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This archived content is from Mary Wilkins’ sewing and quilting message board “Sew What’s New,” which was retired in August 2007. It is being provided by “Sew What’s Up,” which serves as the new home for many members of “Sew What’s New.”
From: MaryW
Date: 04-07-2005, 01:27 PM (1 of 15)
Let's have a discussion on lycra. Some people love it, others have never ventured into sewing lycra. Lycra is usually a combination of nylon with cotton, linen or wool. The lycra gives stretch in one or both directions.

Nylon lycra is used for biking shorts and bathing suits as well as skating costumes.

What are your experiences with lycra. Who has worked with it?
owner/editor of Sew Whats New
User: MaryW
Member since: 06-23-2005
Total posts: 2542
From: Sherri
Date: 04-07-2005, 02:33 PM (2 of 15)
I use Lycra alot for gymsuits and skating dressses for my daughter.

I love a four way stretch with memory.

My website
User: Sherri
Member since: 02-07-2001
Total posts: 357
From: Magot
Date: 04-07-2005, 02:37 PM (3 of 15)
I wish my belly was like that!

I have never sewn with lycra - not really ventured into sewing knits/stretchy things at all - I understand on a serger you would use wooly nylon - but I haven't a clue what this is. I've never seen it in the shops here.
love and kisses, Jan
Cells a Speciality
DNA to order.
User: Magot
Member since: 12-22-2002
Total posts: 3626
From: DorothyL
Date: 04-07-2005, 04:28 PM (4 of 15)
I've made a couple things with woven fabrics with a touch of Lycra. I have one thin, unlined red jacket that has lasted for about 100 years (OK but it's gotta be 10) and is still in real good shape. It had just a touch of stretch and I made it just like any woven fabric of the same weight.
User: DorothyL
Member since: 12-09-2002
Total posts: 3883
From: SummersEchos
Date: 04-07-2005, 05:01 PM (5 of 15)
About 10 years ago I made my YD a bathing suit. I did not enjoy working with that fabric at all. The bathing suit came out fine, but I had a few maddening moments.

User: SummersEchos
Member since: 09-29-2004
Total posts: 884
From: hopalongdonna
Date: 04-07-2005, 05:21 PM (6 of 15)
I love a touch of it mixed with cotton for pants. Just enough give to make them feel good to sit down instead of straight cotton or denum (sp). When I make pants that is what I look for. I am so short if I buy ready to wear i'm cutting off half the leg so I just make them that way I can get a pair of pants for my gs who is 9 months. So two for one is good. Donna :up: :Canada:
User: hopalongdonna
Member since: 01-03-2005
Total posts: 24
From: Just Duckee
Date: 04-07-2005, 05:58 PM (7 of 15)
I sew quite a bit with lycra and so far, have not had much trouble with it. I do use wooly nylon most of the time on the serger or if I'm hemming on the machine, i use it hand-wrapped on the bobbin. I mostly sew slinky, stretch denim, and cotton with lycra.
User: Just Duckee
Member since: 05-29-2002
Total posts: 10
From: mommydionne
Date: 04-07-2005, 06:03 PM (8 of 15)
I like lycra (aka spandex) I try to remember to use a ball point needle and that helps, I most recently used a light weight lycra to line a see through knit top (sandra betzina wrap top) and it gave it a nice feel and moves well.
I like 3% or so in bottom weights, lets your pants have a little give and recovery for sitting without bagging the seat (I hate the droopy drawers look :nah: )
User: mommydionne
Member since: 01-08-2004
Total posts: 838
From: Skye
Date: 04-07-2005, 07:09 PM (9 of 15)
I like the stuff and not had problems sewing with it. Love that bit of stretch in pants and tops.
Magot- I sew all my swimwear and usually use a good quality polyester thread. I use a 3 thread stitch 2 needles and lower looper the upper looper is covered not near my notes but I do have to alter the tensions but you get a lovely s.t.r.e.t.c.h.y stitich just what you need in "togs"
User: Skye
Member since: 09-28-2000
Total posts: 233
From: LeapFrog Libby
Date: 04-07-2005, 07:30 PM (10 of 15)
I have used Lycra for girls swimsuits several times.. Fantastic to work with.. I copied an old swimsuit because we could not find a pattern she liked.. I have just last year made the bookcovers from lycra for the grands.. The stores wanted a fortune for them at the beginning of the school year and I had scraps big enough and Amie gave me instructions on a thread here. (that reminds me, where in the world is she???) I just used the regular serger thread for the book covers.. wooly nylon in the swimsuits on the loopers, but regular thread in the needles.. I also used the clear elastic in the legs, we have not had any problems with that.. (I understand they say don't use it because of its reaction to chlorine)
Sew With Love
User: LeapFrog Libby
Member since: 05-01-2002
Total posts: 2022
From: Sancin
Date: 04-08-2005, 04:05 AM (11 of 15)
I find that public swimming pools and particularly hot tubs are very destructive on bathing suits, expecially when regularly doing aqua fit. I usually make up about 3 bathing suits at a time - considerably cheaper than purchased suits as they don't take much material. The heavier weight lycra seems to last longer. It is a very forgivable fabric to sew on, using a ballpoint needle and chlorine proof elastic. I use a fine zig zag stitch for vertical seams and stretch stitch for the horizontal lines.
Good idea about copying a pattern. I am a short fat lady and can never get any thing to fit. In the past several years I have made 2 piece suits (tank top and shorts- pattern made from underpants) in good old fashioned - so old fashioned it is hard to find - polyester crimpilene - virtually indestructable. I use it only for aquafit and embellish it a little with appliques so it looks like is a real bathing suit. Next time I may make t shirt top as my shoulders tend to get cold doing exercises.

Sancin :wink:
*~*~*~* Nancy*~*~*~* " I try to take one day at a time - but sometimes several days attack me at once."
User: Sancin
Member since: 02-13-2005
Total posts: 895
From: Sherri
Date: 04-09-2005, 12:03 AM (12 of 15)
If you watch Ebay you can Lycra bolt ends from bathing suit manufacturers for not that much money.

My website
User: Sherri
Member since: 02-07-2001
Total posts: 357
From: mamadus
Date: 04-09-2005, 05:05 AM (13 of 15)
good tip Sherri... thanks!!

life is too short, not to explore
User: mamadus
Member since: 12-31-2004
Total posts: 492
From: Deb Franson
Date: 04-09-2005, 07:47 PM (14 of 15)
Hi all,Something that I have begun using cotten knit lycra for is sewing some wonderful non pinching underwear. I had been making matching sports bras and underwear for dd, and thought, that I should have something beautiful too. The sports bra's don't have enough support for me, but I love the pretty undies, and they make up so fast, and wear wonderfully. I use 100% cotton knit for the lining, and they are just great.
Deb in MN
User: Deb Franson
Member since: 11-23-2000
Total posts: 2
From: Serenity
Date: 04-09-2005, 08:00 PM (15 of 15)
I use Lycra when I manufacture for a lady in NH. All of her children and adult shawls are made of Lycra. She sells under the name Sewing for Special Needs.
They are a big hit in the special needs industry. Must be because she keeps me fairly busy with new orders.

I do use the wooly nylon in the serger and it works like a charm.

Time for some soothing tea. It is getting a bit chilly here. :coffee2:

"The struggle is not greater than the goal". Be blessed. Stay encouraged.
User: Serenity
Member since: 01-12-2005
Total posts: 85
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