I was wondering what is the proper type of machine stitching for elastic materials(nylon, etc), to get as close as possible to Nike running(clothes not shoes) gear stitching?

I've done some research(and got the idea of zigzag being a proper choice), but it is not as close as the "double-stitching" seen on some running articles.

Does anyone have an idea how is that done?

Later edit: I have also taken into consideration the idea of using a machine with more than 1 needle(maybe this is required for a more complex/durable stitch).

  • 2
    The words "sewing pattern" in your question might be confusing some people. I think if you change it to "sewing machine stitch" people will understand better. A sewing pattern is a paper blueprint of a sort for making clothing from scratch; it provides directions for cutting out the correct shapes and how to fit them together, etc. Jan 21, 2019 at 17:28
  • Are you interested in specifically the Nike stitching or athletic wear in general? I'm not familiar with theirs so I don't know if it is unique or different in some way :)
    – Erica
    Jan 22, 2019 at 0:45
  • 2
    I'm interested in a machine sewing pattern that is suitable to elastic materials, and I gave Nike as an example because I'm looking for something similar.
    – n1kkou
    Jan 22, 2019 at 8:29
  • Are you interested in a "sewing pattern," a paper template used for cutting material for making garments, or a "machine stitch," a system by which two pieces of fabric are connected using a sewing machine? As it is, this question is really unclear. Please edit it for clarity of what you actually want.
    – Allison C
    Jan 22, 2019 at 17:19
  • @AllisonC I edited the question. Pattern as in the type e.g zig-zag, dashed etc
    – n1kkou
    Jan 22, 2019 at 19:31

1 Answer 1


Stitching a stretchy fabric requires a stretch stitch, to allow the seam to stretch with the fabric itself. Multiple types of stretch stitch are available to the home sewer, though some require specialized machines to achieve.

ZigZag Stitch

The back and forth motion of the needle in doing a zigzag stitch allows the seam to have some give and stretch with the fabric. The more back and forth, the more stretch, so shorter stitches will provide more flexibility. This can be achieved with any basic sewing machine, and is the most accessible.

Stretch Stitch

Some machines will have a "lightning bolt" shaped stretch stitch setting. This is similar to a zigzag, but with an extra step backwards to add even more give to the stitch. It will also look closer to a straight line than a zigzag. This is the next most accessible, as it's available on many, but not all, standard sewing machines.

Twin Needle Stitch

This stitch will require a special double needle to be added to your machine; you'll also thread it with both a spool and a bobbin of thread at the same time, separating the threads when you reach the needle. The upper layer will have a double row of stitching, while underneath the bobbin will have a zigzag format allowing the seam to stretch. This is likely the closest to what you're looking for, and can be accomplished with most standard sewing machines. (I cannot promise that the twin needles will be compatible with all machines.)


Overlock stitching is what is often seen on the inside of commercially produced garments; it's a stitch with loops of thread wrapping around the raw edges of the fabric. It has a very large amount of stretch, but requires a specific machine (known as either an overlock machine or a serger), and is only useable on inner seams, as sergers also trim the edge of the fabric as they work. While the trimming can typically be deactivated, the edge wrap still leaves the machine only suitable for seams, not top-stitching. (As an anecdotal note, this is what I most often use for stretchy fabrics.)

Cover Stitch

This is likely what Nike and other companies are actually using. This requires a cover stitch machine or a convertible serger. The stitch produced is something of a cross between the twin needle and overlock stitches, and is suitable for hems and top stitching on stretchy materials.

You can see examples of these stitches and greater detail (as well as finding a link with details on twin needle stitching) here, which is also where I took the order of stitches and some technical details from.

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