Warning, people who sew: this post is pretty much only for myself. If you happen to find some use in it, great. Otherwise, please don’t hold me to anything here, as it is not intended to be an answer for any type of sewing issues. It is merely a reference for myself as a teach myself to machine sew.
Let me preface this by saying, I don’t sew. Or at least, I haven’t sewn – much – to date. However, I’m learning, because the allure of making my own clothes is too great to ignore. For my first (in my adult years) project, I’ve settled on making metallic spandex/lycra leggings. Yes, that’s right. Metallic. Spandex/Lycra (whatever you wanna call it). I do wear leggings (successfully, I might add – at least for now). And I do enjoy ridiculously over the top things like metallic stretch materials.
Starting from scratch, I needed to figure out the correct stitch style (I have a Singer Pressomatic merritt 1852, probably around 30 years old, very limited functionality), tension, needle type, stitch orientation (is that the right word for it?) and stitch length. So, after fiddling around for hours with the zigzag stitch (and I really mean hours) on all possible permutations of it in terms of tension and stitch length (results of which you may see directly below), I’ve settled on a straight stitch from which to sew the seams of my metallic spandex leggings (the very left column of the final image).
My Singer Pressomatic merritt 1852 sewing machine was set on the straight stitch setting, with tension of 5, stitch length about 3.5 (midway between 3 and 4), and the location of the stitch being centered. I’ve attached photos below, for my own reference, later on. The straight stitch seems to work best in terms of the seams. The stitches don’t stretch, warp or bunch the fabric in seemly ways, and the seams stay pressed together more evenly than with a zigzag stitch. For the seams lengthwise on the leg, this seems best. I’m not sure yet how I’ll tackle the waist and the ankles.
One final note: I’m using a Tailorform Size 11 Ball Point needle. I did try both a Somore Ball Point needle lablelled Butterfly 80/11 (this seemed to produce the best results in the zigzag stitch), and a Schmetz Stretch 75/11 needle (so far, this has produced the worst results with the zigzag stitch) prior. The Tailorform seems to be the best choice, for the straight stitch.