Saturday, February 28, 2015

How to sew with knit fabric

Knit/jersey fabric has a really tough reputation in the sewing world and for any newbie sewist can be a bit off-putting and scary.
However with a few tips sewing with knits can be just as easy, if not easier than sewing a woven fabric. Especially as knits don't fray so there's no need to finish seam allowances.

1. Start with ponte/interlock/thick jersey fabric.
Online this can be really tough to figure out but the fabrics above are really stable and don't flop about much. They are still stretchy but don't have as much movement.
I have had great success with eBay for knits and also Minerva Craft. Make sure you prewash your fabric first before using as it tends to shrink more than wovens.

2. Use wonder tape
If there's one product that has really earned it's name, it's wonder tape! This fab little tape washes away but you use to to keep hems in place whilst sewing so that you don't have to pull or move the fabric much.

3. When sewing the fabric don't stretch it!
By this I mean do not move it at all, let the machine move the fabric through the dogs otherwise you'll end up with wavy hems.

4.  Use a ballpoint needle
I was really surprised how much difference the type of needle you use affects your sewing, I especially found this when quilting and used a quilting needle which made a massive difference with no skipped stitches! Refer to your machine guide for needle size but for a ponte/thick jersey I used 90/10 ballpoint (not stretch) needles.

5. Use decent quality thread
I bought a box of thread from Aldi yonks ago and it's great for colour matching. I've never had any problems with sewing with it until recently, halfway through my grey Marianne dress the lower bobbin starting scrunching all the thread together. Once I switched to Gutemann I had no problems! Also Minerva will match your thread to your fabric in their online checkout. What a service!

Try a beginner pattern, some cheap fabric and have fun! Sewing with jersey fabric can be so easy and rewarding.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

February half term

I spent the first half of the week being a billy no-mates because all my friends were either working or busy. However I used the time wisely to spend sewing! 
I'd planned to start my Archer button up shirt and even ordered all the materials to make sure I had everything. I was really put off by finishing my Miette skirt at the start of the week. I found it, well not difficult, but definitely not the easy first time beginner pattern it was supposed to be.

Over the course of the week I finished my Miette skirt, made a marianne dress shortened to a top with collar, cut out the pieces for another stripe marianne, started sewing a grey marianne and cut out the pattern pieces for the Archer. 
Not bad for a week off!

We also managed to have a couple of adventures along the way. Gary took the Friday off work and we had a little adventure in Whitby, it was a gorgeous day.
I do love going to the seaside, especially Whitby, it's so scenic.

Of course we ate fish and chips, whilst fending the seagulls off, and walked the 199 steps up to Whitby abbey.
Then on the Saturday we took a trip to 5 Guys, who had been highly recommended by my sister, ate delicious burgers and then had a wander around Ikea. I ummed and aahed over more storage for my crafty bits (especially books, I need to stop buying craft books!) and have wanted a Raskog trolley for aaaages, but £50 is a bit steep. In the end I bought a colander and some tea towels! Exciting.

I had a lovely half term off work and feel refreshed but not quite ready to get back into it yet! It won't be long before exams are here and I have a lovely summer of sewing in front of me.


Marianne and Miette

This is the first time I've made separates rather than dresses and it makes me feel more 'me made' than just wearing a dress. 
I absolutely love wearing dresses, they're effortless and easy to style. Sometimes you need a change though. 
Hear enters the Miette skirt from Tilly and the Buttons

I made this skirt over a couple of hour sessions. Whilst sewing this I felt almost blind, I simply could not visualise how this skirt was going to come together, especially the waistband. As a result I sewed the waistband on the wrong way round.
I have to say for a beginner-never-made-anything-before pattern it's quite confusing and I wouldn't recommend it to total beginners. 
Having said that I'm pleased with my Miette skirt, it's made from a gorgeous lightweight denim from Merchant and Mills and I can see it getting a lot of wear. 

The Marianne top is a copy of a Cabbages and Roses dress I have. I love the collar and it's gorgeous to wear under dresses but the C&R version is far too warm to be layering. So I made my own! The fabric is interlock knit from eBay and is lovely and thick. 

I don't have many pictures of the top during construction as it was sewn up so quick! I think it only took around 2 hours to make. It's not perfectly constructed but I'm really happy with it as a basic piece and to layer under dresses. 

I can see myself becoming more of a perfectionist the more garments I make! It's frustrating because I miss that OMG-I-made-a-dress!! excitement however developing my sewing skills is definitely not a bad thing!

I'm currently in the middle of making a grey jersey Marianne (pictured above) and then onto the Archer shirt which I am more than apprehensive about.

What are you making at the moment?