Experimenting with various materials like napped fabrics can be exciting for sewing machines owners who make fun and fashionable items. Yet some napped fabrics such as fleeces, velvets, velours, and corduroys can be challenging to work with and need special handling. To overcome any challenges with these fabrics and achieve the best results when using Juki sewing machines like the Juki Exceed HZL F600, follow the simple tips shown below.
Cut and Sew in the Right Direction
Before doing anything else, determine the direction of the nap on different types of napped fabric since this is important for obtaining the best results. Always cut with the nap when cutting out pattern pieces. When using faux furs, always cut and sew with the hair running downward. This will ensure that all pieces of the finished item have the nap going in the same direction and looks seamless.
Use the Right Thread, Needle, and Presser Foot
When stitching napped fabrics on sewing machines, always use a smaller needle and thinner thread to reduce the appearance of threads and needle holes. If the fabric is particularly dense, increase the size of both as needed. Polyester thread is most desirable for sewing these kinds of fabric. Use a walking presser foot to reduce shifting during the stitching process to feed both layers of fabric at the same time.
Set Stitch and Presser Foot Tension Properly
Besides using the right needle, thread, and presser foot, increase stitch length to account for some of the added bulk of these fabrics. On machines that have it, ease the tension on the presser foot as another way to reduce shifting between fabric layers. Juki sewing machines, like the Juki Exceed HZL F600 offer this useful option.
Prevent Fabric Creep
Fabric creep is a considerable issue when working with napped fabrics. Walking presser feet and reduced tension on the foot can both help reduce this shifting; other techniques may be necessary as well. Holding the fabric down tightly onto the table in front of and behind the presser foot without stretching it can help, as can spring clamps. Hand basting may also be an option. The goal is to prevent the top layer from feeding into the machine differently than the bottom layer, a problem that commonly results in uneven seams.
Skip the Pressing
Although most sewing projects require pressing to keep the fabric smooth and flatten seam allowances for easy stitching, napped fabrics are the exception to the rule. Pressing can flatten the nap, leaving unsightly marks. Skip the ironing and simply finger press to mark seams. If pressing is essential, do so lightly from the back of the fabric, preferably with a towel between the iron and the fabric.
Like many other techniques used on sewing machines such as the Juki Exceed HZL F600, the ones that work best with napped fabrics require some practice. Thicker, napped materials can be a bit harder to work with than more common fabrics and yet can be a lot of fun. With a little patience and using quality Juki sewing machines, most anyone can learn to overcome challenges thanks to the tips above and achieve great results using napped fabrics!