Sunday, 30 April 2017

Learning new tricks and a lovely sunset

Late afternoon sun last Thursday

Attempts at sewing with cotton jersey
I have been making my own clothes for a long time but have never worked with cotton jersey before. I want to start making my own tee shirts so that I can use organic or recycled fabric. Above is a first attempt using old clothing. The pattern doesn't have a seam down the front which would look better. Anyway I am glad I made a trial version first and will probably make another one before I start on new fabric.
I learnt a few things, firstly stay stitching needs to be done using a larger stitch than you would normally for stay stitching, I stretched the neckline, you can see it still looks a little odd.
Secondly the neck binding needs to be stitched very carefully to get an even finish and thirdly the top stitching also needs to be done carefully. Fourthly American pattern sizing is very different from ours.
This isn't a proper mannequin so the shirt doesn't hang very well but this is an American size 6 (so flattering) which is equivalent to a UK size 10, it is supposed to be a loose fit but I normally make clothes in a UK size 12. The pattern was large round the neck I have taken about two inches from the neckline.
The basic pattern is very simple to put together, the finishing a little more complicated. I haven't bothered doing hems as its a trial one, though it will do fine for gardening.
The pattern is Fen by Fancy Tiger Designs which I bought online from The Village Haberdashery, its also available from Backstitch.


  1. I bought Alabama Chanin's Stitch Book a few years back which has some beautiful patterns for using big hand stitches with cotton jersey

    1. I have all her books but her patterns look quite scary, haven't tried them yet. Hand stitching cotton jersey isn't easy either. Have you tried the patterns?

    2. Oh Ha! have never followed a pattern in my life (probably would make much better cothes if I did!) those big loose hand stitches work very well with cotton jersey, especially for binding the neck line. My first attempt back in 2010 was turning an Old Man Crow T-shirt into a singlet
      mistake no 1- used black linen thread
      mistake no 2- used tiny stitches so it took me 30 hours to make a singlet (a lot of that time was spent making tiny stitches to settle the wonky neck line but in the end it worked & is still going strong!
      a friend (who is a much better stitcher) made me a fantastic fitted T-shirt using big loose stitches from Alabama's stitch book the same year, it has held together beautifully & is still a favourite too!

    3. Sounds like large stitches are the answer then. I made a bag for my small camera using an old T shirt, that was hard to stitch but I was using small stitches. My Mum altered a neckline on one of my T shirts using one of Alabama's decorative stitches, that worked well, must take another look at her books.
      I can't make things without a pattern, wish I was better at improvising, each to their own.

  2. When my daughter was growing up and I made clothes for her, I avoided cotton jersey. I never mastered using it, I think yours looks great!

    1. Thanks, I will keep persevering until I master the technique though it might have to wait a while now summer is in the air.