Monthly Archives: October 2016

New Look 6483 – take 2

I came across this really nifty fabric in my local fabric shop, but the original top I had in mind just didn’t look right on me. So I decided it was time I tackled New Look 6483 again – you may remember the original version I made back in June.

This particular fabric was a little thin and I really didn’t want to risk it being see-through, so I made a lining from a plain white polycotton. I simply tacked the plain polycotton to the wrong side of the owl fabric then treated it as one piece of fabric.

Dragon's Flame Designs - New Look 6483

When it came to the hem, I wanted the polycotton lining to be hemmed as one, rather than having a separate lining hem. I folded up the hem on the owl fabric and the polycotton lining, then caught the lining hem on the inside as I was sewing.

Dragon's Flame Designs - New Look 6483

I’m pleasantly surprised how well this top came out – I don’t normally wear sleeveless tops, but the armholes look almost perfect with no alterations needed. I kept the neckline as the pattern stated, which gave a nicer curve than I achieved last time. Admittedly adding a lining made the hemming a lot more challenging, but I don’t think it would’ve been wearable without a lining, given the thin nature of the fabric.

BIG Vintage Sew-along blouse

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It’s taken a long time, but I have finally finished my BIG Vintage Sew-along vintage-inspired blouse!

As you may remember, I picked a vintage inspired shirt: Butterick 6217, but I hadn’t actually got as far as sorting out the buttons.

Well, after a lot of arguments with the sewing machine because it just didn’t want to sew the one-step buttonhole correctly, I finally have a wearable blouse!


Dragon's Flame Designs - Vintage-Inspired Blouse

I love the style of the sleeves – I might have to ‘borrow’ that pattern piece for other tops! I bought 8 buttons instead of 7, as I felt the buttons would look more balanced if there one was in the centre of each stripe, rather than where the pattern says they’re supposed to be.

The shop didn’t have 8 that matched exactly, so I chose 4 in a slightly lighter shade for the dark stripes, and 4 in a darker shade of red for the white stripes – looking at the photo, you wouldn’t know they weren’t identical buttons!

I definitely need to practise buttonholes, or at least use some stabilising behind the fabric when I stitch them…. half way through most of the holes, the sewing machine suddenly stopped moving the fabric and decided to zigzag a lump of stitches which was a nightmare to unpick!

Overall though, I love the style of the blouse, and I’m pretty happy with how the stripes line up on the front too. Maybe I need to use a slightly ‘nicer’ fabric next time though – polycotton or a pure cotton might be a little more co-operative.

Adventures in hemming jersey

My first attempts at hemming jersey were complete failures – none of the hems stretched with the fabric, which resulted in several scrapped items.  Ideally I’m looking for a hem that looks “right” for a sweatshirt or t-shirt – either something that looks like a regular straight stitch, or a twin needle effect. Sewing two lines of stitches just left me with a seam that had no stretch at all, so I’ve given up on the twin needle look for the moment.

After asking some advice in an online sewing group, I dug out my sewing machine’s instruction book and set about making some scrap hems to see which one came out best. Three stitches were recommended:

  • regular narrow zigzag
  • lightning bolt stitch
  • triple stretch straight stitch.

Narrow zigzags haven’t stretched as much as I need and a wider zigzag has given a lot of tunnelling where the fabric catches up, so I didn’t try that out this time. I don’t actually have a lightning bolt stitch on my machine, and I’m pretty sure the triple stretch straight stitch is what my machine calls the Straight Stretch Stitch.

Setting my machine up with the even-feed (walking) foot and a ballpoint needle, I changed the tension to match the instruction book’s details, and lowered the pressure on the foot to the ‘applique’ setting.

First up was the Straight Stretch Stitch which to give credit to my machine’s instruction book, is used for reinforcing a hem (such as the crotch of a pair of trousers) as well as in bag making as the stitch will not unravel. It doesn’t mention using this for stretchy fabric at all.

Dragons Flame Designs - Hemming Jersey

I could probably adjust the stitch length to get it to look slightly neater – parts of it line up right, but others looked quite messy. However, it didn’t actually stretch all that much – the jersey could stretch twice as much as the stitches allowed.

So that clearly wasn’t going to work for a sweatshirt that needed to stretch enough to allow me to get it on. Maybe the Stretch Zigzag Stitch which the instructions say can be used whenever you would use a regular zigzag, but for knit fabric would be better.

Dragons Flame Designs - Hemming Jersey

Again, the stitch length could do with adjusting to get the triple stitches to line up correctly. However, it does stretch perfectly, and while it would be ok for a seam, it doesn’t look neat enough for a hem stitch that will show on the right side.

Flicking a page or two back, I came across the Knit Stitch which is said to finish off the ends and seam at the same time.

Dragons Flame Designs - Hemming Jersey

This one also has a perfect amount of stretch, and doesn’t look too terrible even though it’s not quite the look I was aiming for. It did however make for a brilliant pair of fingerless mitts! I hemmed the top and bottom with the knit stitch, then stitched the side seam with the straight stretch stitch, remembering to leave a thumb hole!

Dragons Flame Designs - Hemming Jersey

I’m not as fussed about the look of the stitch for these – as long as the fabric stretches sufficiently so I can wear them comfortably, I’d rather people were looking at the unusual stitches on my gloves than staring at the eczema on my hands! Overall, these are the most successful mitts I’ve sewn so far, and the knit stitch hem is perfect – stretchy without leaving a bulk of stitches on the inside that might irritate my skin.

I decided to use the same stitch to hem the fleece hoodie I started making last winter – I was determined to finish it before this winter, so I can actually get some wear from it!

Dragons Flame Designs - Hemming Jersey

These stitches don’t show up as clearly, as the thread is an almost exact match for the fleece. However, if I was making a sweatshirt or t-shirt in a patterned fabric, I think I still would want a stitch that looks a little more ‘normal’. Maybe I need to get a few more jersey scraps and test out a couple more stitches!

Spooky Spiders

I was lucky enough to be one of the pattern testers for the Sweet Briar Sisters Spooky Spiders pattern, and thought it was about time I shared my spider creations with you.

I started with the Baby Spider, which is about 4 inches tall. Not only because I was short on stuffing, but I wasn’t too sure how much polycotton I had left in this colour, and didn’t want to run out before I finished sewing all those legs!

Dragons Flame Designs - Spooky Spiders

Meet Nigel the spider – Mum decided that he looked like he was wearing a suit, with the business-wear-colour polycotton I’d used, and thought he needed a traditional sounding name.

Apart from getting two legs facing the wrong way (he has a slightly knock-kneed look on one side), he came out really well. I deviated from the pattern and used a stiff cotton instead of felt for his eyes, adding some interfacing to the back of the polycotton so the zigzag stitch didn’t catch up too much.

Dragons Flame Designs - Spooky Spiders

Rummaging in my “I started making this but abandoned it” bag, I found a dress I’d started making from this orange leaf patterned polycotton. Realising that the dress wouldn’t suit or fit me, I decided to unpick it and turn it into a Mama Spider!

Dragons Flame Designs - Spooky Spiders

Turning the legs on Norma the Spider was so much easier than with Nigel! This time I had some white wool felt, so the eyes are stitched properly – I added another layer of fabric behind the eyes and mouth again to assist with the zigzag stitches.

Nigel’s mouth was hand sewn, but Norma’s was just zigzagged on the machine, which leads to a clearer line. I do need to hand sew some detail on her eyes, but so far the outer line is machine stitched, with a little pencil mark in the centre so I know where to sew!

Dragons Flame Designs - Spooky Spiders