I've become pretty addicted to sewing with jersey. Anything with a stretch really so that includes knits, sweatshirt, ponte de roma and jerseys. I've made dresses, tops, cardigans, hoodies, sweatshirts, and sweatpants so far. I know a lot of people are put off from sewing with them believing them to be scary, but once you've mastered the right stitch to work with the stretch of the cloth then they're an absolute joy. You can have a simple top sewn in a couple of hours tops and off you go. Sewing with stretch fabrics is becoming more popular. There are some wonderful patterns out there from indie pattern designers and Tilly Walnes has just brought out her latest book Stretch which talks you through sewing with these fabrics step by step along with some wonderful designs for you to make. The other thing I've got addicted to is searching online for the amazing selection of prints you can buy to sew with. I've so many stored away in my I will buy one day folder.
Sewing with stretch fabrics is a lot quicker than with regular cloth too. As there are no darts or zips to worry over, fitting issues are reduced measurably. The most important thing to remember with the sizing of stretch fabrics is how much stretch you have in your cloth and the amount of ease added into the pattern. So first off check your measurments and the finished garment measurements. From that you might want to go up or down a size depending on whether your're using a less stretchy heavier weight ponte de roma or a super stretchy jersey.
I sew my jerseys on my regular sewing machine, but if you have an overlocker these are perfect for sewing stretch fabrics on. I always use a stretch needle which is designed to sew through the cloth without piercing the weave and as my machine doesn't have a lightning stitch (how I wish it did) I set my machine to a longish stitch which will move with the cloth and not snap when I wear the finished garment. I overlock my seams as I go and my favourite bit is adding the top stitching on patterns that need it. I absolutely love the professional finish that topstitching gives.
Before you get to cutting your cloth though it's really really important that you wash it first. Otherwise you'll find your lovingly made top is a bit smaller once you wash it to wear the second time.
I've made a few Gable Tops designed by Jennifer Lauren a New Zealand designer. Find her at Jennifer Lauren Handmade where you can buy Pdf patterns if you want to get on with your sewing pronto like I do.
I absolutely love the boatneck design of this pattern which stays in place as it's neatly sewn down. I managed to squeeze a short sleeved version out of a piece of leftover clouds jersey I found in my stash. The other plus for me is that the patterns are exactly the length I want without having to alter them. I guess if you're shorter than my 6ft then you might need to shorten them though.
To make sure I don't wear it the wrong way round I stitched a red dot at the back. Sometimes I sew a small piece of ribbon in.
The first Gable top I made was with a 3/4 sleeve in a striped Ponte. A really good basic that gets a lot of wear.
I also added a plain white short sleeved version to my wardrobe. Can you tell I love this pattern?
In fact, I've made a fourth one too which is my favourite of all in a navy stripe cotton jersey. This was such a gorgeous cloth to work with.
After seeing a character on Silent Witness wearing a striped jumper with slightly wider 3/4 sleeves, I thought that's what I'm doing with this top.
The very same day I was on a total sewing roll, having the house to myself for a Saturday, so I used a remnant of jersey to make a Sweetheart Neck Tee from Gertie Does Vintage Casual.
I'm getting a good supply of jerseys ready for those warmer months when they arrive.
Last week Jennifer Lauren released a new pattern called the Ostara Top and I loved it so it was printed off and made straight away. That jersey she has used is just the business too. It has a beautiful square shaped scoop neck plus a gathered v-neck option very similar to the one I made from Gertie Does Vintage Casual.
I used a lightweight jersey that I already had and as the pattern said it had negative ease I opted to go up a size just in case. I'm considering this top as a toile unless I get round to altering it as it's been useful to show me that I actually need to work to my actual measurements with this pattern. I like my clothes fitted not loose and the neckline doesn't lay flat as it should. I'll be making this again until I get it right.
The last thing I've made for myself recently from jersey is this Muse Patterns Jenna Cardigan. I made a few in the summer which I entered into an instagram competition, the #cosiecardichallenge hosted by the Stitch Sisters and I won some lovely cloth too. I was totally taken by this silver sparkly jersey at my local fabric store and thought aha a christmas cardi.
I think I look ready to launch into outer space in this one.
For the Jenna cardigan there is the option to make it waist or hip length, a round neck or V-neck and to add a gathered yoke which is my favourite style. A totally versatile pattern that you can have lots of fun with I think.
Well that's me caught up with stretch fabric makes for myself. I've made all sort of other things for my family which I'll show you in another post.
Right I'm off to dream about what I'll be sewing up next. There's already a growing pile of ideas.
See you soon.