Monday, February 8, 2010

Cecile jersey blouse and more twin stitching

I signed up for February challenge - sewing with knit with Carolyn from My favourite. I've been sewing with knit, or stretch, quite a bit lately. Its a challenging fabric, however I've been learning some new techniques, having some successes, some failures.

I didn't start this project this month, I started it a while ago at Perle 8's, but joining Carolyn's challenge, motivated me to finish it. Its made from a a gorgeous brightly coloured cotton knit (probably elastane, but it came from my stash so I can't really remember). The pattern is Ottobre Cecile jersey blouse from the 3/2009 issue. The pattern was lovely. It has some cute shirring on the front and is flared.
There were a few hiccups along the way. I struggled, ALOT, with the binding on the neckline. However I learnt a little trick along the way. Sewing stretch knit to stretch binding was very difficult. It kept stretching too much and turned out all warped. I unpicked and restitched it three times before I was happy with it. I ended up attaching interfacing to the back side to stops it from stretching whilst I sewed the ribbing on the first time, then I pulled it off before I top stitched it. It still stretched a bit, however then I picked up a tip from somewhere (although I can't quite remember where). I used the steam function on my iron over it, and it tightened up nicely. The heat brought the materials back to shape. Whilst still not perfect, it was definitely satisfactory. The twin stitching is also a tad wonky, but that I can live with.
First attempt.
Third attempt (I didn't bother with photographing the second, it just went straight to unpicking).
Finally, after steam ironing.
The shirring on the bodice was done with elastic thread hand woven on to the bobbin and a normal thread on top. This is such a simple technique but looks very effective.
I got to do some more top stitching using the twin needle. I am absolutely loving this new gadget (despite last week's very frustrating broken needle incident...) This time is turned out really well and the hints I got from Kadiddlehopper (a very talented and inspirational sewer) some time ago paid off. I reduced the tension and the puckering between the twin lines of stitching was no more!
Things I learnt along the way:
  • Steam ironing is your friend. It did a great job on reducing the warped stretch of the neckline and arm ribbing. Not perfect, but over time, improving my technique and the steam iron and I should get this under wraps.
  • The fabric generally stretched along the seams, particularly when top stitching. I washed the garment half way through and this seemed to straighten everything up again. On reflection, perhaps a go over with the steam function on the iron also might have fixed it.
  • Reducing the tension when using the twin needle stopped the fabric from puckering between stitch lines.
  • Shirring is easy peasy
Its the next size up for my 14 month year old, so I am thinking it will do her for Winter (with layering) and maybe even Summer next year. Here she is testing out her new blouse and choosing the next thing for me to make..


  1. what a sweet little dress! Thanks for the great tips x

  2. I love that top! Fabulous work. Sewing stretch scares the pants off me lol! I have that ottobre and have often admired that cute little top xox

  3. Very cute Pam - you are sew clever!

  4. I do love the outcome, the colour is great. And I do adore a girl that loves some catalogue shopping

  5. It's adorable! I love that print, and such a cute pattern. Thanks for the shout out!

  6. It's great! And thanks for the tips, though I think I'm a little way off trying stretch fabric if my current debacle is anything to go by....

  7. I've just signed up for the knit challenge. With very very very limited knit experience I have found this wonderfully informative post both an inspiration and a learning experience.
    Why am I so filled with dread re: taking the stretch/knit sewing plunge? I'm going to get over it. I am. Really.

  8. I love your top, very sweet, I must check out the ottobre mag :)

  9. Such a pretty top, you did a fantastic job.

  10. BEAUTIFUL!!! WOW! This is my favorite of all the knit projects! I have 2 little girls and we are all drooling over your pretty little top. I love the fabric and the pattern design! NICE JOB!

  11. Hi Pippi - you left a comment on my blog about this top... a hint with the neckline on this one... I actually put a row of shirring about 3 mm in from the neck edge, then bound over the top of it. I found it worked pretty well. I've made it twice, and not had any issues with the binding - although perhaps you might have to make the binding longer.

    I never follow the patterns for binding... I just use as much as I need depending on the stretchiness.