Swimwear Sewing, Wide Home Dec Fabrics

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How do I sew swimwear fabric?

Swim fabrics are made with Lycra–a VERY stretchable knit that allows for form fitting styles, and that holds its shape when wet, so you don’t end up with a sagging swimsuit in the water. The best way to sew this fabulous fabric is with a serger, if you have one. Use a 3- or 4-thread overlock stitch to finish the edges and sew the seam in one pass. Since swimwear patterns usually have a 1/4 inch seam, a serged seam is ideal. If you don’t have a serger, use a narrow zigzag stitch to build stretch into the seam.

It’s imperative to use a stretch or ballpoint needle on Lycra to avoid leaving holes in the seam that could later make bigger, unsightly holes as you wear the suit.

To finish edges of straps, necklines and leg openings, use chlorine-proof elastic (the clear type works well) and stitch it directly to the suit, turn to the inside and topstitch with a zigzag to hold it in place. Another option is to insert the elastic in a casing, depending on the pattern directions.

Be sure to follow the pattern guidesheet when cutting a swimsuit to get the maximum fabric stretch in the proper direction–the suit’s fit depends on it.

Is there a way to join sheer curtain panels for a wider window?

Usually individual panels are simply placed side by side on a common rod. However, if you really want to hook them together without removing side hems, I’d recommend a line of fusible thread at the overlap. Because of its size, a 1/4″ overlap would be barely visible and the narrow thread will hold the layers  in place. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for applying the thread and use a press cloth to avoid damaging the sheer fabric. Test-press on a hem allowance first.

How can I make a tablecloth without seaming the fabric?

Several manufacturers now make fabrics up to 120″ wide for home decorating uses and also for quilt backings. The added width allows for seamless construction of curtains, drapes and tablecloths. Check your local fabric and quilting stores for the wider goods, or search online for “extra-wide fabrics” to find vendors. It allows you to have a more professional appearance for your home dec projects. For more information on making tablecloths, see Guideline #7130 Table Treatments: Tablecloths.