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

HELP…wonky stitches

blessedtosew | Posted in General Sewing Info on

I am sewing a very stretchy jersey fabric and am trying to topstitch it around the neckline.  The stitches are really wonky (is that a word?) and get worse if I stretch the jersey.  HEre is a pic of what they look like below.  I have tried playing with the stitch length and tension but I haven’t found anything that works.  Isn’t there something called a “stretch stitch” that I could use?  If anyone has any ideas I would sure be appreciative.

my wonky stitches

View Image


  1. damascusannie | | #1

    Actually, I think stretching is what's causing the stitching problem. The fabric is being stretched as you sew for some reason, then when it is released, the stitches go goofy. Try sewing a sample, deliberately pulling on the fabric and see if that's what's happening. Some possible solutions:Be extra careful not to pull on the fabric at all as you guide it, let it slide very easily through your fingers without putting any stress on it. As a sewing/quilting instructor, I find that many (most) people tend to muscle the fabric through the machine, which just causes distortion.Take a look at your manual and see if there's a way to loosen up how hard the presser foot pushes on the surface of the fabric. If you can, loosen it up so that it will just feed the fabric. Try using a walking foot if you have one. The walking foot should prevent the fabric from stretching as you sew it.

    1. DonnaCouture | | #11

      Hi Damascusannie,

      Are you topstitching for a finish? What is on the underside?  I have sewn 2-way knits in the past and have used a "twin needle".  It's great to do this if you do not need a self fabric facing/finish. 


  2. MaryinColorado | | #2

    Do you have a serger with a coverstitch capability? 

    If not, I think you will have to stabilize the neckline, you might try a product called Seams Great or a fusable stretch interfacing. 

    Some things to try:

     A jersey ballpoint needle, You might want to practice some stitches: small zig zag, maybe decrease the presserfoot preassure, SL 2.5-3.0, SW 3.0, top tension around 4.5-4.8. 

    If the fabric is very lightweight, decrease all these numbers.

    Do you have an overcast stitch?  It looks like a slant with straight stitches too, SL 3.0 SW 5, top tension. 

    Hope this helps, it's been a long time since I've sewn knits on a regular sewing machine so hopefully someone else with give you better suggestions.  Mary




  3. jjgg | | #3

    Yes, there is a stretch stitch on many machines you can use to topstitch knit fabrics and it works very well.If you have a sewing machine that is more than the bottom of the line, you should have a stitch that does a straight stitch that goes back and forth 3 times. It will usually look like 3 straight lines next to each other on the machine (lll) (but think of the 'l' as a straight line, It's ####3-step straight stitch and it's sole purpose on the sewing machine is that it's a stretch stitch. I'm always amazed at how many people don't know that. I was at my dealers a while back and happened to mention it to someone who was looking at machines, (I over heard her asking about stretch stitches). The woman demoing the machine was very surprised when I told her what that stitch was.Good luck, don't stretch the fabric when you so this. use regular thread in the bobbin.

    1. blessedtosew | | #4

      Thanks so much for all your help.  I am happy I found this message board.  I will let you all know how it works out.

    2. sewelegant | | #6

      It's ####3-step straight stitch

      Was interested in your reply, but do not understand what the #### stands for?  I have a lot of stretch stitches on my 10 year old machine, but do not use them.  I was sewing on a tee that was made of poor boy fabric (that's what it was labeled) it had sweater ridges and I could not for the life of me top stitch a hem in place without a mess until I used the walking foot!  Now, that kept the stitching nice, but eliminated any stretch in getting the tee over my head for instance.  I might like to go and test out that #### 3 stitch to see what it can do for me.  Does this stitch have any other name?



      1. jjgg | | #7

        Well, I'm on a different computer right now than the one I typed the last message, the font's are comming up differently and I don't know what happened that it's showing up as #####.anyway, here is a picture (I just clipped this form online - did a google image search for sewing machine stitches.)Stitch no. 14 is what it should look like. I hope this helps, and as someone else said, you need to fuse a knit interfacing (fusi knit) if your seam allowance is 1/4 inch, cut the interfacing 1/2 inch wide, meet raw edges and fuse, so when you fold the seam allowance to the inside the interfaced area is doubled. Cut the interfacing to the stretch goes with the fabric.Use the interfacing without the stretch to prevent stretch in the shoulder area.

        1. jjgg | | #8

          hmmmm... don't know why the picture didn't attach, Let me try again.

          1. sewelegant | | #9

            OK, I think I see.  This looks like a stitch my dealer recommended using on jeans topstitching to emphasize it.  I like your #12 feather stitch.  I do not have a nice one, but I am pretty happy with most everything else on my Bernina 1630.  Thanks for the picture.

          2. jjgg | | #10

            If you have a bernina 1630 you most definitely have the stretch stitch. I have a 1530 and used if often. Such a wonderful machine. What I find so interesting is that the older berninas have retained their value, but the newer computerized machines don't. .

  4. PrincessKatja | | #5

    Now, if you decide to topstitch hems in this material (with a non-stretch stitch such as straight stitch) you may want to use a fusible, tearaway (or sticky washaway) stabilizer. These are great tools for achieving beautiful stitching on a number of fabrics. Especially if you're using decorative stitches.Simply cut strips of stabilizer, fuse or stick and stitch. When finshed, either tear-away excess or wash it out, depending on the type used.

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