11 Tips For Sewing with Mesh Fabric

Mesh fabric can be a little intimidating – how can you get something with so many holes in to stay together? But with a little technical guidance, mesh is actually very easy to sew, and can be applied to many different projects!

Mesh fabric comes in lots of different weights and types, used for different things such as sportswear, bridal wear, bag making and even practical purposes like workwear and equipment – but today we’ll be discussing the Polyester Mesh we sell which is perfect for bags and accessories!

Image: Road Trip Organiser from ByAnnie

What is Mesh Fabric?

Mesh is a loosely woven fabric, typically made from polyester or nylon (although it can even be made from things like metal and rope when used in industry!), which has uniform holes across the surface that can vary in size depending on the type of mesh. Synthetic materials like Polyester ensure the fabric is strong, can survive the wear and tear of use and remains flexible despite its strength due to the loose weave and construction. 

Because of the holes across the surface, it is always breathable no matter what it is made of, so it can be popular for sportswear or for bags and accessories that will contain damp or wet items so that the water droplets can dry off or escape. 

Our Mesh fabric is made from Polyester, with a soft finish and a slight stretch resulting from the holes in the fabric, is water resistant and dries quickly – perfect for beach or sports bags!

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How Do You Cut Mesh Fabric?

As with most fabrics, it can be useful to pre wash your mesh, so you are familiar with the washing instructions and whilst it is unlikely, any shrinkage that may occur happens before you make up your project. Our mesh fabric can be machine washed to 60 degrees, tumble dried and cool ironed, but some mesh fabrics can only be cool or hand washed. 

Cutting mesh may be done with scissors (if you’re feeling extra patient!) but we recommend using a rotary cutter and a self healing mat, with pattern weights for the most precise cut. Don’t try cutting two layers at once unless you enjoy cutting the completely wrong pattern shape! Double layers will slip and slide around, so cut a single layer at a time.

Our mesh may be pressed with a cool iron and pressing cloth, but check your manufacturer’s instructions prior to pressing, and if in doubt check a sample with a cool iron and a pressing cloth, or you may ruin your iron.

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10 Tips For Sewing Mesh Fabrics

Mesh fabric can be incredibly slippery, so a good needle choice would be a

  1. Needle choice – Mesh fabric can be incredibly slippery, so a good needle choice would be a ballpoint needle, as it slides between fibres rather than piercing them, this also accounts for the slight stretch due to the composition of the mesh. Failing that, a Universal machine needle size 70/10-80/12 would be fine. 
  2. Thread – Try to match the thread you use with the fibre that makes up the mesh. For most types of mesh a strong, polyester thread would work best, and would also help create strong stitches for any stretch or stress on the item you make. All-purpose Polyester thread is a good choice. 
  3. Cutting – Use scissors but rotary cutter and a mat, would be the best choice
  4. Marking – Use chalk,  erasable pens or clip with small scissors
  5. Pinning – due to the holes & slippery nature of mesh using quilter’s clips is a better choice than pins. Alternatively extra fine pins are a better option than regular pins

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6. Machine feet – You can also use a walking foot to help guide the mesh through, and use a tear away stabiliser or something like tissue or paper under the seam that can be ripped off afterwards to help guide the mesh over the feed dogs without it becoming trapped. You can also use a wide straight stitch foot or a roller foot (see next tips regarding foot pressure)

7. Sewing Tip – If you can, loosen the presser foot pressure on your machine or overlocker, this will prevent unwanted stretch when sewing. This will also stop the fabrics slipping as much, especially if you are sewing a double layer of mesh. 

8. Sewing Speed – Try to keep a steady pace whilst sewing, and avoid pulling the mesh through the machine. This will help you avoid gathers or puckers as you won’t stretch the fabric whilst sewing.

9. Stitch length – Use a short straight stitch 1.75-2.5mm or a narrow zig zag stitch for the best results.

10. Mesh fabric position – Always try to keep the mesh layer on top next to the needle when sewing it to or with a different fabric to prevent it slipping or getting trapped.

11. Basting – the less you handle & sew mesh the better as it does like to stretch. Avoid basting mesh where possible. Instead you can use temporary glue or double sided sticky tape

Seam Finishes

Try to match the thread you use with the fibre that makes up the mesh. For The best way to finish seams on mesh, is with a standard overlocking stitch. Treat mesh like you would a very delicate or lightweight fabric when finishing, due to the holes.

If you don’t have an overlocker, using a double line of short straight stitch or narrow ziz-zag stitch along the seam also provides a strong finish, and can be done with a twin needle, or two rows with a single needle.Seams may also be enclosed with bias binding or using a french seam, but these may be a little bulky depending on the mesh you are using.

Edge Finishes

As with seams, any edges may be finished with bias binding, to create a neat, fully enclosed edge. You could also use ribbon or any trim, and bias binding comes in infinite prints and colours. You can also leave the edge raw as mesh fabric won’t fray. 

Fold over elastic is also popular as it creates a gathered edge, and encloses the raw edge at the same time. This is great for creating expandable pouches and pockets on bags.

Mesh Fabric Project Ideas

You can use mesh in a variety of ways

  • Mesh pockets on bags and backpacks
  • Mesh pouches and bags for toiletries
  • Beachcombing sacks and pouches
  • Reusable produce sacks and storage bags
  • Laundry bags
  • Washing machine bags for small items (baby socks, etc.)
  • Bath toy storage bags
  • Swimming or beach bags
  • Mesh inserts in clothes

We also have lots of ideas from ByAnnie on our Mesh Project ideas blog which you can read here.

Where can I buy Mesh Fabrics?

You can buy mesh fabric from our UK based sewing superstore, Plush Addict over at www.plushaddict.co.uk

It’s strong, lightweight, machine washable and we have lots of different colours!

If you make one of these projects please let us know how you get on!

Follow @PlushAddict on social media and keep an eye out for more tutorials & please tag us @plushaddict on social media if you make one! We’d love to see your finished project!

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