machines have is as standard. Great for thicker fabrics but really difficult to unpick. Not my favourite as I find it really bulky and often makes the fabric wavy. And whenever I try to unpick it I always end up with some holes in my fabric. But that’s me 🙂

It’s not exactly straight stitch but using very very narrow zigzag that almost looks like straight stitch also will give your seam plenty of stretch!

So yes, nothing is impossible! 🙂

I hope you liked this post. Would you like me to write more tips?

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