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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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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Sewing Bee inspired baby onesie

It’s been a week of children’s clothing challenges on The Great British Sewing Bee – first the cute dungarees (that I am bursting to make for my nephew!) followed by the task to turn a pillowcase, children’s jumper and trousers into a fancy dress costume for the little ‘uns. As you probably know, fancy dress is my forte and I would have relished this challenge. In my mind, the first thought was to create a tiny pirate’s costume for my nephew just as Cerina did (and won the challenge with!) and my second option was an angel outfit and the white pillowcase would be perfect for this. Over the previous weeks there have been a few little outfits appearing and it has inspired me to share my little baby-grow project with you.

I didn’t actually make the baby-grow itself and I’m not sure that I’d trust my haphazard sewing against baby-soft skin, so I’ve simply upcycled a bought baby-grow with a t-shirt transfer. I used t-shirt transfer paper that you can print directly on to using a computer printer at home and I designed this tiny ‘He started it’ slogan using Publisher on my laptop. It is a baby-grow for my little niece and I decided that no matter whether it was her father or her uncle holding my her, one of them would definitely have started it because she’s too much of a little princess to get into trouble! I’ve used the same type of transfer paper to print a lucky cat image onto one of my old tops – check out the blog post here. The only thing to remember when using t-shirt transfer paper is that you must print the text in reverse so that it appears the right way round after it has been transferred onto the fabric.

personalised baby grow printing

If you want to print your own t-shirts or children’s clothes it’s best to follow the instructions on the pack of transfer paper that you’re using so I followed the directions to trim closely around the image or text and put into position on the fabric before pressing with an iron. The pack will guide you on how long to apply the heat to the transfer – too little time will result in the transfer peeling off and too long will discolour the print. The transfer paper usually recommends that the transfer is allowed to cool down completely before it is peeled off so I carefully lifted one corner after about 5 minutes cooling time and the backing paper peeled off easily. Sometimes the transfer needs additional treatment to seal it but it depends on the type of transfer paper you’ve used.

And there you have it – a custom-made slogan t-shirt or onesie for the children in your life, made in super-fast time!


The Great British Sewing Bee – My shirt challenge

So do you think it’s the only thing worth watching on TV these days? Are you loving The Great British Sewing Bee like I am? I’m a big fan and it really makes me want to get back behind the sewing machine and start making again! I happily sat and absorbed the first show but didn’t really feel all that inspired to start stitching. HOWEVER, during the second week my imagination sparked into life during the shirt challenge and I knew I wanted to give it a go myself.

In the second episode challenge the contestants could choose two patterned shirts and make them into anything they wanted. There were a lot of skirts and baby dresses made but not much in the way of shirts. I know that the judges wanted to see something innovative but I couldn’t help thinking how simple and cool it would be to swap the arms and collar of one shirt for another. So the idea bubbled away in my mind and I found myself flicking through my husband’s wardrobe to see what items of clothing I could nab for my project.

Great British Sewing Bee episode 2 shirt challenge

Luckily (or sadly, whichever way you look at it) my husband has two shirts that are beyond repair – one has yellow paint splashed down the front and the other is worn away at the collar. Perfect for my project, I say! I’ve photographed the two shirts above before getting to work hacking off the sleeves, collar and pocket of each shirt to get the pieces I needed to create a mix-n-match shirt.

I stitched the grey arms into the white arm holes without checking if I’d put the arms in the correct side (this is why I wouldn’t do at all well on the Sewing Bee – too lazy!) but when I came to check the sleeves – phew – they were in the right place. I’m so jammy! I’d left a little extra of the white collar as a hem to attach the grey collar to but it looked messy after I’d stitched it on with one row of straight stitching so I added a second row which pulled it all together and looked much neater.

Great British Sewing Bee episode 2 shirt challenge finished

Finally, and extra lazily, I stitched the grey pocket on top of the white pocket so now the shirt has a double-layered pocket on the front – so it can hold lots more pens etc – very practical, I reckon! Of course I forced hubby into the shirt and although it looks a bit like Wee Willy Winkie’s nightshirt, it fitted well and I think it looks kinda funky! Anyway, I completed the shirt challenge yesterday – a whole week after the show – just in time for the next episode and the t-shirt challenge to be set. I just need to find a big jersey t-shirt and I’ll be getting started! Have you been making anything from the show? Has it inspired you to stitch your own goodies yet? Let me know :)