Is Stretchy Thread a Good Idea for Making Underwear?

Stretchy thread has emerged as a revolutionary concept in the realm of clothing and textile industry, offering numerous possibilities and improvements in various applications. Amidst the ever-evolving world of fashion and comfort, one particular area that stands to benefit greatly from this innovation is the manufacturing and production of underwear. Traditionally, the materials used in underwear may provide an inherent level of flexibility, but the introduction of stretchy thread takes this elasticity to new heights.

What Is Stretchy Thread Used For?

Stretchy thread, also known as elastic thread, serves a crucial purpose in the realm of garment construction. Specifically designed for use on elastic fabrics, this unique thread can be employed in a myriad of ways. One of it’s most prominent applications lies in the creation of durable seams for highly elastic woven and knitted garments. By using stretch thread, these seams possess enhanced flexibility and resilience, accommodating the significant movements associated with items such as sportswear.

Whether it be a form-fitting workout top or a pair of compression leggings, these types of apparel demand high levels of stretchability and recovery. Regular threads lack the capability to expand and retract along with the fabric in a seamless manner, which can lead to ripped or damaged seams.

It can be employed in the creation of swimwear, underwear, and even maternity wear.

When it comes to sewing with stretchy fabrics and creating garments, choosing the right thread is essential. One option to consider is a polyester thread specifically designed for clothing construction. Designer™ is a reliable 40wt thread that not only provides strength but also offers a small amount of stretch. This makes it perfect for working with stretchy fabrics and ensuring the durability and flexibility of your finished garments.

Can You Sew With Stretchy Thread?

When it comes to working with stretchy fabric, using the right thread can make all the difference. One option is to sew with stretchy thread, which is specifically designed to provide durability and flexibility for garments made from stretchy fabrics. While not all domestic sewing machines can handle stretchy thread, many can work with polyester thread that’s designed for clothing construction.

One popular option is a 40wt thread called Designer™. This polyester thread isn’t only strong and durable, but it also offers a small amount of stretch, which makes it perfect for sewing stretchy fabrics and constructing garments.

When using stretchy thread, it’s also important to use the correct needle. A ballpoint needle or a stretch needle is recommended, as it’s designed specifically for sewing on stretchy fabrics. These needles have a rounded tip that slides between the elastic fibers of the fabric, reducing the risk of snagging or creating holes.

It provides the necessary flexibility and strength to ensure that your garments hold up well and maintain their shape over time. Just remember to choose a polyester thread designed for clothing construction, such as Designer™, and adjust your machines tension and needle accordingly for the best results.

Serger stitch (finishing edges), and zigzag stitch (for elastic). Using a high-quality polyester thread like Gütermann ensures durability and flexibility, perfect for the demands of stretchy underwear.

What Is the Best Thread to Use for Underwear?

, zigzag stitch (for seams that need to stretch) and maybe an overlock stitch (for edges that need to be finished). A nylon thread could also be a good option for sewing stretchy fabrics, as it’s good elasticity and can withstand the stress placed on the seams. However, it’s important to choose a thread that matches the fabrics stretchiness in order to ensure a durable and comfortable finished product.

When it comes to selecting a thread for underwear, it’s crucial to consider it’s properties. The thread should be strong, long-lasting, and able to withstand frequent washing and wear. Cotton thread, although versatile and commonly used, may not be the best choice for underwear as it tends to weaken over time and may not provide the necessary strength and durability. Polyester thread, on the other hand, is known for it’s strength and resistance to breakage. It’s also less likely to shrink or stretch, making it an excellent choice for sewn items that undergo constant stress, such as underwear.

Additionally, using a high-quality thread, like Gütermann, can ensure a smooth sewing experience. Such threads are often manufactured with precision, providing minimal lint or fuzz buildup during sewing, which can be particularly beneficial when working with delicate fabrics like lace or satin. This reduces the risk of unwanted fraying or damage to the fabric, ensuring a cleaner and more professional finish.

This will help to achieve a seamless and aesthetically pleasing result. However, if the aim is to create a contrasting or decorative effect, a thread in a different color can be chosen, as long as it still meets the quality and strength requirements.

How to Troubleshoot Common Sewing Issues When Making Underwear, Such as Puckering or Stretching of the Fabric.

  • Check that you’re using the correct type and weight of fabric for underwear.
  • Ensure that your sewing machine is properly threaded and tension is set correctly.
  • Use the appropriate needle size and type for your fabric.
  • Make sure your fabric is properly aligned and pinned before sewing.
  • Go slow and steady when sewing to avoid puckering or stretching.
  • Consider using a walking foot or stretch stitch on your machine for knit fabrics.
  • Adjust the pressure on your presser foot if necessary.
  • If you encounter puckering, try using a fabric stabilizer or interfacing.
  • Stretching can be minimized by using a smaller stitch length or adjusting your machine’s tension.
  • Practice on scrap fabric before working on your actual underwear project.

Watch this video on YouTube:

When it comes to sewing underwear, many experienced lingerie makers prefer using a ¼” seam allowance. This smaller allowance is particularly beneficial when stitching the intricate curves that make up lingerie designs. In fact, even if your pattern specifies larger seam allowances, it’s often recommended to reduce them to ¼” for optimal results.

What Is the Best Seam for Underwear?

The best seam for underwear depends on the specific style and fabric being used. One popular choice is the flat felled seam, which is commonly used in denim jeans. This seam provides strength and durability, making it a great option for underwear that will endure regular wear and washing. The flat felled seam is stitched twice and then pressed flat, creating a neat and professional finish.

For stretchy fabrics like spandex or lace, the best seam is the zigzag stitch. This stitch allows the fabric to stretch and move without popping the seams. It’s important to use a stretch needle and stretch thread when using the zigzag stitch, as they’re specifically designed for elastic materials.

If you prefer a barely-visible seam, the narrow rolled hem is a great option. Narrow rolled hems work well on lightweight and sheer fabrics, giving a clean and elegant look to your underwear.

Lastly, for a decorative touch, consider using a decorative stitch. There are countless options available, from scalloped edges to satin stitches. These stitches can add a unique and personalized touch to your underwear, making it stand out from store-bought options. Just be sure to use a stabilizer or interfacing underneath the fabric to prevent any puckering or distortion.

Regardless of the seam you choose, always remember to test it on scrap fabric first and make adjustments as needed.

How to Choose the Right Needle and Thread for Different Types of Fabric When Sewing Underwear

When sewing underwear, it’s important to choose the right needle and thread for different types of fabric. For lightweight and delicate fabrics like silk or lace, opt for a fine needle, such as a size 9 or 11, to prevent snags or holes. Use a lightweight polyester or silk thread that matches the fabric color. For medium-weight fabrics like cotton or jersey, a universal needle in size 12 or 14 will work well. Pair it with a medium-weight polyester thread that matches the fabric color. When working with heavy-duty fabrics such as denim or thicker knits, a denim needle in size 16 or 18 is ideal. Use a heavy-duty polyester or cotton thread that complements the fabric color. Remember, always test the needle and thread on a scrap fabric before starting your project to ensure the best results.

Can I Sew Stretchy Fabric With a Sewing Machine?

When sewing stretchy fabric, it’s important to use the right techniques and stitches to ensure a successful outcome. While a regular sewing machine can handle stretch fabrics, youll want to make a few adjustments to accommodate the materials unique properties. The narrow zigzag stitch is the ideal choice for sewing stretch fabric, as it allows the seam to stretch with the fabric without breaking or puckering.

These needles have a slightly rounded tip, allowing them to pierce through the fabric without causing snags or pulls. Next, adjust the tension settings on your sewing machine to accommodate the stretch fabric. Test the tension by sewing on a scrap piece of fabric to ensure the stitches are balanced and even.

When sewing stretch fabric, it’s also important to use the correct presser foot. A walking foot or a ballpoint needle is highly recommended as it helps to prevent the fabric from stretching or slipping while you sew. Additionally, using a ballpoint needle will ensure that the fabrics fibers arent damaged during the sewing process.

A straight stitch doesn’t allow the fabric to stretch, which may result in the seams breaking when the garment is worn or stretched.

Remember to always test your stitches on a scrap piece of fabric before proceeding with your project. Adjust the stitch length and width as needed to achieve the desired stretch and finish.


The durability and reliability of the thread should be thoroughly tested to ensure it’s longevity, as undergarments require frequent washing and continuous usage. Additionally, the potential risks and disadvantages of using stretchy thread, such as potential irritation or fit issues, must be carefully evaluated to address any concerns that might arise.