Wool is an amazing fabric to use for sewing clothing and accessories with personal sewing machines like the Juki HZL DX5. It can also be challenging to work with since there are so many kinds, each with different properties. Fortunately, there is no need to be afraid of working with wool fabric if you use it the right way. Keep these tips that follow so your projects made on quality Juki sewing machines turn out just right.
Different Weights and Types of Wool
Wool fabric used to make projects with sewing machines exist in many types and weights, each with a slightly different feel. Lightweight woven wools feel similar to other natural fibers like cotton and linen; wool can be similarly used and worked with. Heavier-weight wools are more tighter woven to produce a denser fabric and require a sharper, heavier needle to pierce it.
Woolen knits are stretchy and must be handled like any other knit fabric. In any case, the trick to success is preparing the wool fabric ahead of time and using the right accessories and techniques when sewing it.
Pre-Shrinking Wool Fabrics
Wool can shrink considerably, just like 100% cotton. To avoid shrinkage problems, always use pre-shrunk wool in any weight you may choose. Some wool fabric is pre-shrunk and ready to be cut into pattern pieces for stitching on your Juki HZL DX5. Some wool fabric is washable and can be pre-shrunk in the washer according to the bolt directions. Non-washable wool can be pre-shrunk by either steaming or having it dry-cleaned.
Thread, Needle, and Stitch Choice
Because wool can be stiffer than other fabrics, choose a high-quality thread to reduce breakage problems; adjust thread tension as needed. Make sure your needle is appropriate for the fabric weight and that it is sharp. Juki sewing machines should be set to a slightly elongated stitch for standard weight fabric or lengthened proportionally for working with heavier-weight wools.
You may also want to use silk thread if you are experiencing much breakage as it is stronger and slides more smoothly than many threads.
Sewing Wool Fabrics
Depending on the thickness of the fabric, wool can produce a bulky seam. With heavy-weight fabric, hidden seams covered by a lining can be pinked and left unfinished to reduce bulk. If you need a finished seam, be sure to consider this when choosing the weight of the wool and use a finishing technique that will create the least bulk. To make straight seams and get around the bulky, layered fabric, you may need to lower the feed dogs on your Juki HZL DX5 and slowly hand-guide the fabric.
Pressing Wool Fabric
When stitching wool fabric, flatter is better; however, be careful when pressing wool as a very hot iron can quickly burn it. Instead, place a pressing cloth on top of the wool and use a lot of steam. Press as you go to get flat, secure seams.
As with other specialty fabrics used for projects made on Juki sewing machines, you can reduce the difficulty of working with wool by preparing it correctly ahead of time. Choose the right weight for your project and always consider the issue of seam bulk. Pre-shrink before you begin and use the right needle, thread, and settings on your Juki HZL DX5. When used appropriately, you can have success sewing with wool with your personal sewing machine!