Home Article How to sew thin fabrics on a sewing machine

How to sew thin fabrics on a sewing machine

Choosing a sewing machine for thick and thin fabrics

Choosing a sewing machine, you can not lose sight of such a nuance as its ability to work with a particular fabric. over, the list of materials with which works well with the model you like, often does not mention the possibility of working with heavy materials or light knitwear. But do not panic! In fact, only a small fraction of sewing machines, whose characteristics are claimed the ability to sew superheavy fabrics, can easily hem, such as heavy winter jeans. And there is a way out: special accessories will help the sewing machine easily cope with any fabric. After all, without the correct selection of needle, thread and configured thread tension can only be sewn, except for kitchen towels.

For quality work with light fabrics (cambric, chiffon, voile, crepe de Chine) from a machine need a small size hole in the needle plate, a thin needle and pressure adjustment foot. With the right choice, you won’t have any problems sewing. Another thing is that not all sewing machines are so easy to set up. Especially when it comes to budget models from an unknown manufacturer with instructions in Chinese.

It is recommended to sew knitwear with a flat stitch machine and an overlock. These machines have a chain stitch that allows the seams to be elastic, and a differential conveyor prevents stretching the knitted fabric. If you want to work with knitwear, the acquisition of an overlock. just a must. Of course knitted fabrics can be sewn with an ordinary sewing machine, but then you must use the superstretch needle, a foot for knitting, a special elastic stitch (note that this stitch is not on all models of sewing machines) and your own skill, otherwise the result can be disappointing.

For heavy fabrics, you need more motor power in computer sewing machines at least 45 watts, and in electromechanical sewing machines at least 75 watts. It helps a lot to have an upper fabric conveyor. Also helps multi-toothed bottom feed comb. If your sewing machine weighs more than 8 pounds, and the construction, in general, is metal. this is also a plus when working. A high presser foot lift is necessary if the material is thick, but this is an insignificant nuance. After all, even the cheapest domestic sewing machine knows how to lift the foot at 6 mm in the first position and 12 mm in the second.

But with thick denim, tarp or drape budget sewing machines often can not cope. It is often stated that the machine can sew 8 or even 10 layers of jeans. But that’s not quite right. it can pierce, but not stitch. After all, to make a quality stitch, you need to advance the material the length of the stitch, tighten the loop inside the fabric and, in rare cases, climb through the thickenings to pass the stitches. But high-quality performance of this function domestic sewing machines do not underpower. As a result, the needle plate is simply damaged or the shuttle moves.

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How to sew thin fabrics on a sewing machine

Modern domestic sewing machines are considered versatile. They can easily sew products from denim fabrics of varying density, natural or artificial leather, silk, and even from capricious knitwear. But to do this qualitatively will only work if the seamstress will use the appropriate equipment, such as a sewing machine for heavy fabrics and suitable composition and quality threads.

Key points when choosing equipment and consumables

Beginner seamstress should understand that the new sewing machine from a well-known brand with a full set of legs. is not a guarantee that tomorrow you can already be flaunting in the new dress. To get a quality product, you need to know how to choose the right equipment and supplies.

In the arsenal of a modern seamstress should be at least 2 units of sewing equipment. The first machine should stitch in a straight line, the second. overcasting seams.

Modern household machines, except straight stitch, can perform from 3 to 700 operations, which include buttonholes and a variety of shaped stitches, simulating embroidery. Domestic overlocks can also perform several functions, such as overcasting and flat stitching. Such machines are called overlocks.

Modern domestic sewing machines can work with needles of different thickness. The thinnest of them are designed to work with:

Needles number 80-90 are usually used for medium thickness fabrics (calico, shirt fabric, suit material). Thick needles, labeled 100 and 110, are designed for sewing dense and extra-dense fabrics.

Today it is possible to buy needles for knitwear and leather, the use of which allows the most careful sewing capricious fabric.

Before you buy thread for the sewing machine, you need to pay attention not only to its color and thickness, but also to the spool. A quality consumable will have:

as well as the factory marking, by which you can determine the length of the thread on the reel, the fiber composition and purpose.

Sewing machine tuning secrets

Despite the fact that modern sewing equipment has many advantages, very often beginners seamstresses are faced with problems:

Tip for Sewing Thin Silnylon Fabric

The main reasons for this kind of problem is the improper setting of the equipment and the use of low-quality consumables (unsuitable needles and threads), as well as errors in the choice of foot and sewing programs.

The consultants of Nitka e-shop are ready to share the secrets of sewing. So, to get good stitching on denim you need to use special tempered needles (#0. 110). Simplify sewing cotton products will help foot with a stop and top conveyor, which is used when working with cashmere, drape and slippery materials (silk, stretch velour, knitted oil and imitation leather).

When sewing dresses from silk and other fine fabrics, you need to use fine threads and sharp needles #0-80. Leather and suede can be made easier with special spatula-shaped needles. The Teflon foot will help to ensure easy and correct progression of the material.

How to adjust the stitching on your sewing machine? Recently received an email from a reader of my newsletter, “How to Make Money with a Sewing Machine?”. She was asking about how to change the sewing machine from thick fabric to thin fabric and back again. Trying to answer in detail, I wrote the following text.

Sewing machine settings. How to get normal stitches?There are two types of sewing machine settings: one performed by a mechanic (or someone who understands mechanics), with screwdrivers, pliers, and sometimes even a hammer. The second type of adjustment is made by all kinds of twisting knobs, screws and buttons located on the machine. With this setting should be familiar to everyone who sits down for a sewing machine.

Consider all the adjustment options “for users”:

Comb height (bottom fabric advancer). At the Chaika is regulated in the area where the bobbin is replaced. There is a 4 position disk. The position of the cogs can be easily traced visually: for thick fabrics the cogs should protrude the most, for thin fabrics. barely protrude. For embroidery. The teeth are hidden at all.

At “Podolskaya” with a regulator of height of tines (by the way not the best modification of the machine, but also good) there are three options. Thick fabrics, thin fabrics and embroidery (the teeth are hidden). Usually this nonsense is not used, unless you do not embroider, and use only the upper position.

There is also the concept of “tightening”. Good or normal ducking is when the stitched parts are unfolded and no stitches or “basting” between the upper and lower fabrics are visible, and the seam is not pinned. Bad stretch happens when both threads are too loose. you have to tighten.

If loops form at the bottom, the first approach to solving. Increase the tension of the upper thread. However, poor thread tension. Not the only problem. See. below.

Be sure to check the tension and evenness of the bobbin thread feed by pulling on the bobbin thread when the machine is threaded. If the lower thread goes with a little tension, but freely and without jerks and seizing, then everything is normal. If too easy. There will be loops and tangles in the bobbin. If there is jerking, it is the fault of a wrong or scratched needle bobbin. Also, the bobbin can make the lower thread go very hard.

Sometimes, when the bobbin is spinning very lightly in the bobbin case, the thread is tangled or torn. The bobbin should rotate with a little friction. If the bobbin case has a special thin and flat spring “spacer”, which press and brake the bobbin then this should not happen. But such an extravagance can only be in new machines.If you have an old machine, and it is too easy going bobbin, fit the following course: cut out of paper (tracing paper) or a thin cloth (bologna) a small circle, the diameter is slightly smaller than the bobbin itself, in the middle of the circle cut a hole for the axis. Inserting this circle washer into the bobbin case. Drop a microdrop of oil on our improvised washer, and then insert the bobbin.

A little about sewing machine needles.

You need good brand name needles. Chinese cheap ones often have different burrs, blunt, bend and break quickly. As an option, you can start with them, but if seriously work. You’ll have a hard time!

If you have a Podolsk. You can buy German, Japanese or Korean (Orange) industrial machine needles. You need them to have a “thick bulb”. Take needle numbers 00, 10 and These needles fit “Podolka”, but they do not have. The “flat bevels” on the bulb, which are needed so you don’t have to think about the angle at which you put the needle, t.к. it itself is set as necessary. With prom. needles need to think about the correct insertion of the needle, and the advantage here is that imported industrial needles are usually of good quality. Needles for domestic machines, may be more expensive, with the same or worse quality.

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Sewing machine needles for sewing knitwear

This article is structured to give you an idea not only of knitting machines, but also advice on how to sew knitwear on an ordinary straight-line machine like a Chaika. So pay close attention to all the tips of the master, they are also suitable for conventional machines.

Here, for example, you should know that you need to use special sewing needles for sewing knitwear. Often the box or package even has a corresponding inscription: JERSEY. This is the name of the knitted fabric on the basis of which modern stretch fabrics are woven.

Sewing knitwear stitches with a normal sewing machine

Straight stitch

Knitwear can be stitched with normal straight stitch. But to do this, you should pay attention to the following tips:

  • Set the stitch length not more than 2 mm. Better. 1,5 mm.
  • Sew 1-1.2 cm from the edge.
  • While stitching, the fabric should be slightly stretched with both hands at the front and back of the foot. It is to prevent the threads from tearing while you are wearing it. Stretch hosiery only at the point of the stitching.
  • After the knit stitching is done, you need to bend the seam allowances and iron them out.

Regular straight stitch can be used on fabrics that are moderately stretchy.

Knit stitch

This type of stitch is used in some modern sewing machines. The stitch is very elastic and has a zipper-like shape so that the fabric can be perfectly stretched and the thread that binds it does not tear when heavily stretched.

No particular recommendation for hosiery stitching. The fabric does not need to be stretched, as the zipper stitch allows the material to stretch.


This stitch allows you to simultaneously mill the workpieces and process their seams. It has an aesthetic appearance and is excellent for working with knitwear.

Overlock stitching is an imitation of an overlock stitch. However, in contrast, this seam is less elastic. It is very strong, and not bad for stretchy, thin knits. Overcasting stitch is often used on close-fitting clothing.

When sewing, the fabric does not need to be stretched as the stitch is slightly stretched. But great care needs to be taken with reverse stitching. In some places, it is possible that the stitch may thicken, causing it to lose its elasticity and may rupture if it is stretched too much.

Several kinds of overcasting stitch can be used in a modern sewing machine. In addition to their external differences, they can be used in different conditions. So before you start, it is better to read the manual of a particular sewing machine.

Some types of overlock stitches resemble the four-strand overlock stitch. However, this is nothing more than an outward resemblance, since a domestic sewing machine is not capable of threading in the same way as an overlock. So it is advisable to sew 0.5 mm from the edge of the seam, and then carefully trim off the excess fabric. This will allow you to get a perfectly flat and beautiful edge.

How to Sew Lightweight or Sheer Fabrics (Organza, Tulle, Chiffon)


This is a classic stitch used in many domestic sewing machines. It is excellent for working with knitted fabrics, because it does not shrink the fabric and has sufficient margin of safety. The size of the zigzag stitches is adjustable, allowing you to work with different materials.

The following tips should be heeded for sewing knitwear:

  • The average stitch length is 2.5-3 mm.
  • Stitch width of 1 mm. For small items can be reduced to 0.5 mm.
  • The seam is laid at a distance of 1.5 cm from the edge.
  • There is no need to stretch the material in the milling process. If there are difficulties when moving it, you should loosen the presser foot.
  • When the stitching is complete, bend the seam allowances and iron them out.

Double stitching

The peculiarity of this method is the execution of two parallel stitches. They can be both straight and zigzag. The last option is preferred because of the elasticity of the seam.

  • Sew the first stitch along the beveled stitching line.
  • The next stitch is 0,5 cm away from the first one, and runs along the seam allowance.
  • Cut off excess fabric along the last stitch.

If you are using straight stitches, remember to pull the fabric slightly taut when sewing the knitwear.

Double-needle stitch

This type of stitching can be used on any kind of fabric. A stretchy zigzag stitch is created by whip stitching.

  • Carrying out the stitching with a double needle, make sure that the right needle runs along the beveling line of the stitching, and the left needle runs along the seam allowance.
  • Adjust the thread tension on an unwanted scrap of fabric. For this, watch the quality of the seam. If it turns out weak (on the wrong side does not form a zigzag), then the tension should be increased. If between the stitches appeared groove, it is an indication of too much tension of the fabric.
  • After you have adjusted the tension of the thread, pull the hands of the fabric is not necessary.

How to sew silk with a sewing machine and by hand: tips and personal experience

This amazing fabric is considered one of the most difficult in handmade. Some mistresses are embarrassed by the fact that such material slips. Others are annoyed by its friability, others do not like that it can “pull” the sewing machine when sewing parts. That’s why there are a lot of tips, like how to put some cotton under the stitching. Some even stitch silk together. with paper so it does not slip.

How to sew silk

Looking ahead, I say: I coped with the silk fabric and without these tricks. The slippery and incredibly tricky natural satin, I cut just on the floor, without putting anything under the fabric. I also milled without any improvised means. But some peculiarities of working with the comrade seta are still there. I’ll tell you about them now.

I understood how to sew silk, even in the store. In front of me was a prime example of how not to handle such a delicate material. A luxurious Italian silk satin pinned with pins in some places and even with a knife. to put duct tape on it. To do with this fabric. is like piercing nuts with a diamond In short, in such a “boutique” this patrician of quality felt like a king in exile.

Of course, the cut is punctured in several places and there is a noticeable band of tape. A 10% discount reconciled me to this circumstance. Fortunately, after decontamination (washing and ironing) the holes smoothed out. But the scotch tape mark didn’t go anywhere, so the discount is fair.

And all this rant to that I have drawn a conclusion: to sew silk it is necessary to reduce to a minimum (and even to avoid at all)!) The appearance of these punctures.

Special cutting. Actually, when cutting a great probability of holes in the most visible places because the components of the pattern we bind with pins. To avoid this, I invented my own way how to cut silk. I’m reminded of the paper dolls we used to dress in drawstring clothes when we were kids. Remember? I drew small rectangles to the dresses, which had to be bent.

Something like these rectangles I decided to attach to the pattern. This allows the pins to pierce the fabric in places that will hide behind the stitching. And the holes wouldn’t show. (Perhaps this method was invented by someone else, but I have not yet seen it). The same way I propose to cut chiffon, not only silk, but even synthetic.

thin, fabrics, sewing, machine

Here is what it looks like in the photo. With large pins with red “caps” I pinned the rectangles to the pattern. And directly to pierce the fabric used small thin pins:

How to cut silk

Only snares! A convenient cutting wheel is no good in this case. So I will have to work hard and lay the snares of the. (Now you understand why the tailoring of natural silk in the studio often charges a surcharge).

A fine machine needle. We need to take the same one as for sewing organza. (For details about working with this material I made an article here: How to sew organza). This is a 70 needle marked SES. that doesn’t tear the fabric fibers.

Here are all the basic details to prevent tearing of silk when sewing and basting. I would also add that if you have little experience in sewing, it is better to take up uncomplicated styles from such a delicate fabric. I consider myself a beginner amateur, sewing is for me. of the hobby, so the model of my chosen dress is extremely simple.

I would also add that silk is not the same as silk. I was talking about complex and slippery satin. But there is such a silk. like itching. This is quite a dense and easier to work with fabric. From it, by the way, you can sew even a pencil skirt and a tight dress! Before proceeding to the difficult silk, you can try working with scales, which, in addition to everything else, is very beautiful. There’s a lot on the internet these days about its health benefits. They say it is good for the skin (like other natural silks).

And I found an interesting natural fabric from mulberry silkworms, which, unfortunately, I do not know the name of. It’s a dense silk with elastane and lurex. It’s kind of like fine wool. With it, you don’t have to worry about punctures. It reacted to ripping as well as wool or dense cotton, no marks were left behind. I made a camisole dress out of this amazing fabric (from Burda pattern). I advise to start with dense silk to get used to this material and not be afraid to work with thinner and more complex fabrics.

P. S. You know what silk is labeled as silk or seta (Italian). By the way, the composition can be printed directly on the fabric of course, from the edge, not on the main pattern. For example, like this:

Before sewing, adjust the sewing machine

Before you sew with the sewing machine, you must adjust the stitching, i.e. е. The tension of the upper and lower threads. String in the stitching should not loop, weave threads or otherwise knot stitch, should be in the fabric, not on the surface. Stitch must not be pulled down after joining on the machine. It is easy to check for proper thread tension as follows. Take a piece of fabric with which to work in the future, fold in half and sew almost along the fold (at a distance of 0.1-0.2 cm). Stretch the resulting seam, if it breaks, see which thread is broken. upper or lower, and loosen the tension of one of them. Check the stitching and adjust until the stitching is no longer torn. If the upper or lower threads are not tensioned enough, sometimes the defect. The “grin” of the seam. When ironing, product parts are pulled apart and threads become visible in the seam. To correct this defect increase the tension of the hook thread and adjust the tension of the upper thread.

This is a universal guide for threading any sewing machine and winding the bobbin. A video with professional commentary will help you learn how to correctly tuck your sewing machine.

Tricks for sewing knitwear with an ordinary sewing machine

Many who have tried to sew knitwear on an ordinary sewing machine have noticed that often the machine refuses to make a nice and even stitch. In the knitted stitch is formed skips, the lower thread loops, and sometimes breaks off. Why it happens and how you can fix it?

First, for sewing fabrics from knitwear uses a special knitting machine, it is called a flat sewing machine. flat sewing machine or chain stitch machine. The stitch on the back side is similar to a “pigtail” stitch. Look at any factory treatment of a t-shirt, and you’ll see.

Second. second, for stitching the sections of knitwear knitting overlock is used, which has a differential (stretching the fabric) rail while laying a stitching chain stitch.

And thirdly, for sewing knitwear used special needles and threads. This last point is crucial for your sewing machine, so let’s find out what needle to sew knitwear, what thread to use for quality stitching, and other factors that affect stitch quality.

Needles for sewing knitted fabrics

There are many reasons that affect the quality of the stitch when sewing knitwear. One of them is the wrong needle. Universal needles, which are often used in sewing machines “bad” for sewing knitwear. Not only can the sharp edge of the needle damage the weave of knitted fabric, it can also cause too small a loop near the eye of the needle. And the hook spout simply passes over it without picking up the upper thread. The result is a skip.

Replace the ball point needle with a ball point needle designed for sewing stretch fabrics. A needle with such a point does not pierce the fibers of knitted fabric, but passes between them and creates the best conditions for loop formation. These needles are marked “Jersy” on the package, and “ball point” means the needles have a rounded point.

However, you should know that buying a pack of special knitting needles does not always solve the problem, especially for older type sewing machines, such as Podolskaya or Chaika. There are a number of other factors, which will be discussed below.

This diagram shows a knitted stretch-type weave. Externally, it resembles knitting with spokes or on a machine, that’s why it is called knitting fabric. The “springy” loops give fabrics many useful qualities, such as stretchability, low crease, etc., but also create certain difficulties when sewing them on conventional domestic sewing machines.

Threads for knitted fabrics and their tension

No straight-line machine “likes” to sew knitwear. Knitwear for a shuttle stitch sewing machine is a challenge that not all machines can withstand. True, modern household machines are quite able to cope with this task, subject to certain requirements. As you have already realized, one of them. a quality thread and its correct tension.

Sewing threads need to be thin, elastic, and strong. Basically, all kinds of modern threads available on sale in the department of fittings, meet these parameters. Nevertheless, you need to experiment to determine which type of thread is best for your machine.

Naturally, you should “forget” about thick finishing threads, and even more so about threads from grandma’s old stock. Ideally, for sewing knitwear, thread on large cone bobbins are suitable, but since they are quite expensive, use thread on small spools, like “Ideal”.

Before you sew knitwear need to properly adjust the tension of the upper and lower threads.

Normally the bottom thread should not be adjusted, but when sewing knitwear it often helps to eliminate looping thread in the stitch. If when you pull the upper thread looping at the bottom does not stop, then try to slightly loosen the tension of the lower thread.

Note that when you are sewing on knit fabric, the stitch will be looser in one direction (usually crosswise). This “effect” cannot be eliminated with the tension. Simply, the knit under the influence of the foot and teeth rkike stretches, and then takes its former shape and the stitches loosen. By the way, the presser foot pressure also needs to be adjusted.

To correct this use stabilizers (pads) including pre-cut strips of newspaper. A paper strip is placed under the fabric, and afterwards, it is carefully pulled out of the seam. By the way, it is often this “tricky” way that can eliminate skips in the stitching of a Podolskaya or Chaika sewing machine.

But, of course, this is too extravagant a method, which is undesirable to use. If you have replaced the needles and picked up thread, adjusted the tension, and loops and skips do not disappear, then you need to adjust the sewing machine. But setting up to sew knitted fabric can only be experienced master.

What is the difference between a knitted overlock machine

Virtually all modern household overlocks are knitted overlocks. The main difference between the knitted overlock from the usual is that the knitted overlock has a special device rail (teeth under the foot). During operation, the rail specifically compresses (stretches) knitted fabric, and after weaving the fabric back to stretch (pulled down). As a result, the seam is tensile and can withstand more tensile stress.

For example, if you stitch on a regular machine knitted fabric, and at the same time strongly tension the threads to eliminate slack in the stitching, you get a very nice stitch, but not strong. Stretch this area by hand, and your beautiful seam will simply burst. That is the main purpose of knitting machines. to make elastic and stretchy stitches.

Overlocks with a differential rail are not only capable of sewing knitwear. This feature is easy to turn off, with a special knob. And even, on the contrary, you can “force” the slat to collect the fabric. You need to know that overlocks of older models, including overlock class 51 can not qualitatively perform processing of knitted fabrics. And do not be surprised if the connecting seams of knitted garments, processed only with a three-strand overlock, will eventually burst.

Other reasons why the machine does not sew knitwear

And lastly. Sewing machine Podolsk or Chaika sewing machine often refuses to sew knitwear at all. And even the master can not always adjust it to sew knitted fabric. If you want to check the work of a master sewing machine repair, ask at the end of the work to stitch a piece of the most “harmful” knitted fabric. If the stitch will not have even one skip, then it is a “good” and experienced craftsman.

Older machines have a different way of adjusting the interaction of the needle and hook spout. After all, at the time when they were released, no one suspected that such fabrics will be used. That’s why modern machines are set up to sew knitwear, and older machines need to be readjusted.

Why the sewing machine collects fabric: consider the main causes and methods of elimination

There are quite a few options, in which the machine does the stitches sloppily, which leads to the appearance of pulling the material into an accordion. Such malfunctions include:

  • A strong hold on the upper thread. This happens when the tension regulator is incorrectly adjusted. To fix this, you need to reduce the thread tension. the regulator turns counterclockwise.
  • Improperly selected needle. Sewing machine manufacturers make recommendations in the instruction manual for the use of certain needles, depending on the type of fabric. leather, silk, denim, knitwear, etc.д.
  • Problems with the compensating spring. This component of the sewing machine is used to smooth out the movement of the thread puller, as well as to ensure quality stitching. If the sewing machine is pulling on the fabric because of this, you need to loosen the spring tension.
  • The thread is too tightly clamped in the bobbin cap.
  • Inappropriate threads are used for the fabric: too thick or thin. To get beautiful stitching, you need to remember about the correct ratio of elasticity of the fabric and threads. The material should have a smaller index. Keep in mind that the thinner the needle and thread used, the more likely it is that the stitch will be neat and straight.
  • Different thicknesses of thread are used for sewing. That way, the lower thread, which is thinner, will not be pulled into the material during stitching, and the stitches will be taut. Therefore, for the sewing process, you need to choose threads with the same number.
  • Work with thin knitwear and other material under the condition of high pressure foot on the fabric. To correct this problem it is necessary to unscrew the threaded bushing. It is used to adjust the presser foot pressure. If after this action the fabric still gathers, you can shorten the spring by 4 coils. If a tine lift control is fitted, it should be set to the “silk” option.
  • The presser foot may have a slightly roughened bottom surface, which may cause the fabric to be pulled along the presser foot during sewing. In this case it needs to be sanded down.
  • Conveyor teeth may be raised very high. If the height of the teeth is too high, the fabric will not move better. The normal value is 1-1.2 mm.

A bad result can also be obtained if several factors are present at the same time. In this case you need to check all parts of the sewing machine.

Tips for Sewing Lightweight Fabric



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