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A Beginners' Guide to Stretch Fabric

By FunkiFabrics, 17 August 2022

Dressmaking is a niche topic, and choosing the right material is imperative to creating a flawless garment. From dresses and tops to leotards and swimwear, the success of any garment lies with the choice of fabric. Whether you want to create Ballroom and Latin dresses or perhaps a simple crop top, here at Funki Fabrics, we’ve created a beginner’s guide to stretch dressmaking fabrics to help guide your project.

Stretch Fabric

Stretch fabric has become increasingly popular with dressmaking, as its ability to create a whole host of different garments makes it an appealing fabric choice for many projects. However, stretch fabric, although fantastic when it comes to creating leotards and dresses, can be difficult to work with. Knowing your fabric before beginning your project is essential to being able to create neat and straight stitching. Read on for our tips below!

How to sew stretch fabric

  1. When cutting out your pattern, remember not to stretch your fabric as this will distort the measurements of the pattern. Laying it flat on a table and using weights to keep it flat is the best alternative.
  2. To avoid creating holes in your fabric, keep your pins within the realms of the seam allowance.
  3. You will need to add a ballpoint or stretch needle to your machine when sewing stretch fabric.
  4. You will want to choose a thread which has a slight stretch, ensuring that you avoid cotton, which tends to snap when pulled.
  5. Find a stitch which is going to hold your fabric together without snapping or creating puckers in the material.

What are the best stitches when working with stretch fabric?

Knowing the best stitch to use when handling your stretch fabric is going to ensure your garment is not only robust but is also symmetrical.

Some of the best stitches to use when sewing stretch fabric: Twin needle stitch: If you decide to use this stitch, you will need to use a twin needle and will create a parallel row of stitches on one side, and a zig-zag stitch on the other. Overedge stitch: This stitch option will create a stitch which locks over the edge of the fabric. Narrow zig-zag stitch: The narrow zig-zag stitch has a length which is equal to its width. Straight stretch stitch: The straight stretch stitch will create three parallel rows of straight stitching.

Overlockers are going to be a helpful addition to your machine if you are going to be working with stretch fabrics. Overlockers give you a neater edge as well as keeping the stitching in a straight line.

Why choose stretch fabric?

Choosing stretch fabric gives you the luxury of flexibility, and with some stretch fabrics, such as lycra and elastane, you also get the longevity of the material. Stretch fabrics don’t become worn as quickly as other materials, meaning that they make a great option for sporting leotards. At our sister company, Milano Pro Sport who specialise in gymnastic apparel, we have a range of women’s and girls’ leotards as well as a collection of accessories, many of which have utilised lycra to create long-lasting and supportive sportswear. We also offer stretch, lightweight options as well as heavyweight options, so be sure to check out our print base guide!

Do you always have to use stretch fabric?

No, you don’t have to make stretch fabric your material of choice. It is very dependent on what garment you intend on creating, if you are looking to create workwear, then you may want to avoid using lycra or spandex. However, if you are looking for fabric to create sporting garments, you will want to be looking at material with a stretch such as something from Funki Fabric’s printed stretch fabric range. Here at Funki Fabrics, we also offer a range of thermo fabrics, ensuring that there is always an option to incorporate warmer fabrics into your dressmaking.

Our collection of stretch fabrics at Funki Fabrics are the perfect option if you are wanting to try your hand at creating garments for party dresses, office dresses and for the more sporty, gymnastics leotards! With everything from plain, block-coloured fabrics to statement patterns, our fabrics here at Funki Fabrics make the ideal addition for a whole host of different projects and experiments.

View our complete range of lycra fabrics


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