Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter X Instagram Tiktok Icon YouTube Icon Headphones Icon Favorite Navigation Search Icon Forum Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon Plus Icon Arrow Down Icon Video Guide Icon Article Guide Icon Modal Close Icon Guide Search Icon

Conversational Threads

Dancewear Fabrics

divaglam | Posted in Fabric and Trim on

Anyone familiar with sewing dance wear?  I am having trouble keeping the fabric from “lettuce edging” when trying to do just a regular folded over hem with a zig zag stitch.  The hems need to stretch.  What is the best way to do this without the fabric getting all stretched out of shape?

Also, what is the best way to attach a ruffle to a hem that needs to stretch?  My gathering foot uses a straight stich and the ruffle does not stretch.  Should I just gather the ruffle with elastic cording then attatch it?


  1. mainestitcher | | #1

    The *hems* need to stretch? Intriguing...What kind of dancewear? It seems like any skirt/dress hem so tight to the body that it needs to stretch would tend to ride up with dancing. I don't have a coverstitch machine, so I do one of two things: 1) Stitch with a twin needle, stretching the material slightly, and gently pressing it back into shape. 2) The "blind hem" settings on the home serger, however your serger tells you to do it.

    1. divaglam | | #3

      Yes, the hems need to stretch.  I make exotic dance wear, so yes, it is very tight!!

  2. flossie | | #2

    Try using a triple zig zag stitch - builds in more stretch particularly if you lengthen and widen regular settings or use the twin needle as suggested. I have a coverstitch machine now but still use triple zig zag on some costumes.

    I usually attach ruffles with overlocker (serger) - I gather them first then attach.


    Edited 12/13/2006 8:30 pm ET by flossie

    1. divaglam | | #4

      Any suggestions for gathering and attatching without a serger?

      1. flossie | | #6

        Before I had  serger I used to gather and attach ruffle with straight stitch then go over it with zigzag so that if straight stitch "popped" the zigzag would hold in place.

        I have been sewing lycra costumes for my girls and others for over 20 years now. I find there is no one definite way to do things and I vary my sewing method to suit the costume and purpose. I do suggest that if you will be sewing many costumes a serger is a really good investment and really expands your options for all types of sewing but I did sew lycra and Knits without one for several years.

        All the best Pauline

        1. divaglam | | #7

          Hi Flossie--


          Was it you who was telling me about a good fabric glue for rhinestones?(on lycra)....mine keep popping off!


          1. user-51823 | | #8

            ITA to run basting stich to make a ruffle, then zigzag the ruffle onto the garment; zigzag again for strength if needed.re the lettuce hems- do you have to sew the hem at all? for costumes, i often find that simply cutting the hem works. for woven fabric that might fray, use pinking shears and for knits that might run or "ladder", run a bead of fabric glue like sobo close to the inside edge. i have also run lo-temp hot glue and mashed flat with side of a knife blade. this gives a hem with similar weight and body to a sewn hem. re gems- dancewear that is worked hard will inevitably pop off any hard gems that are not sewn on, despite best glue. the glue adheres great to the fabric but backs of gems are flat and smooth which is a problem if the dancer is bending, stretching, or coming in contact with other dancers. we always sew on prominent gems and if there's lots of sparkle, substitute sequins, paillettes, etc. if that just won't do for you and you can't locate gems with the 2 tiny stitching holes, use a small dremel drill bit to make your own holes. note: the drill will melt the plastic as it creates the hole, but the excess plastic will chip off easily."...lost in an orchestral maelstrom of lunacy..."

            Edited 1/30/2007 8:09 am ET by msm-s

          2. mainestitcher | | #9

            You can get hot fix, I've never tried them. I have glued rhinestones. The instruction I got was to practice making a drop of glue that's just big enough to come up and over the very edge of the stone, as you press the stone into place.I've been to dance competions. Some stones come off, no matter what. Occasionally, an employee will sweep the floor, so a heel doesn't inadvertently land on a loose crystal and send some lady flying.

          3. user-51823 | | #11

            was going to post the hot glue overlap but somehow couldn't say it as nice and short as you did! also, if too much glue oozes out, it can look sort of yucky close up. good for an audience farther away, or if you are sure to use a decorative hot glue like the gold or silver sticks

          4. flossie | | #10

            No it wasn't me  - I have only ever sewn "sparkly" bits on - the girls' dance teacher wouldn't let us use glue! I have seen others use glue but they could only do small areas at a time any way until glue dried so don't know that it was much quicker.

            As others have said a percentage of sparkles will pop off with wear whether glued or sewn.

            regards Pauline

          5. Noelle | | #12


             Try a hot fix or heat wand (appx. $20.00).  I used one in a class

            last week with crystals on silk--super!  However, I don't know results

            on strectch fabrics.  I saw one on Nancy's Notions website.  Probably

            you can find at crafts stores also.  Please send results when you decide

            on method.  Good luck!

  3. wlric | | #5

    Are you working with a stretch fabric or woven? Sorry, I just want to make sure I understand the question. And, is this the hem of a skirt?
    How wide is the hem that you are making that results in a "lettuce" type edge?
    If I need the edge of lycra to be stretchy but flat, I try to use a 1/4inch hem, using a very narrow (.5mm) zig zag about 3mm long stitch. Using a new stretch needle is helpful. I try to not stretch it as I sew. Then I press it as flat as it will get.
    Regarding the ruffle: Can you first ruffle the fabric onto a piece of elastic or lycra, stretching the elastic/lycra as you sew, and then attach it to the garment? I am thinking that using the elastic cord as your gathering will not work because you still have to attach that to the garment. But, I haven't tried that method, so there may be a way to make it work that I can't think of right now.

This post is archived.

Threads Insider

Get instant access to hundreds of videos, tutorials, projects, and more.

Start Your Free Trial

Already an Insider? Log in

Conversational Threads

Recent Posts and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |

Threads Insider Exclusives

View All
View All


Shop the Store

View All
View More