Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog

Cassiefairy's thrifty little lifestyle blog – DIY crafts, sewing, food & fashion – what more does a girl need??

stretch fabric sewing project using bias binding


Thrifty fashion ~ My finished stretch fabric sewing project

So after many requests to see a photo of my finished sewing project I’ve finally pinned my husband down long enough for him to take a snap of me wearing it. So here is the finished item and me posing in front of my retro caravan (don’t go thinking I’ve forgotten about sharing my caravan makeover project with you – more updates coming soon!). What do you think of the fabric and colour combinations? Rather summery, I think!

         DIY summer top sewing project

I still find the fit a little bit big for me, despite taking it in by two sizes during the making process. I actually measured myself and followed the guidelines on the pattern but when I’d constructed it (read last week’s blog post about the making process here) the top still needed taking down by two sizes before it would even hang right on my shoulders. I don’t think it’s anything that I’ve done wrong, I just think it is a generously sized pattern! Plus the stretch in the jersey probably would have allowed it to be even smaller and more figure-hugging, so perhaps next time I’ll make the pattern smaller and use an equally stretchy fabric.

stretch fabric sewing project using bias binding

I was very happy using the stretch bias binding around the neckline which saved me a lot of time and give me a more professional finish – I also like how it picks out the colours of the flowers within the pattern. Using the stretch thread from Minerva Crafts made it all the more easy to construct this garment from stretch fabric – the seams won’t rip, no matter how much pulling and stretching I do! Let me know what you think of my new floral top? I’m planning to wear it with a light grey blazer for a little extra warmth during this changeable Spring weather (see my blog post on dressing for Spring here) and it is already brightening up my wardrobe with a lovely burst of yellow and pink!

One more thing - I have a fabulous fashion giveaway running on Twitter to win this gorgeous Bon Prix dress in navy chiffon (worth £29.99) to add to your Spring wardrobe! Click here to see the competition tweet and enter by simply RTing & following me :)

frebie friday navy dress giveaay pic

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My new floral top & an update on my stretch fabric project

During the week I shared a blog post about my new sewing project and how I was working with stretch fabrics for the first time. I wanted to share my progress with you and let you know how I got on – so here goes!

my DIY sewing project using minerva crafts stretch fabrics

my stretch fabric DIY sewing project - pattern pieces

As you know, I spent a lot of time getting the measurements right and carefully cutting out my pattern. In the end there were only 4 pieces of fabric needed to construct the top: a front and back – made from the ‘lemon summer’ floral jersey fabric - and two sleeves, which I cut from lilac jersey fabric from Minerva. The top was constructed in a rather unusual way (or at least in a way what I’ve never done before) which was to sew the darts and stitch the top seam of the front and back together to make a sort of tabard before insert the open sleeves into the open sleeve holes – so the sleeves were stitched in at the shoulders before sewing up the side seams or the sleeve seams.

tshirt sewing project - using a double row of top stitching

The sides were then stitched in one continuous line from cuff of the sleeve, up the arm and back down the side seams. I tacked this seam using a long stitch so that I could try it on for size, and even though I’d double checked all the measurements on the pattern, the top was still too large for me. So I took the opportunity to take in the seams at both sides when I stitched them closed using a zig-zag stitch to allow it to stretch with the fabric. Because I was using a stretch thread (Mettler Serflock) I was able to straight stitch around a finger-rolled cuff to finish off the sleeves and I did a double-row of top stitching at the hem of the top (above).

stretch bias binding fabric sewing project

stretch bias binding DIY sewing tutorial

I decided to finish off the neckline with some contrasting pink stretch bias binding to pick out the colours in the floral fabric. This was a great product to work with and I could use it in the same way as normal binding, but it stretched easily around the curved neckline and still has a little bit of give in the fabric so that it can easily be pulled on and off over my head. I pinned the binding around the neckline and stitched the binding open, using a straight stitch into the crease line. I then folded this back to behind the fabric, ironed it flat and then pinned again before stitching around the neckline on the right side, very close to the edge of the binding, but not on it. This caught the binding at the back and stitched it in place without leaving a line on top of the binding at the front.

DIY sewing project ironing stretch bias binding

stretch bias binding top stitching sewing project

Using stretch bias binding in tshirt sewing project

I am very pleased with how my summer top has turned out and I will share some photos of the finished item soon. I really love the colours and floral pattern. It was such an easy design to create, with very few pattern pieces and nothing too technical – I guess that’s why it says ‘FACILE/EASY’ in big letters on the Vogue pattern! I guess it would have been more tricky if I’d used the neckline pattern pieces rather than using stretch bias binding, but if I can find a shortcut to creating something that looks great in half the time, I will of course use it! I’m planning to make this pattern again in different fabrics and I think it would take me even less time and effort now that I’ve done it once – who needs high street shops anyway?! ;)

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Ideas for a Monday night in with the girls

As much as I’m looking forward to this weekend, I just want to say that Monday nights suck – that’s official. The weekend is all done and dusted and already a distant, wine-fuddled memory. The next weekend is far, far away. You’ve already had one day back at work, and Monday morning is the worst working morning, unless you’ve got a job taste-testing Belgian chocolates! Monday nights should be banned – they are far more hazardous to your health crossing the M1 blind-folded! So we have got to do something about it…

big_bang_theory playing twister

The ‘Big Bang Theory’ girls playing Twister

I yapped about my horror of Monday nights with my gal pals and I discovered all my buddies were kindred spirits. We all hated Monday nights – so, we resolved to do something about them. Monday night became ‘Monday Night In With The Girls’ night! We have chick-flick-a-thons, Come Booze With Me evenings (although we do drink responsibly, after all, we’ve all got jobs to go to in the morning) and Board/Bored Games sessions. However, whenever it comes to my turn to host, my rather illicit love of card games is allowed to shine with my patented Casino Nights. I thought about hosting a poker evening but most of my friends found it either a bit too complicated or a bit too boring. Blackjack was deemed ‘too repetitive’ but finally we landed upon a diversion that gave rise to the least amount of moaning – roulette!

friends playing poker

Remember the episode of Friends where the girls learn to play poker?

I managed to grab a cheap-ish roulette set off Amazon; it’s an easy game to play and you can play it in your own style. And it’s really easy to pick up the rules, see the roulette section at Full Tilt. I’ve one friend who solidly and resolutely just bets on her favourite number – 23 – time and time again. We used to tease her mercilessly when the little silver ball evaded the number 23 slot spin after spin – until it finally came up twice in a row. She hadn’t moved her winnings from the previous spin so won something like 1,200 chips – which was a shame really as the set only came with about one hundred. At the end of the evening the person with the most chips is declared the winner. There’s no prize as such, just the momentary glimpse of fame and fortune that comes with winning. It certainly livens up our Monday evenings and makes them so less depressing.

Now all we have to do is work out how to make Tuesdays evenings more bearable..!

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My first attempt at sewing stretch fabrics – inspired by the Great British Sewing Bee

As usual, I’ve been inspired by the Great British Sewing Bee to get back behind my sewing machine and make myself a summer top. It was while watching last week’s episode featuring lots of stretchy fabric challenges that I first thought I’d like to have a go at using stretch materials. This led me to a rummaging session on Minerva Craft’s website for some jersey fabric, a pattern and lots of stretch trimmings and here’s what I chose for my project:

my DIY sewing project using minerva crafts stretch fabrics

  1. Firstly I chose the pattern that I wanted to try out – this Vogue pattern for a top. I thought this would lend itself well to being made from stretch fabrics and looked straightforward enough without any fiddly zips or buttons go worry about.

  2. I chose this “Lemon Summer” jersey fabric. The pattern told me that knit or jersey fabrics would be best to use and after a lot a deliberation (and confusion over double-jersey!) I chose this pretty floral fabric in bright spring-like colours.

  3. I wanted to follow the pattern and use a contrasting fabric for the arms so I chose a lilac jersey fabric to pick out the lilac in the floral print.

my great british sewing bee inspired project using stretch fabrics

  1. As this was my first attempt at making a stretch garment I wanted to get the correct thread so I chose a Mettler Serflock stretch thread. I decided that 1000m of white would be best as I could use it on other projects in the future if this one works out well!

  2. Finally, I decided that a stretch bias binding would be fun to try out and again I wanted to use a contrasting colour to pick out some of the tones in the floral pattern, so I plumped for rose pink stretch fabric sewing project - cutting

The whole bundle arrived this week so I started on cutting out the pattern straight away. It’s always a nerve-wracking moment when I cut out the fabric, so I carefully folded, smoothed, pinned and double-checked everything before I started snipping! I now how all the pattern pieces cut out and I’m ready to start the construction so I’ll crack on with it now and share the results with you when I’m done – watch this space!

my stretch fabric DIY sewing project - pattern pieces

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What to get for the mother who has everything..!

Well she’s already got me, so what more does she need?? haha! But seriously, it’s Mother’s Day on 30th March and I know you’ll all be wanting to shower the women in your life with treats for doing that most difficult job of all. So what can you make and what would you like to buy for your ‘supermum’? I’ve done a little research to make it even easier for you to spoil your mother at the end of the month and here’s what I’ve come up with:

Make your mother a card with a detachable ‘Super Mum’ badge that she can wear all day long! This tutorial from TrimCraft blog shares DIY instructions and even a printable template for the badge so check it out and give it a go for yourself!

DIY mothers day card and jewellery gift ideas

To make it the most special Mother’s Day yet, visit the Swag website to find a sparkly treat for your mother such as this Pandora bangle from the Mother’s Day collection or Diamonfire’s special cubic zirconia heart locket necklace above.

Or how about taking your mum out for a special treat and spending some quality time together? I found some fantastic experience days gifts from including a decadent lunch cruise on the Thames for two, which sounds like great fun for both of you! And if your mum truly is a ‘supermum’ rushing from one task to the next, perhaps she’d like the chance to unwind and relax during a spa experience? Again, you can go with your mum and have a good catch up while getting pampered!

                       mothers day experience ideas from iwoot

Another DIY idea is to pick up one of those clear plastic photo frames that you can get from pound stores and customise it to create a special family album of photos and scrapbook pages. There’s a fantastic tutorial on the Crafts Unleashed blog which shows you how to create this freestanding photobook below. It would be a perfect homemade gift for Mother’s Day and will show your mum how much you care with all the time and love you’ve put into creating an album of  special memories. Let me know if you give this a go!

 DIY mothers photo album and magazine gift ideas

Finally, for the mother who has everything – why not give her a subscription to a magazine? It’s one of MY favourite things to receive because it’s the gift that keeps on giving – she’ll love getting the magazine delivered to her all year round and will be reminded of your lovely gift each time. Don’t worry if you have no idea what magazines she already reads – simply hop onto the Unique Magazines website (where I have already subscribed to Ethical Consumer magazine!) and find a publication that she won’t have come across before but that fits in with her interests – does she enjoy cooking, crafting, gardening, fashion, pets? There’s something for every taste so check it out.

Let me know if you try out any of these tutorials for Mother’s Day crafts and which gifts you pick out to treat your mother at the end of March. I always find that time runs away with me in March, so I hope to have time to sort out a lovely treat for my own mother and I’m sure there’ll be baking involved – check out my cupcake recipes to make a yummy batch of mum’s favourite cakes!