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How to Sew Stretch Fabrics on a Regular Machine – video

How to sew Stretch Fabrics on a Regular Sewing Machine - a video tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Did you know that you can get an especially squishy softie by sewing it up out of an old T-shirt or other stretch fabric?

Did you know that you don’t need a serger to sew stretch fabrics?

In this video I give you some basic information about sewing stretch fabrics on a regular sewing machine. I show you what kind of needle you need to use and a couple of different options for the kinds of stitches to use – all the info you really need to get started.

If you want to learn about how to choose fabrics for your projects, start with this video where I cover the basics! 🙂

Want to practice?

Buck the super soft softie bunny

This is Bartholomew. He’s made using one of my very easiest patterns and an old T-shirt – worn to buttery softness. He’s soooooo soft and huggable! Click here to get the pattern.

I’ve got another post on a similar topic, showing how to sew squishy rag dolls out of stretch fabric.

Happy sewing!

applique wendi


  1. Thanks, that was a great tutorial 🙂 I think you may have given me the courage to break out the knits!

  2. Ro SAYS...

    Thanks!!!! Cant wait yo ser more vídeos!! Congrats!

  3. Thanks all! Glad it was helpful!

  4. Very informative, can’t wait to learn more about knits.

  5. I’m so glad it was helpful!

  6. KW SAYS...

    Thanks for sharing! I’m new to sewing, and have struggled with stretchy fabrics!

  7. I struggled a lot with stretchy fabrics at first. Then for a while I avoided them completely. Then I got a serger and tried again – but it was a nightmare to thread and so I hated using it. Now I’ve learned a few tricks and I find myself using knits more and more.

  8. Anonymous SAYS...

    Liked your video Wendy, thanks. I have a straight stitch sewing machine, no zig zag on it. How can I sew stretch fabrics without a zig zag?

  9. Anonymous SAYS...

    Thank you very much Wendy!! I’m off to buy a stretch needle tomorrow (to end my bouts of cursing). :o)

  10. I’m not sure if you can sew stretch fabrics without a zigzag. I mean – you can – but only the parts that don’t need to stretch. So you can sew a skirt out of knit fabric just using a regular straight stitch, but only of you don’t need any of your seams to strecth. So the sides can definitely be sewn with a regular stitch. Around the waitband is ok if you’re using elastic and you’re just sewing a casing. But if you’re adding a knit or yoga-style waistband you need to use a stretch stitch. If this doesn’t make sense – feel free to email me directly. Click on the envelope icon in the sidebar.

  11. Thanks for the tips! Gonna give it a try now! 🙂

  12. Good luck! And welcome to the world of stretchy, comfy fabrics!

  13. Anna SAYS...

    Wendi, thanks so much for the tips on sewing stretch with a regular sewing machine! Been struggling with it a bit and you helped me a great deal! I appreciate it!

    • Wonderful Wendy – most informative and presented so well – is there a part 2 as yet???

    • Not yet – but it’s on the list. . . 🙂

  14. Anonymous SAYS...

    omg,thank you so much for the tips.I’m absolutely going to try this!

  15. Thank you so much for those tips! I’ve been swearing and almost crying because I’m sewing a stretchy fabric that I backed with satin and my machine keeps messing up. (thread breaking, bobbin getting tangled)
    By the way, I love your shirt…Obey Gravity! It’s the law!

  16. Great tip for the choice of a needle. My friend also said to buy a better needle, but she said that it needs to be sharper – well… it did not work.
    I hope the rounded needle will work better. Just one question – is rounded needle and dull sharp needle one and the same?

    • No! A dull needle often has a burr or a sharp ridge on it. That will actually snag a knit fabric. You want a needle that’s deliberately rounded.

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  18. Anonymous SAYS...

    Thank you for this! It helped me know where to look to be able to sew stretch. Thanks!

  19. Anonymous SAYS...

    I HAVE been swearing a lot at my machine…

  20. Anonymous SAYS...

    Thank you for the excellent demo. With confidence I will go out and buy that stretch needle! I am making a buff (neckerchief) for my son.

  21. Maria V. SAYS...

    Thank you for sharing this! I have a regular machine so this will come in very handy!

  22. Sylvia S. SAYS...

    Thanks for the tutorial Wendy, your instructions were clear and easy to understand. I also do not have a serger so the tricks are much appreciated.

    • wendigratz SAYS...

      Thanks! I’m glad it was helpful. 🙂

  23. helen SAYS...

    Hi, I have an old singer that only straight stitches, do you have any solution for that please? Double rows of studying? Thanks

    • I’m not sure a double row will help. The problem with a normal straight stitch is that there’s no give in the threads. You can sew stretch fabric that way – but when you try to stretch the finished piece (like to put it on) those threads will snap. If you’re making a stuffed animal a regular straight stitch will work fine – but if you’re making anything that needs to stretch after it’s finished, you’ll need to use a machine that can at least zigzag.