Professional advice for sewing active sportswear

With nice weather upon us, everyone gets a chance to indulge in their favorite outdoor activities. Wearing the proper sports clothing is important to help you get the most out of various outdoor activities. Sewing your own active sportswear in knit and stretch fabrics can give you the kind of comfort, style, and professional look you want.

To help home sewers avoid some of the pitfalls of sewing active sportswear, Jan Saunders, education director for White/Elna Sewing Machine Company, offers these tips.

"The stretch qualities that make the fabrics in active sportswear great for jogging and tennis are the same ones that make these more difficult to sew. It is important to allow fabric for T-shirts, velour tops, stretch cotton terry outfits, and jogging suits do what they were intended to do -- strech," says Ms. Saunders.

"One problem often encountered when working with these fabrics is that they curl, are bulky, and often stretch out of shape when sewing cross-grain seams," adds Ms. Saunders. "To avoid this, cut your project out leaving a 5/8-inch seam allowance. Set your machine on a stretch stitch, preferably the "double overlock" or "super stretch" stitch. Sew over a piece of elastic thread on the 5/8-inch stitching line without stretching the elastic thread or fabric. Stretch stitches not only save time by stitching and finishing the seam in one step, but they also build-in "memory" so seams stretch when the garment is worn, then return to their original shape after use. After the seam is sewn, trim excess fabric up to the stitch for a truly professional look.

"If you are experiencing skipped stitches, use either the multipurpose needle or special size No. 11 stretch needle. Stretch needles are usually blue in color so you can differentiate between them and your regular needles.

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.