Friday, February 12, 2016

Romantic and Easy Sewing Projects

If you're pressed for time, and maybe a bit tight on cash, and you need a romantic gift idea, you can always look at some easy sewing projects for a great solution.

Romantic and Easy Sewing Projects

Undergarments: If you have some silky or sheer fabric in your fabric stash, you can trace a pattern from a pair of boxers or panties and stitch them up. Sewing undergarments is pretty simple because there are usually very few pieces, and the way they go to together is fairly intuitive by looking at the originals. Sewing elastic to the fabric is often the hardest part, and even that is easy if you take your time.

Tote bags: Sewing tote bags is not in and of itself a romantic sewing project, but use some heart fabric or silky fabric and toss a few romantic items in the bag (like wine, cheese, and crackers - whatever you might normally have as a special treat) and you'll be all set with a simple gift that looks like you put a lot of time and effort into it.

Blindfold and Soft Cuffs: (I apologize in advance for going all Fifty Shades of Grey there - but they are easy to make.) Make a blindfold from a layer of silky fabric and a layer of soft, fleecy fabric scraps and a pair (or two pairs if you want to cuff both wrists and ankles) of soft cuffs that close up with hook and loop tape. These are basically just rectangular strips of fabric and Velcro - and again - they are so easy to make with just a few scraps of fabric.

Silk flowers: Take a long strip of pretty fabric and run a basting stitch along one edge. Then pucker the fabric along the line of basting stitches and wrap the puckered fabric around a chenille stem with a  small loop twisted into the top end - and either stitch it the flower in place to the loop or glue the rosette to the stem. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Facts About Popular Stretch Fabrics

Stretch fabric is used for making many types of garments, and there are different types of stretch fabric that are best suited to certain types of garments.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Facts About Popular Stretch Fabrics

Stretchy fabric can be 2-way stretch fabric, such as cotton knit fabric or 4-way stretch fabric such as cotton-spandex.


Elastane is a copolymer created from a blend of polyester and polyurethane. This copolymer blend is stronger than natural rubber and it also lasts longer, making it popular for sportswear. It is commonly sold under the names Spandex and Lycra. 

  • Spandex
    • What is Spandex? Spandex is usually blended with other fibers to make stretchy fabric that is comfortable. Blending Spandex fiber with cotton or polyester fiber creates a fabric that stretches like elastane but feels like the other fiber being used.
  • Lycra
    • What is Lycra? Lycra is an elastane fiber created by the DuPont Company. Lycra is always used in alliance with another fabric fiber. Lycra stretches from four to seven times its original length yet always returns to original shape once the tension is removed from the fibers.
  • Lycra-Spandex Blend
    • The term Lycra-Spandex is a really popular term, but in fact, it is saying the same thing twice because Lycra is a brand of Spandex, which is made from the fiber called elastane.

Knit Fabric

Regular knit fabric is a two-way stretch fabric, such as cotton knit fabric, and it is the type of fabric used to make t-shirts or stretchy dress slacks that do not cling, or do not cling too much.

Tips for Sewing Stretch Fabric

Ballpoint Needles: To sew stretch fabric, use a ball point needle for the best result. You can get away with some universal needles, but to avoid the risk of making runs in your fabric, a ballpoint is your safest option.

Ballpoint Pins: Use ballpoint straight pins to pin the pattern to the fabric, or better yet, use sewing weights and avoid making any holes in your stretch fabric.

Stretch Stitch: Set your sewing machine to make a stretch stitch or a zigzag stitch. If you use a straight stitch on a stretchy garment, the stitches can pull out and the thread can break the first time you wear the garment. 

Don't Stretch Fabric When Sewing: Let the sewing machine's feed dogs pull the fabric gently through the sewing machine. Don't pull the fabric while sewing - unless you are trying to create a lettuce-edge effect.

One final set of tips - these are about caring for your elastane garments, which include spandex and Lycra: Never wash elastane in hot water. Warm or cold is best. Do not use bleach. And, finally, if you put the garment in the dryer, use the lowest heat setting possible, but it's really best to just line dry garments made from these unique stretch fabrics.

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