Virgin Jersey

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I picked up some fun jersey (or stretch) material the other weekend when I went to the Southern Highlands. At the Bong Bong Race Track there was a big sign saying ‘FABRIC SALE’ so I thought “Great, lets get the kids home and get back here”.

So half and hour later I was back at Bong Bong sorting through masses and masses of fabrics. It turns out a lovely old lady had hoarded fabric for the last fifty years and she was about to down-size to a smaller home so it all needed to go. Anyway I found this cute daisy print but it was in jersey –  so I thought well I’m still a virgin when it comes to jersey and there’s no time like the present so why not give it a go!

I’m using this great tutorial by Dana to guide me in the right direction. Everyone says that working with jersey is quite tricky but if you read what Dana says she says it’s really not that difficult at all – so here goes! I figure what have I got to lose? The worse thing that can happen is that it’s a disaster and it gets turned into bunting.

I’ve decided to just do a single layered skirt for my first attempt – if it’s a success I’ll try the double layered skirt that Dana has on her site.

The first step is to measure my daughter, then cut the fabric and start sewing it together, trim the bottom with some bias tape, (this part isn’t necessary but it just adds a bit more interest to a very simple skirt), add the elastic waist band and it should be done!

I’m really quite pleased how it has turned out. Just like the Maxi I did the other day I didn’t use a pattern as there was no real need. I even made my own bias binding which was a bit of fun and meant that I could trim the hem in what ever fabric I wanted. My daughter was thrilled with the result and has been wearing it ever since I made it! There’s a real sense of achievement when you have a happy customer!

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The Maxi

The Maxi

I have to say I was very surprised at just how wonderful this little dress turned out; I definitely underestimated my ability! I managed to make this dress with no pattern and no help from anyone…. amazing!  And I made it in two nights…. originally I thought it would take me about a week…. and no doubt next time I make her one I’ll be able to halve the time it takes to construct the garment.

I picked up this lovely fabric from Tessutis at Chatswood – it has some lovely fabrics; I know there are some people who often don’t shop there because they feel the fabric is a bit expensive but I am happy to spend a little bit more per meter if the fabric is special. This cost me $34/meter.

I learnt from my internet research that all a shirred dress is, is two large rectangles joined together. So all I did was measure my little girl from under the arm down to the ankle as I wanted to make her a maxi dress. (Don’t forget to add two centimetres for hemming). Then I measured her around the chest. With the chest measurement you need to double it to allow for the gathering to occur.

Anyway let me know what you think; and if anyone is interested in the exact details of what I did I am happy to post a tutorial for you to follow.

The next little project is to do something with jersey material…. I’ve been told an overlocker is the best machine to use for jersey – obviously being a beginner I don’t have but my Pfaff Ambition 1.0 does have an overlock stitch specifically for stretch material so I thought I’d try using that and see what happens…. watch this space!

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The Maxi

Shirring

Verb: to gather (an area of fabric or part of a garment) by means of drawn or elasticized threads in parallel rows (Oxford Dictionary)

My four year old daughter has been at me for months now to make her a shirred dress. I’ve tried many times to explain to her that it’s probably a bit beyond my capabilities at this early stage of learning to sew but she just won’t give up. So over the past couple of days I have done some research on how one shirrs. I had a good look over the internet and also went to Tessuti Fabrics for some guidance (the ladies there are always more than happy to offer advice!). I worked out all I needed was some elastic thread, (sometimes called Shirring Elastic) that you can pick up for about three dollars (for 20 meters) and of course your sewing machine. You hand wind the elastic thread onto your bobbin head applying a little tension as you wind, thread your machine with normal cotton thread and then start sewing. In theory it sounds very easy; but I’ll reserve my opinion on this until I actually try it in just a moment.

The first line:

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The second line:

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The third line:

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And a final touch; a good hit of steam from the iron to get the final effect:

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Well I have to admit that really was quite easy to do! Really the machine did it all for me. So now for the real challenge… can I make my daughter a cute maxi dress with a shirred top? I’ll give it a go over the next few days (or maybe a week knowing my capabilities). Wish me luck! I’ll need it!!!

Sewing Paper


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The house is a complete disaster; what I should really be doing right now is getting the house in order but I’ve decided I need some time-out so I’m just going to leave it for the moment to try something new on my machine.

An update on my last idea; sewing my husbands initials on one of his good shirts didn’t work out. I worked out how to do it on the machine and did a few test runs on a scrap piece of fabric. The quality wasn’t good enough so I decided to just leave it. I have used the machine feature though to name the kids clothing and cot sheets for daycare which is really handy; no more iron on name tags that keep falling off!

Anyway back to todays little idea. As a kid one of my favourite books was Milly Molly Mandy by Joyce Lankester Brisley. My Mum very kindly kept the book so I could hand it down to my kids which I did but they have now destroyed it so I thought maybe I could make something with the pages by sewing the paper with my machine – I figured it would at least be worth trying ….. so here’s my crafty little idea that came up quite nicely I think.

1. What You Will Need

– Pair of scissors

– Piece of paper or cardboard

– Double sided tape

– Paper clip or dog clip

– Old book

– Nice colourful paper; I’ve chosen a scrapbooking piece of paper that I picked up at Eckersleys

– Box frame; you can find them cheap at IKEA

2. Instructions

– Cut out a heart on the cardboard or plain piece of paper (I just used a piece of paper). This will be your heart template so that all the hearts are the same size and shape.

– Take out four pages from your book and clip it together with a dog clip so that the pages stay together when you start to cut.

Trace & Cut

– Place the heart shape on the top of the pages and cut around it. Repeat this three times.

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– Now repeat the step above but this time do it with the colourful paper you have chosen.

– Using your sewing machine and some extra spare pages from the book test the tension of the machine on the paper. I had a tension of 3 which worked perfectly.

Check tension

– Once you are happy with the tension sew down the centre of heart. Repeat this four times.

Hearts sewn

– Put some double sided tape on the back of each heart bundle and then stick to the backing board of the frame. (Originally I attached the hearts to a white piece of paper that just came with the box frame but after hanging it I decided it was a bit dull so I replaced the paper with some more lovely scrapbooking paper).

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– Close up the frame and you’re done! Easy!

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When I was discussing my idea with a few friends that sew they all said that you couldn’t sew on paper; well ladies I can tell you now that you can… and it’s very easy too! You should give it a try. I think all up it took me about 20 minutes to make and would make a lovely gift for my daughters friends… we have a party to go to this weekend so I might just sit down now and make up a second one to take as a gift to the party.