I love adding mesh inserts to my garments! Even more so than I thought, which I realized when I began looking through my archive for photos of projects with mesh inserts.
Anyways, through trials and tribulations I’ve learnt a few tricks and tips when it comes to sewing mesh inserts. So here is a primer of how to sew mesh inserts on garments.
Mesh inserts are great for areas where you transpire
Placing them under the arms, in the back or behind the knees are great ways to utilize the breathing properties of mesh
Softer mesh is usually better for inserts
If you are adding mesh to a knit garment, the mesh should have the same properties, i.e. being soft and stretchy. For this silk jersey a soft mesh for the ruched sleeves was perfect, as it drapes nicely
Sew mesh seams with a serger or a stretch stitch on a regular sewing machine
Mesh is actually quite easy to sew, just make sure it doesn’t get stuck or jammed. It can also slip so basting first is a good idea.
Hemming mesh is however hard
Softer mesh tends to get stuck in the machine, so don’t try to stitch over it. If you place the mesh inserts around the knees or under the arms that won’t be an issue, but if the mesh is closer the ends of the garment, you could consider the following options:
Finishing the mesh with ribbing
Binding or fold-over elastic to cover the mesh edges
Using small fabric edges for the hem
Here I added a small strip of fabric that I hemmed with a coverstitch. Was a bit fiddly but worked okay
Stitching down (topstitch) the mesh seams is a good idea
In the above photo I stitched the mesh seam with the wrong side of a 3-thread coverstitch seam. Seams can flop back and forth as we all know, and if the fabric is sheer they will be visible from the outside. So for the best result, stitch down the seams. However, this might cause the fabrics to stretch out, so I recommend using a coverstitch, twin-needle stitch, a walking foot, a sewing machine stretch seam or some other method to keep the fabric in check.
Mesh stitched down with a stretch stitch on a regular sewing machine
Be careful not to damage the mesh when sewing
Power mesh is generally very durable, but when you are sewing mesh it’s often exposed to sharp objects such as needles and scissors, which can cause tiny holes in the mesh. This happened on my latest mesh project, which was heartbreaking to say the least, because I didn’t discover the hole until the garment was finished. So I had to mend it by hand.
So that’s was my guide to sewing mesh inserts on garments. If you have any more questions, just ask them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer!