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armhole stretching on knits – binding

Allyson | Posted in General Discussion on

Hi.  I am sewing a Kwik Sew tank top out of mesh fabric.  The pattern is part of a swim suit pattern set.  When I sewed the binding onto the armhole, it stretched all over the place.  I did not stay stitch the armhole prior to attaching the binding (1/4 inch seam allowances on the Kwik Sew patterns make this difficult).  Should I have added clear elastic swim elastic?  Since the mesh is quite see through, the elastic would not be a problem but bias cut interfacing might look ugly.  THANK YOU for any ideas you have for me.  I’m just learning!

Babe with Berninas


  1. kjp | | #1

    Does your mesh fabric have enough stretch & recovery?  What stitch did you use to sew the binding?  Is the binding the same fabric (I assume it is) ?  Clear elastic & no binding may be the solution to your problem (sew the elastic with an appropriate stretch stitch & then turn under & sew)  Hope I or someone can offer solutions!  How frustrating.  Karin

    1. Allyson | | #2

      Hi Karin,

      Thanks for your ideas.  The mesh has an enormous amount of stretch in it (at least 50%).  I took the top to a sewing shop and they pointed out a couple of solutions:

      - shorten the binding by 2 inches.  Even though I followed the Kwik sew pattern, because of the stretch in the mesh ... it was pulling the sleeve out rather than bringing it in.

      - I topstitched ON TOP of the binding on the right side using a zig zag stitch (as suggested in the pattern).  They told me this would further stretch the fabric therefore, exaggerating the problem.

      So - my next step is to try shortening the binding by a few inches.  Keep any and all ideas coming!  This makes me wonder what I need to do when making a cotton-lycra shirt.  Do I need to use clear elastic in this case????

      1. stitchmd | | #3

        It would probably help to add some kind of stabilizer to the mesh that can be removed easily after you stitch. I recommend Wash-A-Way Wonder Tape, which is an adhesive tape you can place right on the seam line, stitch through and it washes out. It will hold the mesh in position for you. It's very narrow, so you might even want to do two rows of it. It will also temporarily glue on your binding.

        1. Allyson | | #4

          Wow - great idea.  I have used Wonder tape MANY times before when inserting zippers into kids bathing suits (like little wet suits).  It truly is WONDERful.... I never thought of it as a stabilizer before.  Rather - I have been using it to "hold" slippery fabrics in place.  Now I know of a second wonderful use for this great notion.  Thanks for the input.

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