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I’m a beginner at this. I made a couple of dressing up costumes for the kids and that went okay. Now, I’ve been asked to make a pantomime camel for the school play.

I got some fabric which the man in the shop called ‘jersey’. It’s slightly stretchy. I cut it out and sewed the first seam on my machine and it worked okay. Then I tried the second seam, which was at a right-angle to the first and the stitching didn’t take – the threads just pulled out.

I did some experiments on some off cuts and it’s consistent: if I sew with the ‘grain’ (not sure what the proper word is) the stitching holds and if I sew across the grain, it comes apart. Here’re some photos of the front and rear of one of my experiments to show you what I mean:


I’m guessing I have some setting wrong on my machine or maybe I’m using the wrong needle or foot or something? At the moment, I’m just using standard stitch, medium tension. I did try a few other stitches but they gave the same result. Anyone have any idea what I can do?


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  • Burda_style_june_wrap_thumbnail_large

    Apr 16, 2016, 04.19 PMby Rebekah Fox

    Hi! I am happy to report that this is an easy fix. The problem you are having is commonly known as “popping stitches” and this is being caused by stitching with a standard stitch on a jersey fabric. Jersey is a knitted (not woven) fabric so the interlocking stitches stretch. What you need is a stitch that stretches as well, so both stitch and fabric can stretch at the same time. The reason why the stitches don’t pop along the lengthwise grain is because the fabric doesn’t stretch in that direction.

    OK, moving on to the remedy. It is time to set up the machine for the “wobble stitch” aka “stretch stitch.” Basically, it is a very narrow and long zigzag stitch. Adjust your stitch width to .5 and your stitch length to 2.5.

    Try it on a scrap and see how far you can stretch the fabric. If there is any popping of stitches, adjust your upper thread tension.

    You asked about needles and thread. Any thread would work, 100% polyester, 100% cotton, cotton/poly, etc… It is possible to get away with using your standard, universal needles in perhaps a size 70, but the best needle to use is a ballpoint needle in either size 70 or 80 (for medium weight jersey). Because the needle isn’t really sharp it won’t pierce the threads of the fabric and cause runs.

    Hope this helps. Best of luck!

  • Missing

    Apr 17, 2016, 02.47 PMby ssg149

    I tried the stretch stitch on its own and it still wasn’t working – it was better but it was still not right. So I went to my local John Lewis and they had some ‘Stretch’ needles which the back of the packet said were for knitted fabrics. With the stretch stitch, they did they job.

    Thank you very much for your help.

  • Burda_style_june_wrap_thumbnail_large

    Apr 17, 2016, 05.23 PMby Rebekah Fox

    So glad to hear about you finding the solution! :)

    • This is a question
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