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Tips & Techniques > Sewing with fine lycra jersey fabric

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Posted by: Debra H

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Member since: 7/16/04
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Posted on: 11/14/07 11:20 PM
Review Rating: Very Helpful by 35 people   
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Several people have asked me to add these tips to this file. This applies to lightweight jerseys like rayon or matte jersey that have alot of drape.
*Pre-wash all jerseys....many will shrink, especially rayon, silk and cotton.
*Use 1/2" bias strips of lightweight fusible knit interfacing (Dream Weave, Touch of Gold II, Sewers Dream, etc.) to reinforce any horizontal or bias seams, such as necklines, shoulders, and armscye. Match the length of the strips to the pattern piece, not the cut fabric, and then fit the fabric to the piece before fusing. I do not usually reinforce vertical seams unless the fabric has alot of lengthwise stretch.
*Use either a very narrow zigzag (.5 wide and 2.0 or 2.5 long)or stretch stitch for your seams (or use a 4-thread serger overlock).
*Use a walking foot attachment or make sure your push your fabric toward the foot/needle as you feed the fabric in to avoid stretching seams too much. I love my Pfaff because it some with the walking foot built in.
*Fully interface all your hems with strips of fusible knit interfacing the width of the hem before turning the hem up and stitching in place. I even do this if I use my serger coverstitch to finish the hem, because it helps the garment hang so much better. I use same type of interfacing as noted above but not cut on bias.
*If you finish your raw seam edges with an overlock stitch, make sure that you use a fairly long stitch to avoid having too much bulk, especially if you serge the seam edges together. This bulky serged edge can create bumps/waves that show on the outside, especially when you press the fabric.
*Use steam more than pressure from the iron to press open seams and to finish your garment. Rayons and silks are very prone to getting iron marks and shiny areas from the iron, even on low temps. I try to steam while holding the seam up off the ironing board or while the garment is hanging. Pressing over a velvaboard or piece of thick velvet or terrycloth helps too.
*Let rayon and silk jerseys hang for a day or two before hemming....they stretch some in length.

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OP Gal said... (12/3/07 7:53 AM) Reply
Very helpful. It's good to have all the tips for sewing this type of fabric in one place. Thanks.
nancy2001 said... (11/30/07 2:03 PM) Reply
Thank you for the very helpful tip.
lilyofthevalley said... (11/18/07 8:17 PM) Reply
Thank you for all these fine techniques in the same tip. I'm a member of your admiration society. Lily
utz said... (11/16/07 11:17 PM) Reply
Thanks - am about to hem some rayon lycra and have heard about interfacing, wondered about the necessity of it, but after reading this I'll certainly do it. Thanks for this info.
FloraNature said... (11/16/07 10:04 AM) Reply
Good tips. Thanks for sharing!
Mufffet said... (11/15/07 5:17 PM) Reply
Thanks for these tips!
Rhoda K said... (11/15/07 2:41 PM) Reply
very good tip - you should add this to the fabric glossary!
AnneMarie60 said... (11/15/07 8:24 AM) Reply
Debra: Thank you very much! --Anne
seweibhlin said... (11/15/07 7:48 AM) Reply
great help, I was just trying to hem some lycra jersey for a friend and gritting my teeth because this material is so hard to work with. Your tips are so timely. thanks.
Patzee said... (11/15/07 0:38 AM) Reply
Thanks for all the info. Great tips -- Thanks!
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