Fabric 101 – Part 6: Back to Basics for MummaB.

The lovely Stacie, aka MummaBMakes, wrote us a review on our range of viscose spandex jersey back in the summer (before the chill of the Autumn set in and you could wear a t-shirt outdoors without an extra layer on top!). No matter what the season, this fabric is great for whipping up a wardrobe staple. Read on to see how Stacie got on ….

 


T shirt fabric!

Since beginning to sew and joining the online sewing community I have often seen people referring to ‘T- Shirt fabric’ but I never really knew what that meant. I always thought that T shirts were made out of cotton, simple right?! Until you buy some cotton and realise that it is completely different to the cotton you bought somewhere else last weekend! Maybe it’s thicker, softer, more stretchy. To a beginner like me, fabric choice is a complete minefield, so I began to get frustrated when I’d see ‘T-Shirt Fabric’ as I just didn’t know what it meant!

However, I had now taken the plunge and bought myself the ‘Stretch’ book from Tilly and The Buttons, and was ready to give the Frankie T Shirt a go! I had read all of the info about stretch and knit fabric in the book and took to my favourite online fabric store to stock up! I decided to buy a few different types of jersey to give me enough to do the Frankie T shirt as well as the Freya sweater and dress.

Included in my haul was some ‘Viscose Spandex Jersey’ in a couple of plain colours and some beautiful rainbow stripes! The description on the online store said that the fabric was great for a simple t shirt, and it comes in some amazing bright colours, stripes and some staple plain colours, so I took a punt that it would be just what I was looking for.

When the fabric arrived, (gorgeously wrapped as always!) I paired up the colours that went well together and decided what I was going to make with what, then bundled it all into the wash!

I try to be brave and always wash my fabric as I will when it’s made up into the finished garment, so I put it all on on a 40° wash. When I pulled it all out of the machine I was please to see it hadn’t frayed at all! I have discovered that this is a common theme for jersey fabric, but I am still learning!

I had read in the Stretch book not to hang jersey on the line as it can stretch and the pegs would leave marks so I lay it across the top of the clothes airer in the sun. What I should have been more careful with was to not let it hang over the corners of the airer as they did leave some imprints in the fabric! Luckily this was near the edge, and I just avoided those bits when setting out my pattern! Though I am sure they would have gone flat again with a bit of steam!

I used a Prym chalk pencil to draw around my pattern on to the fabric. Being conscious that it would stretch as I drew, I used a motion almost like brushing onto the fabric with the chalk and this worked perfectly without stretching the fabric!

Another first for me was using a rotary cutter! In one very early beginner attempt at using stretchy fabric I recall the fabric shrinking back smaller than the pattern as I cut it with my dressmaking scissors. Although I now realise that the fabric wasn’t shrinking, but i was stretching out to the shape of the pattern to cut! Using the rotary cutter was the perfect solution!

When it came to sewing the garment together, I used a really small zigzag for the inside seams. Then it was just a case of trimming and pressing the seams. No finishing required! Not yet being in possession of an overlocker, means finishing seams always feels like a chore when you’re desperate to get a garment made, but the joy of this fabric is that the seams do not fray so they do not need finishing! Yay!

When sewing this jersey I used a fine ball point needle but I don’t possess a walking foot or any other gadgets that I often hear as being must have for jersey, so I just pinned the fabric together, and took it slowly through the machine. What worked for me is having one hand behind and one in front, not pushing or pulling but just guiding the fabric through a little bit to counter anything that my machine was doing to cause it to stretch!

One little tip would be to just stay a little away from the edge when sewing the fabric. As you can see in the picture below, there was the slightest curl, which although it wasn’t difficult to sew through, I would’ve just avoided by moving half a cm in when cutting my pattern out! But I do like to be frugal and use as little fabric as possible!

I really enjoyed using this fabric! It wasn’t anywhere near as stressful as I thought it might be, I even managed to sew in a lovely curve making the nice shape of the Frankie T coming in at the waist work!

And here is my Frankie! My lovely Me made T shirt in my lovely T shirt fabric (or spandex jersey as I now know it!). The next job is to decide if my rainbow stripes will be a Joni dress or a Kielo wrap dress!

Happy sewing!


Thanks so much Stacie for another great write up – not only an insight as to the fabric, but some great tips too.

If you’re on Instagram, then make sure you give Stacie a follow right HERE!