Crochet projects weren't the only projects this week–
the sewing machine got a run to turn a shabby pair of leggings into some neat bike shorts.
My daughter, somehow, always manages to wear holes in the leggings which she loves.
|These are the holes so lovingly made by my daughter.|
Luckily, Mum came along with scissors and sewing machine to tidy them up.
[Cue Jodie, that's me!]
[Cue Jodie, that's me!]
It sounds simple, but stretchy fabrics have their own challenges. Do you think I could remember the best approach? I don't sew that often and have never really considered myself anything more than an "advanced beginner". To call my skills "intermediate" would be kind.
Funnily enough, during the same week, another blogger was grappling with stretchy sports fabrics too–Alice Leadbeter from knitnrun4sanity and you can read about her adventures in her post "2 machines later……".
My main problem was finding the right stitch for the hem so that the fabric would be hemmed neatly but still stretch for comfort when worn.
My initial attempts were too tight even though I had chosen a stretch zig zag stitch. In the other extreme, if I stretch the fabric too much as it goes through the machine, the edges flare out and look ugly!
Rather than unpick the tight seam, I just cut off another centimetre off the leg to start again. In the back of my mind I was worrying that I might end up having to do this multiple times before I get it right and then what will I be left with? <uneasy laugh of uncertainty as I envisioned snip after snip>
So I grabbed the large leg offcuts and practiced hemming those, experimenting with stitch settings as I went.
In the end I found an acceptable solution.
|Close up of bike shorts leg hem. |
The stitches are noticeable in this photograph but when the shorts are worn and stretched out, the stitches recede back into the fabric and become invisible.
For the record, I used a blue tip needle and the settings on my sewing machine were:
Stitch: stretch zig zag
Stitch width: 2.5
Stitch length: 0.7
|These former leggings are now short to mid-length bike shorts.|
The shorts are neat enough and do the job; quite appropriate to be doing them this week as the Tour Down Under bike race is in town.
I think it is kind of funny that when you turn leggings into bike shorts, it truly is re-cycling! [you may groan now!]
I am still not satisfied that I know enough about working with stretch fabrics. When I visited Alice's post, the mention of a 'twin stretch' needle had me doubting myself.
I have one of those which I had used for decorative stitching in the past. With a name like 'twin stretch' it shouldn't surprise me that it would be a good needle to use on stretch fabric. (Why didn't I think of that? Because I had never used the needle for that before.)
I felt rather stupid at this thought, but still, I cannot fathom how using two needles at the same time works with stretch fabric. I like to know the whys and wherefores to have some clue about what to do in the face of problems.
Have you ever worked with stretch fabrics? What is the secret? I would really appreciate any hints you can give! Comments below or email to firstname.lastname@example.org will be most welcome!
Happy stitching, sewing, crocheting, knitting, spinning, weaving, dyeing, painting, drawing, cooking, designing, shutter-clicking, home-making, running, teaching, gardening, farming and blogging!
Alice Leadbeter, crochet designer:
Leadbeter, Alice, "2 machines later……", blog entry, knitnrun4sanity, 19 January 2015: https://knitnrun4sanity.wordpress.com/2015/01/19/2-machines-later/
Tour Down Under bicycle race, 17–25 January, 2015: http://www.tourdownunder.com.au/