Stretching my patience with jerseys!

Aaah sewing with jerseys, what can I say! I started last weekend and to be honest it was a total disaster. Having done my research I was set to go with New Look 6140, my twin stretch needle and walking foot, all enthusiastic and a little apprehensive to be honest, but just eager to get on and give it a go. Well, my troubles started with pinning and cutting the fabric, it wouldn’t stay still! But that was nothing compared to actually sewing the stuff. I started with a scrap of fabric, just to see how it sewed together and luckily I did because it didn’t go well at all. I kept getting skipped stitches with the twin needle, strangely only on the left side, which couldn’t be sorted with any amount of tension or stitch length adjustment (which I tried and tried again!). After a lot of back and forth with more scraps of fabric and machine adjustments I threw in the towel eagerly awaited the Breton Tee sewing class at the Thrifty Stitcher studio which I had booked a couple of weeks back.

Skipped stitches!

So that brings me to today, home from the class this afternoon and very happy with my lovely stretchy Breton tee (and it smells fab too!). Admittedly I found sewing with jersey today again a little stressful. Not because of skipped stitches but because the fabric just moves so much as it goes through the machine. I realised that I actually like the precision of sewing and when it goes awry it not a happy lady! However, one saving grace about it all is that jerseys are quite forgiving of uneven stitching and once it’s all sewn up you can’t really tell anyway. I also found that that sewing with jerseys is brilliant because you don’t need to iron your fabric all of the time and it doesn’t fray! So I think I will be able to run up a couple more of these Breton tees in no time (fingers crossed). I also got some great advice about needle choice from the lovely Melissa, our teacher today. After explaining last weeks jersey sewing woes she suggested an ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it approach’ to choosing the best needle, basically go with whatever works even if that’s not necessarily the needle made for the job. When I got home I tried about 6 or 7 different needles with my jersey fabric (stretch, universal, 75, 80, 90…) and finally one worked! No idea what needle it is, I’m too scared to take it out until I finish my top! Who cares that it’s not the needle that I bought specifically for this job, if it works it works! Now off to finish that New Look 6130 and master the art of sewing with jersey fabric. Any tips for sewing with jersey?

Breton Tee

Breton Tee

 

 

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I saw, I sewed and it’s way too big.

I saw, I sewed and it’s way too big.

I fancied making a top last weekend and I’ve had this pattern in my stash for a while now (See & Sew B5770) as I bought it in Florida last year. I also thought this was a good match for … Continue reading

The GBSB: sew your own wardrobe book

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I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this book and I must say I’m impressed. I have the first sewing bee book which I think is really good but I think this one has got an improved format and more projects that I would actually make. The book is split into three main sections (fabric, fit and finish) and within each section there are projects which highlight each of these aspects of sewing. What’s even better is that after each project there is a mini masterclass showcasing various techniques such as inserting a zip or sewing buttonholes. There is also an upcycling project and a patternless project for the free-handers out there (Chinelo is a genius!).

I already have my eye on a few projects from this book, one of my favourites is the bowling shirt. I like the casual shape and the flat collar and especially the way they have used contrasting fabrics in the picture. I think when I make this I’ll also use a different colour fabric for the collar and cuff. Although it has darts in the front and the back is quite a loose fit so it will be perfect for casual summer days.

The draped top looks absolutely gorgeous. I love the gathers at the neckline and the low back. It’s a fantastic shape and as it’s one of the makes for beginner sewers it looks super easy to sew. There are only three pattern pieces and it’s a one size fits all garment. I have the pattern printed, ready to
go, I just need some fabric!

Last but not least is the yoke skirt. I have been looking for another skirt pattern for while and I saw something similar to this a while ago while surfing the net. I think the shape is gorgeous and because the main skirt pieces are cut on the bias the fabric drapes beautifully.

So I think those are my top three patterns from the book, I’m sure once I get started I’ll make many of the others. So have you got the new GBSB book, what’s your favourite pattern?

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Paris top – Simplicity 0275

I was looking for a pattern for a top that I could wear with my peplum skirt and came across this one, it’s the Simplicity 0275 and is part of a pattern pack that includes a draped front dress and skirt. I bought this pattern last year when I was in America and haven’t used it yet, the plan was to make a dress for wedding I was going to but I never got round to making it!
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I thought this top would look nice with the peplum skirt because it’s a simple shape and I could wear it tucked it like the picture on the front of the pattern envelope. So I got going and I had to adjust the pattern as I am a size 8 at the bust but a size 14 that the waist. It was a really easy to sew to so as there were only two pattern pieces (well there were three really but I decided to use ready made binding instead of making my own). Instead of following instructions to the letter I sewed with French seams and also bound the armholes instead of creating a narrow hem. I think I’m getting really fussy with my sewing these days, I can’t stand the exposed zig-zag edges that you get inside of a garment they make me go crazy! I think I need to invest in an overlocker and that won’t happen until I move house and have more space! Until then I will have to make do with sewing French seams as I think it looks a lot tidier on the inside.

I just tried this top on with the peplum skirt and I’m not even sure if I like this top/skirt combo, I think I may need something more fitted with that particular skirt. Either way I love this top, I fell in love with the fabric as soon as I saw it and I know I will wear it loads (even if not with the peplum skirt)! Furthermore, at £7 a metre and enough fabric left over to make another top I’d say that this was an absolute bargain ☺️

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Birthday strawberries!

For my niece’s birthday I decided to make her a gathered skirt and I was fortunate enough to come across some lovely fabric in Rolls and Rems last week. It is a smooth, soft, cotton with a beautiful strawberry print that I’m sure she will love. This type of skirt is super-quick to make and there are loads of tutorials online – there’s even instructions for an adult version of a gathered skirt in the new Great British sewing Bee: Sew Your Own Wardrobe book (which arrived on Tuesday, thanks to The Book People!

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I started off by sewing the back seam and making the waistband casing before hemming the bottom and then inserting the elastic. I also added some ric-rac to the bottom which I think looks lovely. I followed the instructions in this tutorial which I think are really clear and simple.

I did make a little mistake though, after I had sewed it all together I realised that I hadn’t pattern-matched the seam! Apart from that little blunder I’m pretty pleased with the outcome – so easy and quick that I’ll be making another on Friday – a girl can never have enough skirts! (and this time I will remember to match the pattern ♥).

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Is sewing with knits really that bad?

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I’m just about to get going with my first knit project, New Look 6150, and I must admit I’m a bit nervous as this will be my first attempt at sewing with knits! I’ve done a little bit of research online and found out that I needed to buy a walking foot and a ballpoint twin needle, so I have those now and I think I’m ready to go. Oh, and also some seam tape for the shoulder seams (thanks to the ladies in Rolls and Rems because I had no idea what I was looking for).

I’ve actually signed up for a knit fabrics class at The Thrifty Stitcher at the end of the month so I probably should wait until after then to get going but I’m too impatient! I have some pretty knit fabric in my stash that I bought ages ago so hopefully I won’t ruin it. Fingers crossed!

Finished peplum skirt

20140311-180506.jpgI finally got round to finishing my peplum skirt last week and I’m so happy that I chose this pattern, I love it. It’s the New Look 6003 and it has 6 variations of a pencil skirt including 3 different peplums.

I made view B because it is the one that the model is wearing in the picture which drew me towards this pattern in the first place. I chose to make it in one of my favourite skirt fabrics, 100% cotton drill. What I like about it is that it’s super easy to work with, it doesn’t shrink much (I have always managed to get away with not pre-washing the fabric) and I like the drape of the fabric – my skirts made with this always feel quite ‘structured’ if that makes sense.

Apart from the peplum, what I really like about this pattern is that there are no pleats in the front – I much prefer a flat fronted skirt as I feel that darts in the front tend to make me look a bit ‘pouchy’ around the middle. I made the usual waist adjustment for me and made a few more adjustments to the waist and side once I had cut the fabric out and pin fitted it to myself. A little bit difficult to do with no help and many pin-pricked fingers along the way but I got there in the end.

imageI followed the instructions precisely when sewing the pieces together although I had to freestyle a little when it came to the waistband. I much prefer a facing instead of a waistband so I made my own facing pattern pieces by tracing around the top of the skirt front and back, allowing for how deep I wanted the facing to be.

I was rushing to do this before the 3rd episode of sewing bee started but it worked! ( I absolutely love that programme ♥). I sewed the facing and the skirt right sides together and then understitched the facing to the seam allowance so that it stays nice and flat. I think it came out well.

My first outing for this skirt will be a Christening that I’m going to soon although I need to make a top to match. Luckily I’ve already got some lovely printed fabric so I just need to decide on a pattern and get stitching. I’ll probably use this skirt pattern loads because I love the fit and the other peplum variations. Do you have a favourite skirt pattern?
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Finished peplum skirt

20140311-180506.jpgI finally got round to finishing my peplum skirt last week and I’m so happy that I chose this pattern, I love it. It’s the New Look 6003 and it has 6 variations of a pencil skirt including 3 different peplums.

I made view B because it is the one that the model is wearing in the picture which drew me towards this pattern in the first place. I chose to make it in one of my favourite skirt fabrics, 100% cotton drill. What I like about it is that it’s super easy to work with, it doesn’t shrink much (I have always managed to get away with not pre-washing the fabric) and I like the drape of the fabric – my skirts made with this always feel quite ‘structured’ if that makes sense.

Apart from the peplum, what I really like about this pattern is that there are no pleats in the front – I much prefer a flat fronted skirt as I feel that darts in the front tend to make me look a bit ‘pouchy’ around the middle. I made the usual waist adjustment for me and made a few more adjustments to the waist and side once I had cut the fabric out and pin fitted it to myself. A little bit difficult to do with no help and many pin-pricked fingers along the way but I got there in the end.

imageI followed the instructions precisely when sewing the pieces together although I had to freestyle a little when it came to the waistband. I much prefer a facing instead of a waistband so I made my own facing pattern pieces by tracing around the top of the skirt front and back, allowing for how deep I wanted the facing to be.

I was rushing to do this before the 3rd episode of sewing bee started but it worked! ( I absolutely love that programme ♥). I sewed the facing and the skirt right sides together and then understitched the facing to the seam allowance so that it stays nice and flat. I think it came out well.

My first outing for this skirt will be a Christening that I’m going to soon although I need to make a top to match. Luckily I’ve already got some lovely printed fabric so I just need to decide on a pattern and get stitching. I’ll probably use this skirt pattern loads because I love the fit and the other peplum variations. Do you have a favourite skirt pattern?
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Summer sewing plans

So Sunday was a beautiful day and now I’m full on thinking about what I need to make, instead of buy, for the summer. Over the last week or so I have spotted the fashion pages in a couple of magazines/newspapers and there are a lot of trends coming in that I like – florals, denim, metallics, bright colours and pastels.

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All I need to do now is decide on how I can work these ideas into my summer sewing projects.

First of all, I NEED a denim pencil skirt. I have seen a few around  but I want to create one of my own, preferably with a zip that goes all the way up the back. I already have a pattern that I can use as a guide (New Look 6003). I’ll need to hack it a bit though to work in the zip and maybe some pockets. Another summer make has to be a maxi skirt, I have a couple of maxi skirts/dresses and absolutely love wearing them in the summer, and I already have some floral fabric, so it’s a no-brainer. Major plus side here is that they are super easy to make. The last one I made was with an elasticated waistband and didn’t take long at all so I think I’ll opt for that approach this time. I’d also like to make a few stretchy tops for the summer, ideally to wear with my summer skirts or just with jeans. So hopefully I will master the art of sewing knits this month so I can just get on!