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Sewing stretchy knit lace material ?how?

mompea | Posted in Talk With Us on

Hi all. I’m principly a lurker and occasionally post to the boards, but I’ve got a sewing question and I’m searching for input at various groups that I belong to.

I purchased a New Look pattern # 6559, an easy pattern to make……maybe not.I am hoping to try and make the shrug like the model is wearing out of a stretchy knit lace material. There are no directions for handling the stretchy lace material that the package recommends.I’ve sewn many things, but never a stretchy knit lace. My questions are: I understand that a clear elastic should be used to reinforce the shoulder seam and prevent stretching, right? I would like to use my serger to make a “lettuce” edge on the rest of the shrug. I’ve read wooly nylon is best used, and in the 2 lower loopers and the right needle-I’m planning on a narrow rolled hem, hence the use of the right needle only. I thought I would minimize the stretching when I sew by using tearaway paper interfacing. Now, if I don’t want the front of the shrug to stretch out don’t I need to leave some ?other material? caught in the serging? Can I use the clear elastic for this? I can see myself sewing the elastic so just a fine 1/4″ is left and that will give the outfit shape and substance and it will hold its shape…correct?

Can anyone think of anything I’m missing or not planning properly?

Thanks in advance for any help you can give.

Mompea..wish I knew how to include a hyperlink so you could easily see the shrug I’m talking about. It’s listed under New patterns at the Simplicity.com site


  1. FitnessNut | | #1

    I'm really having difficulty in understanding what it is that you don't want to stretch out. If you want to lettuce the edge with a rolled hem, you want it to stretch....in fact, you should stretch the fabric as you serge. Am I missing something?

    1. mompea | | #2

      The top I'm looking at making is a shrug.......I would like the lower edge and around the back of the piece to lettuce.  Is that any clearer? Below is a link to the pattern I'm talking about and the material I'm using is very similar to what the model is wearing. Thanks so much for your help.

      On second thought I think I'll just make  the entire piece have a lettuce edge and make things simpler for myself.


      Edited 3/7/2006 5:41 pm ET by mompea

      1. FitnessNut | | #3

        Cute shrug!FWIW, I would lettuce the entire way around the neckline/front opening/hem edge. There really is no way to change gears between one finish and another and have it turn out looking nice.

      2. mem | | #4

        Very nice . I have done this but used normal thread in the needle and only one lot of wooley nylon in the upper looper.Just set your machine to rolled hem and the stretch as you sew where you dont want it to lettuce dont stretch although I think it still will a bit. Perhaps you could fiddle with the differential feed a bit and the take note of the setting which gives you the straightest edge, then as you come around the edge just stop the machine alter the settings and the revert to the other when you come back to the other side.

        1. mompea | | #5

          Thanks so much for answering the question about the wooly nylon and where oh where to thread it, upper, lowers,  one, both or all 3.......such a simple little shrug and so much confusion. Must be my brain damage showing it's ugly head! :-D

          And thanks for the thought about just sewing it all with a lettuce edge. That makes sense to me as I ...duh!...study the pattern a little bit more.

          Thanks to all who took time to help me. If you have any other suggestions....I still haven't started it yet!

          1. Dorothy80516 | | #6

            If you haven't stafted yet, make sure you save some of your scraps for test swatches, to make sure the lettuce edge does what you want.  (Maybe try test swatches with different color threads on your serger if you're going to play with different tensions.  With the different colors of threads you can more easily see which of the threads you need to fiddle with.)

            Also, you may not need wooly nylon at all.   I've had pretty good luck on stretchy laces using plain old cotton/poly thread.

            Good luck!


          2. MaryinColorado | | #7

            I would use water soluble stabilizer if the fabric is washable,  You just rinse it away, to avoid pokies if you need to or to protect the fabric or get a smoother rolled edge.  I use cone thread or a decorative thread in the needles and wooly nylon  in the loopers as it will be softer against your skin.  Remember to prestretch your invisible elastic a couple times, it does work for me as a shoulder stabilizer though I have only tried a few times.  Practice adjusting your differential feed.  I wonder if invisible polyester monofilament would be a good thread choice for the needles?  Adjust tension accordingly, probably tighter needle tension with this thread for a balanced stitch.  Have fun!  Sounds very cute.  Shrugs are so in vogue now. 

            A great book is Serger Secrets.   A cool sight is Linda Lee Originals, Home of the Happy Serger... mary

          3. mompea | | #8

            Thanks for the input. I've just ordered Serger Secrets and The Ultimate Serger Answer Guide after reading and evaluating all the book reviews. I have been working with trial pieces and I'm not sure which finish I like the best yet.....the rolled hem or the 3 thread serged finish. I'd better make up my mind quickly or I'll use up all my material practicing.


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