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Understanding Your Creative Partner! Fabric Creep!

Wednesday is Understanding Your Creative Partner, YOUR SEWING MACHINE, Day!

  • In this email I am going to address Fabric Creep. 
    • What is it?
    • Why does it happen?
    • Next Week: How to stop it from happening!

So What is Fabric Creep?

  • I came up with the phrase, Fabric Creep, about 15 years again to describe the fabric lump that appears in front of your needle as you sew.
  • As I think about it, fabric creep causes a fabric blister!
  • Certainly, you have had this happen to you!
  • In the first picture below you can see the lump starting to develop.


In the next pictures you can see what happens if we don't control the creep.

  • Our fabric can mismatch with the top fabric being "longer" than the bottom fabric.
  • The farther you sew the worse it becomes.
  • As an example: I often use the side seam on a pair of pants but mismatching can occur when stitching a short seam on a quilt block.
  • The Creep can become worse when sewing on the crosswise grain of your fabric or when stitching on the bias due to the natural stretch of your fabric.
  • See the mismatch in the photo below. Yikes!!


  • If we are stitching a hem, the fabric can keep pushing and pushing and eventually you will see the fabric twist and you will stitch in a tuck.
  • I often use the hem in draperies as an example.

  • If we are quilting we can see bumps developing which eventually get stitched in as tucks!

  • In the Picture below I was making a Chenille Scarf.
  • 7 Layers of Yarn Dyed Flannel cut on the bias.
  • On most machines, stitching this would result in a disaster!
  • The fabric would push and bunch! Tucks, tucks and more tucks, perhaps mixed with a few nasty words!
  • In the photo below there wasn't any fabric creep! WHY? I'll answer that question next week.


Why does this happen?

  • Your Presser Foot pushes your top fabric.

  • Your Feed Dogs pull the bottom fabric.
  • Causing the fabrics to shift slightly (depending on the number of layers) causing Fabric Creep to occur!
  • The more layers the worse it gets.

Have you ever had this happen? In my next email I will cover a number of ways to control Fabric Creep!

  • Pinning
  • Easing
  • Adjustment of the pressure on your presser foot
  • Walking Foot
  • Pfaff IDT
  • Gluing
  • Sewing over pins (NO!)(Never!)

Sew there you have it, Fabric Creep! Now you know what I call that annoying fabric lump and why it happens. Join me next week to find out how to get that Fabric Creep under control for a better outcome on all of your projects!

Be Sew Creative!