View Full Version : Sewing machine suited for sewing lycra fabric

09-27-2011, 11:56 AM
I've never been good at navigating forums like these, so please forgive me if this has been misposted - that wasn't my intention.

I'm going to be making my first real costume from scratch this year for Oni-Con, and I have the entire thing planned out, but I've never very seriously used a sewing machine before. I mean, I've fiddled with the settings on some felt once, and it worked fine... but durring my testing with various fabrics, I've found that elasticy materials jam up very easily on the Singer machine that I had.
The costume I'm making is ALL swimsuit-like material and covers nearly the entire body. I've had my eye on the Rayon Lyrca fabric at SpandexWorld.com, ordered a few swatches and it's EXACTLY what I need, but I don't want to waste it by having it clog up in the machine.

LONG STORY SHORT: what sewing machine, if any, is best for sewing thin stretchy fabrics, like lycra, without much difficulty for someone as new to this as I am?

10-02-2011, 06:44 PM
An overlock serger is the best but they're a pain in the butt to thread and for a newbie I wouldn't recommend one.. Some non-serger machines can do a faux serge stitch. My machine is actually pretty good with a lot of different fabrics, I have a Husqvarna Scandinavia 300. Not a cheap machine, but not super expensive either.

Basically I don't believe you should be learning with a lycra project. Lycra is tricky and while it is forgiving with patterning problems, it's not the easiest fabric to work with. I've made a bunch of dance costumes over the years and this is experience talking.

10-07-2011, 07:19 PM
i have a serger, but use a regular machine with a zigzag stitch instead, cause im lazy. works just fine. :)

10-16-2011, 04:32 PM
Also try a ballpointed sewing needle for your machine they're duller and will move the fibers aside, not rip through them.

Evil Bishounen
11-07-2011, 01:15 PM
Also try a ballpointed sewing needle for your machine they're duller and will move the fibers aside, not rip through them.

No, you actually don't want to use a ballpoint needle on lycra. Ballpoint needles are meant for knits that don't contain high amounts of elastic.

To sew with lycra properly, you must use a special kind of needle called a stretch needle. A stretch needle is meant for high-resistance/high-elastic knits. It has a deeper gouge in the back so that the machine hook can properly lock your top and bobbin threads together. If you use any other kind of needle, you will get tons of skipped stitches and you may also end up with thread knots in the feed dogs or bobbin area.

You also need a machine with a zigzag stitch or a mock-serge stitch. The width of your stitch is proportional to how much stretch you need, because as you stretch the fabric the stitch will become straight. So, a width setting of 1mm will have very little stretch, and in a high-tension area your thread will break.