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Sewing with Difficult Fabrics

Silken FabricAshley | October 28th, 2011

Why is it that some of the most beautiful fabrics are also the most difficult to work with? Fabrics like spandex, lycra or knits are very stretchy and difficult to line up, while others like suede, velvet and satin are very slippery and a challenging keep in place.

Fortunately, it isn't necessary to avoid using these fabrics. The more experience you have with machine sewing, the better you will be able to understand each fabric's drape and fall, as well as how they behave while under the needle.

A quality sewing machine, such as a Bernina, can make the sewing experience less complicated, leading to stunning results whether you're sewing an evening dress or a bathing suit. Here are a few sewing tips to help tame these problematic fabrics:
  • Pre-wash your material.
  • Consider using a stabilizer product to avoid excess stretching.
  • Support the fabric well with your hands or a table as you feed it through your sewing machine.
  • Try using a serger to keep the edges from fraying.
  • Use a ball-point needle to avoid cutting or ripping the fabric.
  • Sew with polyester thread, which will provide a little extra stretch to the seams.
With these tips and some extra time and attention, you can successfully navigate your way through any  sewing project that requires use of hard-to-work-with fabrics.