Well, one of my new year’s not-resolutions was to start sewing with stretch fabric. The sewing machine that I have from a customer of The Boy’s came with jersey needles and a couple of double needles, so I didn’t have to get anything extra, which is often a hold-up for me when I’m trying to get round to doing something new.
When I started sewing it was mostly because I didn’t want to be buying so many cheaply- and unethically-made clothes that only last for a year before they fall apart. But it was after I started sewing that I realised that I was sewing with woven fabric, and most of my day-to-day wardrobe is made from stretch fabric, a bit more relaxed and comfy.
So when I went to Konstanz just after Christmas, I found some really nice dark green ribbed lightweight cotton jersey, at 2.50 euros per metre. So I bought four metres.
Then I looked at patterns. There’s a free one from Deer and Doe called Plantain, which I’ve downloaded and intend to make soon, but the one that I’ve heard quite a lot about here and there on t’blogosphere is the Renfrew top from Sewaholic, which is everywhere once you start looking. I’ve used their patterns before, you may remember, although their spec is patterns for pear-shaped people, I’ve liked their patterns when I’ve used them in the past, I just need to trace between the sizes, particularly at the waist, but that’s fairly simple.
The pattern says to use a “stable knit fabric” and I was a bit worried that the green fabric was too stretchy, and I don’t have a walking foot for my machine, which I’ve read helps to feed both parts of fabric through evenly. So I went out and found something that I thought was a bit more stable. There wasn’t much choice in the “sale rail” (which wasn’t a rail, it was a rack,) but I found this stuff, which is thickish and sooooo cosy and warm, and it has sparkly gold lines which make it more interesting :)
[EDIT: going by descriptions on t’interweb, I think it’s interlock.]
The pattern went off really smoothly, I graded between sizes 8 at the bust and waist, and size 2 for the hips. I shortened the sleeves by about 1 1/2 inches, and also narrowed them, because I like them to be fairly fitted. I had to adjust the cuffs as well to match. Next time (and there will be a next time, probably with the green fabric) I’ll look at the sleeve pattern in smaller sizes, or possibly I’ll just be lazy and use the pattern from last time and just make the same measurements again.
Sewing this fabric is lovely, it’s so nice after sewing only woven stuff, with endless raw edge finishings, just to be able to trim down and move on to the next bit. It’s also lovely to sew something that I’ll be able to wear more often because a) it’s casual and b) it won’t need ironing!
Quite pleased with my stripe matching here! After I’d chosen the fabric I read somewhere that it’s probably best to use plain fabric for the first attempt, so as not to have to worry about pattern matching, but I think it went off quite well.
(Please ignore the smudgy mirror, that last picture was taken before I noticed how gross it was and gave it a good clean.)
I love the fit of this top, it’s so warm and snuggly. The gold thread is a wee bit scratchy, but when I wear a t-shirt under it it’s fine, and better for the time of year! I’m going to have a go next with the dark green fabric, possibly for a short-sleeved top.