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Sewing cotton/spandex fabric

Stitchwitch | Posted in General Discussion on

I’m busy sewing a wrapover dress in a cotton/spandex blend. Almost like swimwear fabric but not as stretchy or shiny.  I have real trouble with getting a good stitch quality. I am sewing most of the seams with the serger which is fine. Some sections I’m sewing on the sewing machine because I want to prevent the extra bulk caused by using the serger. I’m using a stretch needle and I’m using a non-stick presserfoot. If I sew with a normal presserfoot it seems to “stick” to the fabric. The stitches are VERY uneven and skipping now and again. I’m sewing on a Bernina Artista 630E. Any suggestions please. This is turning into a nightmare.


  1. jtp | | #1

    I use my regular presserfoot and a microtex/sharp needle instead of a stretch needle when sewing lycra.


  2. Tatsy | | #2

    It makes a lot of difference whether you're sewing a knit or a woven.  I wouldn't use microtex on a knit.  Have you tried making the stitch length shorter or the tension looser or both?  You might also experiment with different types of thread--polyester? cotton wrapped polyester? I would suggest nylon but if you get the wrong kind it pokes like sandburs.

  3. DONNAKAYE | | #3

    YES.  There's a product called Needle Lube.  You apply it to your needle.  It's made of silicone and prevents skipped stitches in fabrics such as your stretch.  It really works.  It's great stuff.  If you can't find any, let me know and I can sell you some, as I have a pretty good stock of the stuff.  It comes in a pressing kit.

  4. user-60627 | | #4

    Here is what works for me when I sew Slinky on my Bernina 930:  stretch needle (you probably don't need to go larger than size 90, size 80 would probably work just fine), non-stick presser foot, and a tiny, tiny zig-zag stitch (1W, 2.5L).  And I also just ease the fabric through the feeddogs, stretching ever so gently.  Must be very gentle with the easing.


  5. sandio | | #5

    When I sew on stretch cotton with lycra I use pattern paper left over from the peices I don't use on the pattern.  Then I cut it into 1 inch stripps, turn the fabric under and sew with the paper stripps  between the fabric and the feed dog.  I also loosen the tension about 1/3 and lengthen the stitch.  Then after the seam is sewn I tear away the thin pattern stripps.  It works like a dream  The neck and sleeve hems lay flat and have just a little stretch with out stretching it out of shape.


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