Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Seraflex fantastic elastic sewing thread - the test


Seraflex fantastic elastic sewing thread

Sewing with Seraflex fantastic elastic sewing thread

Of course I had to try the new sewing thread seraflex!
Read so many goods things about it and am curious as to the stretchability of 65% with a straight seam.
Seraflex is washable at 60 degreed and can be ironed on the cotton setting. It's even suitable for the dryer.
Use this sewing thread for all stretch and knitted fabrics like jersey and lycra.
I would say:

Thé sewing thread for your summer wardrobe


Winding the bobbin and threading the sewingmachine

On the colourchart it states: wind your spool loosely and loossen the tension on the machine. That's because if you wind it tight you will have used up the stretch of the thread.
And stretched out thread doesn't give anymore when you've sewn the seam...

So I sat behind the machine and threaded it.
To ensure a loosely winded spool I've led the thread by another route instead of the usual route. 

Picture 1: Threading the normal route
Picture 2: Threading the alternate route with seraflex

Of course all machines are different, check your machine and try an alternate route...
Picture 3: Threading the spoolthread on the new route
Picture 4: Threading the spoolthread further
It's not really clear on the pictures but on picture 3 you see the thread coming out on the left and on picture 4 there are two threads on the right.

After winding the spool I was putting it in the machine when I thought of my cordonnet spoolholder:
My machine has an extra spool holder for thicker thread which has a loosser tension. You can also adjust the tension in the normal spool holder but please don't touch it if you're not experienced with this. It's sometimes hard to get it back to normal afterwards.
Does your machine lack this other spool holder? Then just use the normal one.

Than it's time to thread the needle thread. That's done the normal way. On the info of seraflex it states: the tension should be as low as possible so instead of it being set to 5 I've put it on 3. With my machine that works well, have tested the seam and it looks fine, see the picture below:

Picture 5: Looks a bit woobly but that's because I've been stretching it to capacity a numer of times, it's a test, right?

The results:

I've sewn a seam and measured 10cm. Then I've stretched it until it could go no further and at that point the tape measure said 16,5cm. I calculated that it's indeed 65%.

Picture 6: You can see the pins at 0 and 10

Picture 7: the point of the pin is just visible at 16,5cm...

When I tested the fabric itself, it came to 17cm. A bit more but it's possible I've just held it diffently...

Is your fabric less stetchy than 65%, say 50%, your sewn seam will not stretch more than that.
And with a to high tension 65% will not be reached. So do a test with a left over piece of fabric before sewing your garment.


Sabaflex is the same thread as seraflex but than industrial quantity, only available to people with a business.
The spools are larger, 1500m and it's available in wider colour range.

Picture 8: Sabaflex is also available in other strenghts

Are you a business customer and like to order sabaflex please contact us...

This concludes the testing of seraflex, we liked it, would you like to order seraflex for your own test?
Go to our shop and order your bobbin, box, display or cabinet:

Order seraflex fantastic elastic sewing thread


Friday, 27 March 2020

Make T-shirts like a Professional

Do you like sewing clothes as much as we do?
finished tshirt
Then you would also like to make your own T-shirts ...

That is possible, it is not difficult!

Below I explain how it works.

You need a few things:
  •     sewing machine
  •     polyester sewing thread, not thicker than thickness 100
  •     fabric: tricot or jersey
  •     needles
  •     pins
  •     basting thread
  •     pattern for a T-shirt

Tricot or Jersey?

These two names are used interchangeably to indicate knitted fabrics.

Jersey is an English word for fine knitted fabric in right-left binding (1 right-1 purl), also called Single Jersey. The name comes from the English island of Jersey that lies in the channel between the United Kingdom and France, just off the French coast.

Tricot is a French word for machine-made fine knit fabric. The garment made from jersey is also called jersey.

For both Jersey and Tricot, the raw material (cotton, viscose, rayon, etc.) of the fabric does not affect the name. Which is the case with, for example, Boiled wool ...

To work!

The trick with working with stretchable fabrics is not to pull on the fabric when it is under the machine. Sounds logical, I know! But you pull so easily that you often do not realize that you do it. Unfortunately I speak from experience ...

What helps is to place a walking foot under the machine. Then the fabric is transported above and below at the same speed. If you don't have one, try to sew Soluvlies tape with every seam (on the top and bottom of the fabric). That is more work, but the result just a good!

The yarn

Take well-twisted polyester yarn. That is smoother and will break and roll up less quickly. The thickness of the yarn is preferably no thicker than thickness 100. That is the thickness of normal sewing thread. For thin knit, I like to use thinner yarns, such as Alterfil. The great thing about this yarn is that it has a thickness of 150, is well-twisted and even has a little bit of stretch!

The needle and pins

There is still some debate about this. One says this and the other says that.

The correct needle for sewing tricot / jersey remains the Jersey needle. In the article Stretchablefabrics you will find more info about this needle.

The pins must be sharp and burr-free, in other words: good quality. Also consider the thinner pins of Clover

The Stretch stitch

This stitch is on almost all sewing machines nowadays. He looks like a lightning bolt. The great thing about this stitch is that it has some give.
This keeps your seams a little stretchy, and the yarn does not break when you put on the shirt.

The twin needle

The twin needle for the hems of the sleeves and body. See also the article Versatile Solufleece Tape on this.

Now we can start!

Take a pattern from a T-shirt. You can draw a pattern yourself or have it drawn for you. The advantage of this is that the fit is good. If you don't have that option, take a ready made sewing pattern and check carefully which size suits you best.

Now we will draw and cut the pattern.

Then we need the material.

Before I cut anything out of fabric, I will always wash the fabric first. Natural fibers tend to shrink a little. It is a shame if your beautiful new T-shirt has become too short right after the first wash. What I find most convenient is to pre-wash the fabric in the same way that I do when it has become a garment. So if I wash at 40 degrees and I throw it in the dryer, then I also do 40 degrees during the prewash and use the dryer. This way I know for sure that things will not go wrong later.

We place the freshly washed fabric on the table with the right side down. Then I fold both sides of the fabric inwards so that I get two fabric folds.

double folded fabric

 Then I will place the front and back pattern pieces first. I place it against the fabric fold opposite each other, pin it and cut it out.

The sleeve is a different story. For this, the fabric must be folded in half (as it is in the store).

single folded fabric
Place the pattern on the fabric, especially with the sleeve you have to pay attention to the straight grain. The grain runs from the top down in the middle of the sleeve. Lay this line parallel to the side of the fabric. And cut out. If the straight grain is of, your sleeves will turn when you wear it, I have experienced it myself and believe me it's not comfortable ...

how to place the pattern pieces on the fabric

To cut with a rotary cutter.

I hear you think a rotary cutter? Yes, a rotary cutter! The knitted fabrics are often difficult to cut with scissors due to the stretchiness of the fabric. It's easy to damage the fabric with the tip of your scissors. Also you lift your fabric a little when you cut and get uneven seam allowances that way. I find it much easier to use the rotary cutter. Place a cutting mat on your table. A cutting mat of 60 x 90 cm is ideal for this, because you don't have to move your fabric around on the mat. When the pattern pieces are pinned, you simply cut out with your rotary cutter!

Now you have laid the foundation. Now the sewing starts, or actually the basting. If you are not so handy with sewing, I recommend basting. This way you know exactly how much seam you have cut and where the points are on the pattern that should come together. This prevents your garment from hanging crooked or becoming too spacious or becoming too tight.

Tip: baste just next to the pattern, so that you can stitch just inside the basted line. Then it is easier to pull out later.
cut pattern pieces

Finally we can thread the sewing machine and put the walking foot on.

Sewing now starts with the shoulder seams of the front and back panels. Because the material is stretchy, and we do not want the shoulder seam to stretch while wearing, we stitch a lace tape in the shoulders

This is how it looks. Instead of Lace Tape, you can also iron on Bias Tape or Edge Tape in advance to stitch through later. The point is that the tape you use does NOT stretch.

After the shoulder seams, the sleeves are up. Make sure you get the right sleeve on the right side. Sleeves are not entirely symmetrical. In general, the front of the sleeve (to the left of the straight grain line) has a slightly lower bend and the back has a higher curve. Compare it with a spoon: the concave side is the front sleeve, the convex side is the back sleeve.

front and back sleeve

After sewing in the sleeves it looks like this:

sleeves sewn on the front and back pieces

Then it is the turn of the side seams. Sew the side seams of the panels and the seam of the sleeve in one go. For this I pin the point where the sleeve is attached to the panels. On the photo you see the "intersection".

intersection of panels and sleeve
sewing the intersection of panels and sleeve

Now it is starting to look more like a T-shirt!

now it starts to look like a tshirt

If you are not sure about the fit, now is the time to put on the shirt.

Tip: Before fitting, it is wise to stitch through the neck with the stretch stitch.
(Even if you only wear it for a short while, the fabric will stretch. Then the neckline can sag. This is almost impossible to correct and especially difficult when finishing the neckline.)

The hem

Pin the hem into the fabric, fold three centimeters. (Slightly over one inch) Check if the hem is correct. To do this, hold the shirt up at the shoulder seams. You can also put it on and ask someone to see if the hem is straight. If you are satisfied, we will fix the Solufleece Tape on both sides of the hem and pin. The next step is to baste the tape. Baste 2.5 cm (one inch) from the side. You can draw a line on the tape with an Aqua Marker or a Tailor's Pencil.

hem sewn with tape on top and bottom of fabric with stitching line
hem with Solufleece Tape basted on

hem Solufleece tape on top and bottom of fabric basted on
hem with Solufleece Tape and stitching line

After basting we will sew with the twin needle. If you want to know more, check out our blog article Versatile Solufleece Tape

The stitched hem with the Solufleece Tape looks like this:

Once washed:

The sleeve hems are now done in the same way.

Now comes the best part!

We're going to finish the neckline. For this we cut a strip of fabric. Can be straight, the fabric already stretches.

Tip: If you wish to use this finish with a non-stretchable fabric, the strip MUST be cut diagonally!

The size of the strip: 4 cm wide. The length is equal to the neck opening (measure with the pattern) minus 10%. So if my neck opening is 57 cm, then 10% (5.7 cm) is deducted and the strip will be 51.3 cm long.

go along the ruler with a rotary cutter
go along the ruler with a rotary cutter
put the ruler on the fabric
put the ruler on the fabric

nice straight cut strip
nice straight cut strip
remove the unnecessary material

After we have cut the strip, we are going to make it into a circle. So we lay the strip with the right side of the fabric facing up. Then we take one end of the strip and place it at a 90-degree angle with the right side down on the other end. (good side to good side)

ends of the strip
Ends of the strip

ends of the strip superimposed
ends of the strip superimposed

The reason for slanting the strip is that if you sew it straight and then double fold it, you have the seam in one place. A thickening occurs in your neck. With diagonal sewing you shift the seams and there is almost no thickening.

you see that the seam runs diagonelly
you see that the seam runs diagonelly

Then we pin the ends together with the pin at an angle. The following photo shows how. I always check if I have set the pin correctly by straightening the strip.

pinned ends of the strip

Then I stitch as I pinned, exactly from the corner of the upper end to the corner of the lower end.

stitched ends of the strip

pressed it looks like this

now cut the tip off

Then we pin the strip on the neck opening.
Divide the strip into four equal parts, the simplest way is to place the strip on the table and put a pin on both ends. Then you place the pins together, so you have two new ends to put a pin in. Voilà, four parts. The same applies to the neck. Place the shoulder seams on top of each other and place a pin in the center front and center back. Then lay the pins together and pin both ends again.

Now you have a strip with four pins and a neck with four pins. Now pin the strip with the right side of the fabric on the inside of the neck opening. Place the four pins of the strip on the four pins of the neck. If all goes well, the strip is now slightly shorter than the neck.

strip pinned on the inside of the neckopening
strip pinned on the inside of the neck opening
You now stretch the strip a little to make it fit in de neck. We only reduced 10% so it shouldn't be too much. If we take out more, the neck will wrinkle. We do prefer a nice smooth neck ... right?

Then stitch the strip to the neck.

Now fold in half of the strip and again over the just stitched seam. Pin in place

fold in half of the strip
fold in half of the strip
pinned strip
pinned strip

fold again over the stitch seam
Then we will stitch it.

pinned strip to neck

and then the T-shirt is ready!
It should look something like this:

Seraflex fantastic elastic sewing thread - the test

  Sewing with Seraflex fantastic elastic sewing thread Of course I had to try the new sewing thread seraflex! Read so many...