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combining stretch and non-stretch fabric

almost | Posted in General Discussion on

I am again sewing ice skating dresses primarily for ice dancing, using non-stretch sheer fabrics for the skirt inserted into stretchy fabrics (stretch velvet) for the bodice and pants.  I usually end up having to insert an invisible zipper, but some of the designs that I come up with, would look better without a zipper. Which means that the person has to be able to get into the costume  by stepping into it and pulling it on up over the hips. But I have not been able to solve the problem of getting the sheer to stretch to accomodate the hips, as does the stretch velvet.  I know this can be done because many skating dresses use these two types of materials.  But after much study, I still can not seem to get the results that I am seeking.  I’m hoping that someone with some experience in this area can give me some ideas.


  1. mem1 | | #1

    I dont have the experience but I was wondering if gathering the sheer onto clear swimwear elstic and the sewing it into the waistline of the leotard would work?

    1. almost | | #3

      Not a bad idea but normally because this seam is the main joint of three parts, (top, pants and skirt), I end up sewing over the seam a number of times.  Based on my experience with the clear elastic, it seems to weaken if it is sewn more than one time.  But sadly I am not skilled enough to be able to catch all three layers at one pass, otherwise this might be a viable option.

      1. mem1 | | #6

        why dont you tack the fabric together and then add in the elastic thus only sewing the elastic once ?

  2. suesew | | #2

    There are stretch sheers available. I would think they would solve your problem.

    1. almost | | #4

      That is a good idea but  the few stretch sheers I can find do not have the right "weight" to hang correctly, nor can I find many color options.  But if you know of a resource that you could pass onto me  that would offer greater variety of stretch sheers I would appreciate it !


      Edited 5/3/2005 1:31 am ET by almost

      1. Elisabeth | | #5

        What type of sheer do you use? Is the stretch velvet the panne? Costumes are so much fun, designing for motion.

  3. delphblu | | #7

    I was just thinking using the sheer on the bias where you think it needs to stretch the most might be helpful.  Also, if you stretch your velvet as you apply the sheer it should give enough ease to allow the sheer to stretch enough to go over those little girl hips.  I would experiment with just how much to stretch your velvet as you apply the sheet and also use a small zig zag to increase stretchiness.  The idea someone suggested of easing the sheer before applying it is also a good one... some combination of several suggestions should get your costumes over the bums.

    Good luck with your project


    1. almost | | #8

      Thank you for your suggestions.  I will give them a try and see if I can solve this problem!

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