Working With Spandex

So, you know I have an obsession with spandex and little girl leotards. They are by far my favorite thing to make – quick and easy. You also know that I’ve had my fair share of struggles when making them; tension being my biggest enemy.

I hung in there though and finally mastered it. Or it gave into me, I guess I should say. I used my stretch stitches, but I didn’t change any tension settings on my machine.. just left them on the default settings. The only thing I changed was to clean my machine, and now the tension looks great. (There must have been globs of tiny bits of tread hung in the bobbin case – I’m not the greatest at remembering to clean out that junk). Easy enough.

My next obstacle was the tightness of the elastic around the neck.

First let me explain how I sew the leg elastic. It’s easy to measure the proper length of your elastic there.. just wrap it around the leg, pull it to the proper tightness, mark it, cut it, sew the ends together and pin it evenly around the leg opening. (Remember, you work on the right side of your fabric and then flip it under and sew again.. this makes it easy to work with the spandex and still hides the elastic). As you’re sewing, work from pin to pin..pulling the elastic to equal the length of the material in each area. When you’re finished the elastic will pull snug and the spandex will be evenly distributed around the leg.

But the neck area isn’t so easy (at least for me). I’d measure, sew, and the neckline just kinda hung there a little too loose – not so much that it caused a problem.. it just didn’t look exactly right. See?

It bothered me – big time, so I worked on it. The solution was easy enough. With this last leo I chose not to pre-measure. I left the elastic un-cut, I didn’t even pin it to the fabric. I simply guided it along the edge and pulled it a bit while sewing it to the spandex. Don’t pull too much though or you’ll get bunching.. just a little more than taut and that will do nicely. Fabric tight..

Neckline solved.

My next adventure with spandex will be to make and use spandex binding around the neck and sleeves. Should be fun. I’ll let ya know. 😉



Filed under fabric, Sewing

5 responses to “Working With Spandex

  1. You did such a great job explaining the process of attaching the elastic! I am still scared as heck sewing spandex. I am always up for a good challenge, but I think I will leave it up to you to do the experimenting! I can’t wait to see how the binding comes out!

  2. It’s funny, the woman at the fabric store had me scared to death of it too. told me I was in for a big headache.. She advised that I sew over tissue paper to prevent slipping.. This is totally NOT necessary. Working with spandex is no biggie. I just wish the fabric stores around here had a better variety of it. Solids and granny patterns are all I can find.

  3. Dear Renee,
    I have a company in Southwest Florida that needs to use a binding that stretches in both the length and width direction. Spandex binding may be able to do this, however, We have no experience with using it. I would like to call you to discuss the application and get your advice. If you would be willing to help, please send me an e-mail with your contact info and I will call you. Thanks, in advance for your help.
    Herman Novak

  4. Thank you so much for this entry. For those (such as myself) that are a little challenged in this area… have you happened to have posted a video or a series of pictures that “walks” the audience through the process? I have bought patterns and everything, but without the visual, the task seems far too daunting for me to tackle. I’m scared silly!

  5. You did a great job with good advice. Thank you.

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