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still having stretch fabric problems

blessedtosew | Posted in General Sewing Info on

I am still having problems sewing that stretch fabric I posted a pic of that had wonky topstitches.  I tried a ball point needle and still had the bad stitches and then I tried a stretch needle and still had the same problem.  Last night I stabilized the fabric before I sewed it and I am not having the wonky stitches anymore, but it is wanting to gather along the topstitches.  I am at a loss.  What else should I do.  I put my machine on the highest thread tension.  Do I need to go in the other direction and use a loose tension?  But, that doesn’t seem right because I always use a loose tension if I want to gather something.  Help.


  1. sewelegant | | #1

    My guess is you need a walking foot... if you don't want to go out and purchase one, try loosening your presser tension (I cannot do this on my machine, but lots of machines can)      It seems to me like you are having too much pressure asserted onto the fabric when you stitch and it distorts it.  Does that sound reasonable?

    1. blessedtosew | | #2

      I am using a walking foot.

      1. From my Stash.... | | #3

        Did you use any interfacing (such as tricot) to help stabilize it before stitching it?

        But if all else fails....

        Since you are having this much trouble, are you really really wedded to the idea of the top-stitching around the neckline?  It might just be easier to add a band instead.

        1. blessedtosew | | #4

          Adding a band sounds like a fantastic idea.  I had not thought of that.   I am going to do that and forget the topstitching.  Thank you so much!!!

          1. denise | | #5

            I  have just done a T shirt course,  and we used twin needles for sewing areas like the neck and hem,  worked wonderfully.

            I would really recommend the courses on strech fabric,  I did one around 33 years ago but brushed up my knowledge through courses on the internet just recently.

          2. blessedtosew | | #6

            What course are these?

          3. jjgg | | #7

            You need to loosen the top tension. Tightening it up is what is causing it to gather.The other thing you can try is using wooly nylon in the bobbin.

          4. blessedtosew | | #8

            I just wanted to let everyone know that I finally finished the dress.  I ended up making facings for the neckline.  Then I sewed very close to the edge by loosening the top tension and the dress turned out pretty.  Thanks everyone.

          5. Teaf5 | | #9

            Thanks for letting us know the outcome! It's nice to hear when a project comes out well; gives me inspiration to keep trying.

          6. rodezzy | | #10

            Can we see pictures of the dress.  You don't have to be in it, just want to see what a beautiful job you did.

          7. blessedtosew | | #11

            I will post a pic of me in it.  I am planning on wearing it to church Sunday so I will take a pic and post it then.  Thanks.

          8. rodezzy | | #12

            Oh wonderful, that's something to look forward to.

          9. blondielou | | #13

            I always use tons of knits and I am unusual in that I don't do the typical edges for knits or the topstitchng....  What I do is use whatever neckline I want (and it is never a high t-shirt type or other round boring standard neck style).  I like V's, square, boat, U neck, sweetheart and I also have interesting back neck shapes as well.


            How I do this is by using fusible interfacing.  Both on the garment (cut 1/4 to 5/8" shorter than the facing and the edge cut with pinking shears or cut 5/8" off with a wave edge rotary cutter blade.  Fuse interfacing, front and back, directly to the garment.   I have a steam press so it is fused on very firmly, with a lot of steam and pressure.....if you don't have one, do the same the best you can with the iron you have (press from both right and wrong sides).  Then sew the facings and also put the fusible interfacing on the facings.


            The combinaton of interfacing on both the garment AND the facings gives added stability and the neckline looks great for a long time.  I suggest also pressing the facing up and edge stitching so the seams lie flat.  You can top stitch or not, totally your decision.  'Also, you can use stitch witchery between the garment's fusible interfacing and the interfaced facing to have the facing stay down and in place.


            With my ballroom dancing, it is very important that my clothes fit well and that everything stays secure and nothing moves around when it shouldn't!



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