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Ministry of Craft Blog

    Sunday, August 26, 2018

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    Sewing with stretchy fabric can be somewhat of a challenge but a challenge definitely worth overcoming. Open your wardrobe at home and you will find stretch fabrics tend to make up a huge majority of your garments. They are comfortable, easy to wear and require minimal care. Unlike woven fabrics that tend to have little ease, stretch fabrics have less fit issues because of the way the fabric can ‘grow’ if needed.

    My starting point for this garment was the Lisette sewing pattern B6168. I used the bodice pattern pieces as a guide to make the top detail with extended shoulders to make a cap sleeves. Except for that, I cut the pieces ‘free style’, something I would have not risked doing with a woven fabric.

    I wanted the band under the bust to fit tightly and this was easy to do in stretch, I cut it too big initially but it was easy to take it in to get the fit I was looking for.

    The skirt part was then attached to the band with some gathers in the centre.

    When cutting stretch fabric out, it is a good idea to lay it on a flat table so to doesn't hang over the edges, as this could stretch it out of place. The edges of some stretch fabrics tend to curl, a starchy spray can be used to reverse the curl, patience, however, is the best ingredient!

    Overlockers are wonderful at handling stretch fabrics and creating a polished finish, a zigzag stitch on a standard sewing machine can be used as an alternative. Also, using a ballpoint needle with a rounded tip will push the yarns away rather than piercing the fabric when sewing to avoid damaging it. A walking foot is great to stop one layer of material stretching out when sewing.

    Sewing a hem that does not roll can be a challenge, a regular stitch worked fine on the sleeve hem here, however on a bottom hem, a twin-needle stitch is often a better option. This is where the right side of the fabric has 2 parallel rows of stitching and the wrong side has a zigzag pattern – see previous blog

    I often get around the problem of a hem rolling by overlocking a folded band to the hem and this is what I have down on this style, I purposely cut the fabric in the opposite direction so the stripe pattern sat perpendicular.

    I find a bound neck works best at the neckline on stretch rather than a facing and it is pretty easy to do. I measure the neckline and cut the length of binding a couple of centimetres shorter so it has to be stretched slightly onto neckline to pull it nicely into shape. The width is the finished width required times two, plus 8mm times two for the seam allowance. I join the binding at the short ends first so it is in a circle then fold it in half with wrong sides together and overlock it into place.

    I am really pleased with the final garment and the fit was so much easier to achieve than it would have been working with a woven fabric. 



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