How To Sew Lycra On A Conventional Machine

Be it your foundation wear, workout outfit, or swimsuits; the stretchy Lycra fabric dominates over all-natural materials. So, this brings the discussion of Lycra’s expansion into the 21st-century fashion-fabric sphere! Already excited about sewing Lycra-blended fabric on a sewing machine? Read on to this tutorial guide!

Lycra-blend fabrics have become popular these days. Thus, sewers have been experimenting with this fabric choice lately. If that makes you get more excited about sewing Lycra, here’s what to know further!

So, it goes without saying that sewing with Lycra-blended fabric is easy. With minor adjustments to usual sewing methods, you will become a sewing professional with Lycra fabrics. Here’s what you need to learn about the process. So, read on.

How To Sew Lycra On A Conventional Machine?

Lycra fabric has significant differences from natural materials. That said, its resistance to wrinkling and stretching potential is greater than other fabrics.

That’s the reason why it becomes difficult to handle the fabric while sewing. However, with some tips and tweaks, you can fantastically proceed further.

Steps To Sew Lycra On Your Machine

Read on to learn about the best way of sewing Lycra fabric on your sewing machine. But first, let’s check out the essential sewing materials you would require. Learn more through the below-offered narrative:

Preparing for the Procedure: Important Requirements

Here’s what you should require:

  • Matching or contrasting polyester threads
  • An 80/12 H needle or ballpoint needle
  • A sewing machine
  • Your Lycra fabric
  • Rotary cutter or a sharp pair of scissors

Step 1: Pre-Washing Your Lycra Fabric

So, here’s how you begin the process of sewing Lycra on a conventional machine with the common sense rule! Thus, it is imperative to understand the importance of pre-washing.

As a matter of fact, knits that are machine-washed should get pre-washed in warm water gently! For Lycra fabric, it might have the chance to shrink during the first time you wash. So, pre-washing would prevent your finished outfit from shrinking.

Factually speaking, shrinking depends on the materials that your Lycra fabric blends with. But if you choose the pre-washing method, it’s a safeguarding tweak to prevent the fabric from shrinking once the garment is already made.

So, this way, you stay absolutely sure of the fact that no shrinkage would occur once you complete sewing the garment. Alternatively, you can also choose a dry cleaning method to stay doubly sure!

Step 2: Cutting The Fabric

Here’s the major point that you should understand. So, cutting the Lycra-blend fabric is not at all seamless. That’s the reason why you require a rotary cutter or a pair of scissors!

As soon as your fabric dries, it’s time to use a rotary cutter! Needless to say, cutting such Lycra fabric can be difficult. Thus, to achieve straight edges, always use a sharp pair of scissors. Thus, use a cutting mat for the purpose (in the case of a rotary cutter).

Step 3: Pinning Sharp Pins

Now, why would you use sharp pins here? To simply put, using the ballpoint sharp pins will prevent damages. As these pins have rounded tips, they won’t sever threads in the chosen fabric! Rather than that, they slide between the fabrics!

So, it’s a great idea to use these pins alongside the given seam allowance. In this process, the holes will remain invisible even when there are minor damages made.

Step 4: Ensure The Stretchiest Part Goes Around Your Body

The next thing that you should consider is to ensure that the stretchiest part of the fabric goes around the body. If you are creating a pant, you keep the stretchiest portion around your waist area to boost comfort.

Noteworthy to state, there are two significant differences between Lycra-blend fabrics and other all-natural fibers. Firstly, the degree of stretch is not present in natural fiber. Secondly, better resistance to wrinkling is present in Lycra-blend fabrics.

Thus, the stretchiest part should be given preference to the body. So, before you start sewing with it, always use your hands for tugging the fabric and finding out in which direction it stretches the most.

Step 5: Installing The Ballpoint Needle In The Machine

Did you know that regular needles may have a chance to get damaged with Lycra-blend fabric? Yes, and that’s probably why you need to use a ballpoint needle!

So, the next step that you need to perform is installing the ballpoint needle into the machine. Given their rounded tips, it prevents the fabric from damages.

One Quick Note:

Whichever sewing machine you have, always check for the instruction on how to install a new needle! Only then can you proceed seamlessly.

Step 6: Adjusting The Pressure Foot

As you sew, excessive pressure on your machine’s presser foot can pull on your fabric. So, this results in puckering along the seam. So, to reduce the chances, you need to decrease the pressure.

For this reason, you must set the presser of the machine to one before sewing. You can learn more by checking the manual of the sewing machine.

Step 7: Use an All-Purpose Polyester Thread

After you accomplish the task of setting the pressure to 1, it’s time for using an all-purpose polyester thread. Please note that you don’t require using a stretchy thread. As a matter of fact, you can opt for an all-purpose polyester thread to finish your job.

One Quick Note:

You can use a matching thread for a printed or striped fabric. However, for solid-colored Lycra-blend fabrics, you can even choose a contrasting thread too! Ultimately, it’s your decision!

Step 8: Setting Up Your Machine (For Modern Sewing Machines)

So, here’s where you are required to setup your sewing machine. No matter what machine you choose, it is imperative to choose a narrow zigzag stitch. As a matter of fact, this stitch is going to work pretty well for sewing Lycra-blend fabrics.

After all, it will offer slack that allows the fabric to get stretched. For this reason, you must set the machine to a zigzag stitch. Upon which, you need to adjust the length of the stitch. You can make it to around 0.02 inches.

And in case the fabric is a blend and not too stretchy, you can then adjust your zigzag stitch to the longer length option. In such cases, you can choose 0.059 inches.

Nonetheless, it’s imperative to keep the zigzag stitch within a range of around 0.020-0.059 inches. Keeping this range will ensure that the seams stretch with your fabric.

Quick Notes:

If you are using a conventional sewing machine, you need to manually perform the process. As setting up the machine isn’t available in a conventional machine, the most you can do is to be careful of how you place the fabric. Also, ensure that you achieve a perfect sewing speed!

Needless to mention, you should also avoid pulling off the fabric once you start sewing. A majority of times, newbie sewers often get inquisitive. And this leads them to pull on their fabric just to see how the sewing is done.

Unfortunately, this very move destroys their hard work. So, it results in puckering! Although this strategy may work great for other fabrics, it’s simply a NO for Lycra-blend fabrics. So, neither pull on it nor let your fabric hang over the work surface’s edge. Both are dangerous and can ruin the job!

How Do You Know That The Lycra Fabric is Of Premium Quality?

Before you layout the pattern and cut the knit, it is imperative to check for defects or snags. So, this will help you work with the fabric with comfort. Thus, you should ensure refolding the yardage for an ideal pattern. As a matter of fact, the crease mark where the fabric gets folded is permanent.

Also, you need to simplify the pattern to make the sewing process easier. Let’s say you can eliminate armhole and neck facings by binding raw edges with the self-fabric cut in the stretchiest direction of the fabric. Additionally, you must mark the notches of the pattern’s using 1/8 inches into the seam allowance!



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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