Making your own pole shorts/costumes...what sewing machine is best? What features are required?

StrangeFox Paid Member
Anyone who makes their own pole shorts have any recommendations for sewing machines? Or at least features that are a must-have when sewing pole shorts/working with spandex? Or is it better to use a serger instead? I'm new to all of this, so the simpler to use, the better. :)
Sep 8, 2019
RoMo Paid Member
Hi StrangeFox,

I make most of my own pole clothes and I find it very rewarding as I can create whatever I want.
Most of the time, I use a serger, but a regular sewing machine would work fine, as long as you have a zigzag stitch. I use a Bernina 550 as my sewing machine and a Bernina 800D overlock. That sewing machine is overkill (yes, I admit it...) and I'd really recommend going for something much simpler/cheaper. Make sure it has a straight stitch, zigzag and a three step zigzag and you're set for almost anything! (You won't need the three step zigzag for sewing shorts, but if you do decice to sew bras as well, that'll have you covered.)

If you only get one machine, get a sewing machine and not a serger. You'll need it for top stitching and such, which you just can't do on a serger. A serger is good for the internal seams and finishing them up really nicely, but that's about all it does.

Get good needles for stretch fabric (usually 75 is good), good quality thread and fabric with stretch. I like fabrics with stretch in both directions best but if you get a fabric with stretch in a single direction, make sure you line up your stretch in the right direction (going around the body!) as you don't want to finish sewing and then find out you can't fit into it. Forget about wovens for pole clothes.

If you need any additional tips/advice/pattern ideas, please feel free to message me!

Sep 15, 2019
StrangeFox Paid Member
Awesome! Thanks so much for your reply, RoMo! I actually was able to use a pair of existing pole shorts to create a pattern that I *think* will work (we'll have to see!) I bought a Singer Sew Mate 5400, which has all the stitches I'll ever need and more. I've never in my life sewn anything, but gave it a shot tonight with a spandex-y material, a ball-point needle and some nylon thread and it was jam city! I couldn't even get 1 zig-zag stitch into my test material. It kept getting eaten by the hungry needle plate.

I think what I might have to do is get a straight stitch needle plate. Barring that it's possible I do not have the correct needle for my fabric, or my thread might not be in the proper spot (although, according to the test in the MFG guide, it should be OK). Might need to visit my local sewing center to get some more info and materials and perhaps enlist my mother-in-law's help!

On the plus side...I'm pretty adept at taking apart/putting back together machines and threading needles, so there's that to be happy about (Kinda regretting springing the extra $$$ for the machine with the automatic!)
Sep 16, 2019
StrangeFox Paid Member
Ahhh...after researching I'm realizing you cannot use a straight stitch plate with a zig zag stitch. Might be stitch length... hmmm... back to the drawing board.
Sep 16, 2019
StrangeFox Paid Member
Just an update: I got the hang of sewing and have made myself my own pole outfits using a bikini top pattern, and some of my pole shorts as a template. I'm trying to learn pattern drafting but that is a HUGE undertaking so it might be a while before I can make my own original stuff. I do have some easy costume ideas I'm going to try my hand at.

Sewing is no longer mystifying and now when my machine jams it's because my cat has tugged the thread off of the uptake lever (which happens a lot, and was something that took me 2 days to figure out when I first got my machine... I've just gotten in the habit of checking it before I first use it). Also, stretch fabrics are only a mild pain in the butt to work with.

Nov 19, 2019
RoMo Paid Member
Hi StrangeFox,
Sorry I never got to reply to your last posts... Life gets in the way.
I'm really glad that you're getting the hang of sewing and enjoying making your own pole clothes.
These days, I'm actually starting a blog teaching how to draft for knit clothes. Once I get it up and running, I'll send you a link, as I already have quite a few articles that you may find helpful.
In the meantime, if you have any questions, feel free to shoot me an email at ronibmoses(at)

Good luck!
Nov 26, 2019
StrangeFox Paid Member
Thank you so much - that is so awesome of you! I would love to read a blog on drafting for knits. Please do send me the link when you have it ready! 💖
Nov 30, 2019
mfloresh666782 Paid Member
Reading about to make your own pole shorts, can you suggest any website to learn?
Nov 30, 2019
She has a lot of tutorials and was part of SV when she pole danced []
Nov 30, 2019
StrangeFox Paid Member
Thanks Veena! Following her!

mfloresh - I didn't quite know what I was doing when I started. I googled sewing with stretchy materials/knits and kind of took a bit of knowledge from everywhere. I found this tutorial on making your own super hero suit helpful:


I'm by no means an expert and I'm still figuring things out, but I found it helpful to sew with a stretch needle and leave myself a little extra seam allowance. If you have a pair of pole shorts you love already you can "clone" them if you don't have any patterns to follow.
Dec 1, 2019
You did a really great job organizing your lessons! They look great and would be easy for a beginner to follow! ~Margie
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