Test Sewing Stretch Denim

I recently received a package in the mail from Distinctive Sewing Supplies.  Inside was a beautiful piece of an ITY knit, a bottle of Eucalan, AND 2 meters of a lightweight stretch denim in my favourite colour! 

These products were given to me by Catherine, the owner of Distinctive Sewing Supplies in exchange for my using, testing, sewing and providing an honest review on my blog.

I LOVE that each piece of fabric comes labeled and wrapped in a clear plastic bag.

After soaking the denim in warm water with the Eucalan then letting it tumble in a cool drier for about 15 minutes, it came out looking like this. 

I measured it afterward and shrinkage was 4%.

It is so soft and silky that I had to shut the cat out of my sewing room to take a cat-less picture. 

The original plan was that I was going to make a pair of jeans with it, but Catherine and I decided that it was a bit too light in weight.  So I made another pair of Jalie Eleonore Pull On Jeans with it.

click here to read another post about these jeans

or another here

and here

  Notice that the top-stitching co-ordinates with the pocket lining fabric.  Get my instructions on drafting a functional pocket for the adult sizes by clicking on the link.

adding-pocket-to-jalie

I did my top-stitching with this twin needle, Schmetz 6.0/100.  I’m going to try a size 4.0/100 on this lighter weight denim next time.

Most of the construction was done using my serger, then top-stitched with the twin needle afterward. 

Watch that you don’t skimp on the seam allowance and that you edge finish this denim , as it does have a tendency to fray. 

It also has just barely enough stretch for this pattern, and I really noticed those extra holiday pounds.  If you’re going to use this fabric for the Jalie Eleonore pattern, you might want to make one size larger than normal.

Well, I’m off for a walk outside, ta ta. 

 

 

Sewing Pants and Jeans

Do you sew your own pants and/or jeans?  I do, for many reasons, but the most important reason is…………. FIT……..!

Even when I was young, and fit, before children and enjoying wine and good food, I had fitting issues. 

I’m tall, 5 foot 10, with a 34 inch inseam and a waist that still goes in a bit. 

Every pattern I use has to be altered, so I make good use of a well fitting pattern.

One of the blogs I follow is Curvy Sewing collective, and they are going to dedicate February to Curvy Pants Month!

I’m already planning for this event, and already have another pair of Eleonore Pull-on Jeans cut out in a beautiful stretch denim from Distinctive Sewing Supplies, and ready to sew. This denim is butter soft, and was a pleasure to cut out.  It will be perfect for Spring.   Now that I have this pattern altered, and added functional front pockets, it will be a breeze to sew up.

 

AND, I also have this pattern coming!

Along with a stretch denim from Distinctive Sewing Supplies that will be perfect.  I love sewing with the fabric I get from Catherine!  She is an accomplished seamstress and really knows her stuff.  I can order with complete confidence in the quality of everything Catherine carries.

 

 

Chapter Three in the Jalie #2921 Scarf Collar Top

Prepping

Sewing

The two links above take you to the first and second post

Chapter Three in the Jalie #2921 Scarf Collar Top

Looks great doesn’t it?  And as long as I hold in my tummy and stand up straight it looks fantastic!  But OMG when I forget!


Just for the record, that beautiful piece of fabric, Jalie pattern #2921, and a bottle of Eucalan were provided to me at no charge by Distinctive Sewing Supplies in Oakville Ontario in exchange for my sewing this great top and blogging about it.  Click on the link to visit Catherine’s website and see the other patterns and great fabrics she carries.  The quality and prices are excellent. And now you can earn points and reap rewards for shopping there!  And you don’t even have to leave the house!


So, lets get back to my dilemma, it’s a beautiful blouse, but it’s tighter than I like.  I read some reviews on PatternReview.com and there were quite a few comments on the “close to the body” fit. After measuring the finished circumference of a few tops I like, I decided to go up by 2 sizes.   I had enough fabric to cut a new front, back and scarf, but was short by 54 centimeters for the sleeves.  Catherine was quick to oblige and a piece of fabric was here in a matter of days.

I lengthened all the pieces like in part one of this post, and raised the front neckline by 2 inches, then re-drew the new neckline with the aid of my Design Curve.

Then I followed all of the same steps outlines in chapter one, and sewed the top together.  The sewing took less than two hours!

And I’m delighted with the outcome.  I’ll wear this one! 

Doesn’t this make you want to make one for yourself?

 

Jalie # 2921 Scarf Collar Top, Sewing it up

It’s time to sew!

This is part two of a three part post about my experience sewing and fitting the Jalie #2921 Scarf collar top. 

Part One is HERE.

ITY can be a bit of a slippery beast to tame, (thanks for that line  Lorna), so I elected to use my sewing machine for construction instead of the serger.  I used a “lightening stitch” (lengthened), 1/4 inch seam allowance and a Stretch 75/11 needle for all the seams.

 I started sewing using my dual feed foot, but soon changed it for my flat bottomed “A” foot.  The constant pressure of the flat foot held the fabric more securely than the dual feed foot.

 The included instructions were very clear and easy to follow.  The diagrams were also very helpful.  The instructions are also available as a stand-alone PDF on the Jalie website, so you can print them and keep them handy.

I followed the instructions provided for the most part, but did make a couple of very minor changes. 

  • Attaching the collar using the burrito method is brilliant!  It’s attached in two stages, first the right side of the scarf is sewn to the wrong side of the garment neckline.  Second, the entire body is rolled up and the other side of the scarf is sewn from one point, up the length, then along the original seam line and back down the other side.  I found that if I sewed the second step with the first line of stitching up and visible, that I was able to sew directly on top of the original sewing line, so I didn’t have to worry about it showing through to the right side. 
  • I also elected to leave the space for turning along one side instead of the bottom.  For me it made the hand-sewing the opening closed easier.

I did experience some issues with my sewing machine trying to eat my fabric at the beginning and ending of the scarf, but quickly solved it by slipping a scrap of pattern paper underneath the fabric and sewing through it all.  The paper tore away easily afterward.

The rest of the construction went smoothly. 

There is a small opening left unsewn just below the neckline in the center front seam, and that’s where the scarf comes through to the front.  I fused short strips of 1/4 inch wide Steam a Seam to the wrong side of the seam allowances after sewing, peeled off the paper, then fused the seam allowance open to stabilize it.

The hole is hard to see, but it’s between the arrows.

I used this twin needle for all the hems, the fusible knit interfacing made it smooth and easy.

Photo time!  I love this top!  The fabric is sew comfortable to wear, the colour is perfect for me, and the style is a bit dressy, but not too much.  Thank you sew much Catherine and Distinctive Sewing Supplies!

But……

It fits tighter that I’m used to, and with my already long neck, and no cleavage to show off, I feel a bit exposed. 

Sew……….

I’m going to sew it again, larger, and I’m going to raise the neckline by two inches.

That will be the next post.  Stay tuned…….for Chapter Three

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Top 5 Sewing Hits of 2016

 

Top 5 Hits of 2016

2016 was an emotionally tumultuous sewing year for me.  Total discord between me and the buyer of the business that I started in 1986 almost brought me to my knees.  I had even made the decision to give up sewing, and this blog, but my dear friends helped my get my “sewjo” back. 

 

Thank you my dear friends!

#1 is Jalie #3461, Eleonore Pull on Jeans.  This was the 6th pair I made, and now I’ve lost track of how many more I’ve sewn.  These are so comfy and I wear them so often that I’ve started to see signs of these wearing out at the knees.

 

#2 is Jalie # 2921 Scarf Collar Top.  My posts on it aren’t even complete yet, but I already know there will be more of these in my wardrobe in 2017.  The pattern and the fabric came from Distinctive Sewing Supplies in Oakville in exchange for writing a review, blog post and the loan of the garment for fashion shows, and I’m convinced I got the best part of that deal!

 

#3 is this tee top, modified from a simple, but well fitting “Model Tee” by Linda MacPhee.  The fabric is an ITY similar to prints available from Distinctive Sewing Supplies, Oakville, Ontario.    The pattern is a basic Tee shirt and I added a cut on sleeve, lengthened it and shaped the hem to be high/low.     It flows, doesn’t cling, and it makes me feel thinner than I really am. 

#4 is a sleeveless top I wore many times this past summer.   I’d been spending a lot of time in my garden, enjoying my vegies, planting the last of the seeds, watching the critters at the feeders, and taking lots of pictures.

As a result, I was getting a golden glow on my arms.  But my shoulders and upper arms were white, so, it was time to sew a tank-top or two.  For a mature person.  No gaping, no bra straps showing.   I remembered a dress I had made at least 10 years ago.  It had princess seams that started mid-shoulder AND bust darts.  I LOVE that dress and still wear it.  

I found the pattern, and traced off enough of the top parts to make a hip length tank-top.  I had a striped fabric and played around with it a bit.  And I love it!  There’s enough coverage, no straps show!

#5 is a tee with an inverted pleat.

I used a MacPhee Workshop pattern that I’d made many times before, but added an inverted front pleat.  The fabric is a poly ITY knit in a discontinued print similar to those available at Distinctive Sewing Supplies in Oakville.  The colour goes well with the jeans that have become my uniform of my retirement.

 

Jalie #2921 Scarf Collar Top, my First Steps

How can a pattern that’s this easy to make, look sew good?

I made view C.

If you are an average build and height, once you have the pieces cut out (and there are only four pattern pieces!) and prepped, the sewing is sew easy that you could be wearing it in a couple of hours.

Why did I sew this particular pattern in this particular fabric?

Because I love to sew and write about the experience , and Catherine Goetz,  owner of Distinctive Sewing Supplies in Oakville,  Ontario sent me the pattern, the fabric, and a bottle of Eucalan in exchange for me writing a blog post about my experience, and reviewing the pattern.  (I think I got the better deal) 

I was delighted to see that each piece of fabric came in a clear plastic bag with an incredibly informative label.  Here’s the ITY label;

(It was smooth when it arrived, but then it became a cat play-thing)

The first step was pre-washing the ITY in the Eucalan. I  soaked it in lukewarm water and Eucalan.  No rinsing, just spin dry and a short bounce in a low heat drier.   The ITY didn’t shrink at all, didn’t need pressing and retained it’s soft drape and sheen.

What is ITY?  Catherine wrote a blog post, you can read it by clicking here.     ITY

My next step was to trace off a copy of the pattern in my size.  According to my measurements I wear a “Z” in the Jalie pattern line.  At 5 ft 10 inches, I always add one inch to the body length and one inch to the sleeve length.  I keep a roll of Exam Table Paper in my sewing room for pattern tracing, pattern alterations, and pattern drafting.  It’s something I can’t sew without.

There is a “Lengthen/Shorten” line printed on the front, back and sleeve pieces.  Actually there are two parallel lines very close together.   The idea of it is that you cut between them and spread or overlap, depending if you want to lengthen or shorten the piece. 

Because I trace my pattern pieces, I added the one inch as part of my tracing. 

Here’s how I did the sleeve.  (btw, the original sleeve pattern piece is a half sleeve, designed to be cut on the fold.  I used a piece of pattern paper large enough for the entire sleeve and folded it in half.  It’s thin enough to see through so I can lengthen it, and when I cut it out and unfold it, I’ll have a complete sleeve pattern.)

I made a short video of this process

 

Trace the top and upper part of the sleeve to the lengthen/shorten line.  Trace it, then, because I need to add one inch, I draw a parallel line 1 inch away from the first line.  Then, keeping the fold of the paper even with the fold line of the original, slide the paper up until the second line is on top of the lengthen/shorten line on the pattern.  Continue to trace the rest of the sleeve.  There will be a bit of a “hic-up” along the seam-line where you added the inch, to smooth it use a dressmakers curved ruler.  This is like the one I use. (I have the one my Mom used, and it’s not quite the same)

Then I cut out my pattern piece and unfolded it to get a full sleeve pattern.

My extra fine glass headed pins went through the the stretchy ITY easily.  My regular pins didn’t do as well.  Flat button-head or flower head pins would also work very well, especially if you use a rotary blade for cutting out.  My mat is too small so I use scissors.

I made a (very)small clip into the ITY at all the notches instead of cutting out around the triangles.

My next step was to fuse one-inch wide strips of fusible tricot interfacing to the front shoulders and to all the hems.  I save my scraps (it’s the Dutch in me) and cut them into one inch wide strips with my rotary cutter.  The straight of grain strips went on the shoulders (to prevent stretching) and the cross-grain strips got fused to the hems (to retain the stretch).  I overlapped the shorter pieces as I applied them. 

I was ready to sew! 

Follow along with me to my next post 🙂

And chapter three, where I make a few alterations

Sew a Bag for Fluffy Microwaved Potatoes

 

Yes, these are sew fast to make up that you still have time to whip up a few before Christmas,      IF      you have the right scrim-free batting.

This is the one I use, and one package will make 6.  Your local quilt shop might carry it, if not,

I get mine here; at Amazon.ca

 

 

 

 

 

 

To make one bag, you’ll need 2 pieces of quilters cotton, 12 inches by 22 inches, and one piece of scrim-free batting 12″ x 22″

If you open out the batting like this diagram, you can cut 6 from one piece with very little waste.

Place your 2 pieces of quilters cotton with right sides together, then smooth the batting on top with all edges even.  Turn it over so the batting is on the bottom, and using 100% cotton thread and 1/4″ seam allowance, sew the 2 short ends through all layers.  I found it fed better with the batting down, and my Dual Feed foot was my best friend.

Trim the seam allowance to 1/8th ” , then turn right sides out so the batting is in between the fabric.  Press with iron to flatten, then top-stitch along each short end.

I quilted this  flat piece about 5 inches apart using cotton thread.  I suspect these will end up in the laundry, and I don’t want the batting to bunch up.

With right side up, fold one short end in toward the middle by 2 inches.  Bring the other short end over so it’s 1/4″ from the fold and pin or clip to hold.

Sew up the sides, using a generous 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Trim close to the stitching, then turn right side out.  Poke out the corners carefully, then press well with the iron to flatten.  Top-stitch 1/4 inch from each side to hide the raw edges.

To use:  Wash and dry baking potatoes.  No need to poke holes in them.  Wrap in a dry paper towel and insert into the bag.  Microwave for the correct length of time according to your oven.

I use a piece of clean cotton muslin instead of the paper towel to save garbage.

This bag is large enough for corn, too.

Here’s a PDF of the instructions, as well as a page with 4 sets of cooking instructions.   If you don’t want to print them, only print page 1.

baked potato bag

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sew a Decorative Cover for your Toilet Seat

I made a few of these toilet seat covers a few years ago, when I needed a project for “Christmas Club”, a monthly class that we offered, back in the day of my store ownership.

It was a simple as tracing the toilet seat, adding seam allowance, decorate with applique, then attach elastic all around the outside.

I’ve put together a few short videos outlining the process, and here’s how to make your pattern.

After your pattern is made, you’ll add seam allowance and cut out your fabric.

Press 1/4 inch to the wrong side along the straight edge that was at the back of the seat, then to the sewing machine. 

Applique or decorate at this point.  I used a few snowflakes that I cut with my Go-cutter to jazz up the one in the picture, and appliqued Rudolph onto the one I used for a class sample.  Or leave it plain.

Select a zig zag stitch, (I like the triple zig zag).

In the video I sewed the 1/4 inch hem down by using this stitch, but in retrospect, I’d use a straight stitch instead.  Begin by sewing up the little hem with a straight stitch, then switching to the triple zig zag to attach the elastic to the wrong side of the cover.   Stretch the elastic, then sew it down with the zig zag stitch.  In the video I only attach elastic to the curved part, but in real life, continue all the way around.  I used a narrow clear swimwear elastic, because it washes well.

And the finished product;

I’m not a huge fan of watching videos myself, so I’ve kept these short.  What do you think of my first attempt?

Let’s Sew a Mug Tote

A Mug Tote! 

What a great idea!  How great is this idea?

  • I love to sew
  • It’s fun and easy to sew
  • It uses scraps
  • It makes a great gift
  • It protects my mug when I take it somewhere
  • It makes a great blog post

Many thanks to my friend Joyce; she brought one to Sewing Social in Trenton last week and a lot of us got excited to sew one.  I offered to write a pattern, and here’s the result.

Here’s the supply list in case you want to get started, BUT, I’m not going to post the instructions here until December 13th.  If you’re a subscriber, you’ll receive a notice by email, if you’re not a subscriber, you can do so by filling in your email addy at the top left of this page.

Outer layer, 1 piece 10 inches x 14 1/2 inches and a 5 inch circle for the bottom.

1 piece of batting or fusible fleece 14 inches x 6 1/2 inches.

For lining, 1 piece 10 inches x 14 1/2 inches and a 5 inch circle for the bottom.

25 inches of narrow ribbon for the tie.

2 strips of 1/4 inch wide paper backed fusible web 14 1/2 inches long. 

One 4 1/2 inch diameter sour cream container lid

Matching sewing thread.

And here are the instructions, happy stitching!

Free Pattern for Mug Tote

21 Sewing Terms Every Beginner Should Know

Sewing by machine is a skill that takes practice and a basic knowledge of “Sewing Terms”.  I used to teach a class aimed at new sewing machine owners, and my goal was to incorporate as many sewing terms into that class as possible. 

The class was offered  free with the purchase of a sewing machine at the store where I worked. 

Armed with the knowledge of knowing how to use the sewing machine just purchased along with some basic knowledge of skills and terms, most of our new sewing machine owners were well on their way to a fun and satisfying  hobby.

One of the blogs I love to read is “Colette”, the Publishers of
Colette Patterns and Seamwork Magazine, and the latest blog post was none other than “21 Sewing Terms Every Beginner Should Know“.

Written by Katie Whittle, here’s a little bit about her:

Katie teaches new skills through in-depth tutorials, sewalongs, and articles for Seamwork Magazine and The Colette Blog. She’s all about encouraging sewers to try new techniques and create a personalized wardrobe that makes them feel great!

Check out her great article, then come back here and let me know what you think of it, and happy sewing! 

Nowadays you’ll find me sharing this kind of knowledge at our local library “Sewing Social in Trenton”.

Yup, I sew, machine knit, crochet, garden, cook, love, and share.