Following on from last week’s post breaking down the benefits and drawbacks of 4 ways to sew knit fabrics for the Scroop Miramar dress & top, here is a quick little video tutorial* on how to do ‘stretch as you sew’ sewing, where you build the stretch into a straight stitch by stretching the fabric as you sew it:
It’s a great technique, and does work well if done right – the fabric stretches beautifully, and the seam is lovely and smooth from the outside, and can be pressed completely flat and open if needed.
The drawbacks are that the stitches are really small and hard to unpick, and it can be hard to control the fabric and to stretch it evenly. You can mitigate the first by lengthening your stitch slightly, but this tends to make the control issues even more of a problem.
The stress of stretching the fabric as it is sewn can also cause ripples in the fabric, but these can almost always be fixed with a bit of steam ironing. Occasionally I encounter a fabric with good stretch, but poor recovery, where the lack of recovery and the stress placed on the fabric as you stretch and sew it result in permanent warping and ripples.
The solution is to practice, and test. Practice the technique until you can stretch the fabric evenly and smoothly, without wobbling about, and always, always, test your fabric with this stitch before committing to your garment.
* my first video tutorial! It makes me dreadfully nervous, but I think I did pretty well considering I was holding the camera, talking, and sewing, all at the same time!