Sewing Machines

When making projects on sewing machines, you often get to experiment with many types of fabric. You can get some stunning results with napped fabrics, although they can be challenging to use. Before you allow yourself to become so frustrated with nap that you need to take one, learn how to handle this fabric correctly. You will be much happier with whatever you choose to make on Juki sewing machines like the Juki TL2000Qi.

What Is Fabric Nap?

Fabric with nap is material that has been finished in a special way so the ends of the fiber stick up through the woven threads. The ends are either left standing straight, brushed, or clipped, each process creating a different feel and look. Examples of napped fabrics are velvet, velour, corduroy, fleece, brushed denim, terry cloth, suede, flannel, and others.

Why Can Napped Fabrics Be Harder to Use?

The frustration with a napped fabric is that unless it is properly cut and stitched with Juki or any other sewing machines, projects can look odd. Nap, which can be somewhat compared to fabric grain, runs in one direction only along the fabric to create a certain look and feel.

If all pieces of your project are not cut along the nap and in the same direction, the project will look very strange. Cutting the nap in different directions can change both the feel and look of the project or cause colors to look different based on how the light hits the fibers.

How to Tell If A Fabric Has Nap

Before you begin sewing any project on your Juki TL2000Qi, check to see if the fabric has nap. This is very easy to do. Simply fold the fabric together so the right sides are facing each other, and then fold back the top corner. A fabric without nap will look and feel the same on both sides. When folded this way, napped fabric will feel smooth on one right side and rougher on the other. You might also see the difference in how the two sides lay.

Cutting Napped Fabric

Unless otherwise noted, always lay your pattern pieces with the nap running down, from the top of the piece to the bottom. In doing so, all your pieces will match in look and feel. This is especially important when working with velvets, velours, and deeper pile fabrics, which should all have the nap or pile running downward. If you are using corduroy or want to accentuate the depth of the nap, you can also cut your pieces against the nap.

Use a piece of chalk to mark the direction of the nap on cut pieces to make putting the pieces of your project together easier once you are ready to begin stitching on sewing machines. Place pins along the edges in the seam allowance to avoid leaving pinholes.  

Sewing Napped Fabric

When you are ready to assemble your project, begin by sizing your needle and thread accordingly for the fabric so neither is too thick, yet strong enough to hold these often heavier fabrics together. Lengthen your stitch to prevent crushing the nap with the thread, allowing it instead to settle between the fibers naturally.

A walking presser foot or even feed foot may be helpful for even stitching without the fabric puckering up. You may need to reduce thread tension as well. Try stitching on scrap fabric first to get the feel of the material and determine what adjustments may be necessary.

Napped fabrics are great for making beautiful, luxurious, and fun projects with sewing machines like the Juki TL2000Qi. Yet using them properly involves a bit of practice. Get great results using these unique fabrics on your Juki sewing machines by following the simple tips above so you will not end up in need of a nap yourself!

Juki TL2000QI High Speed Sewing and Quilting Machine

Juki Sewing Machines