Tuesday, January 31, 2017

February Challenge - Workout Gear SMT (GR) *UPDATED*

Hello everyone, 

This is a special blog post on a challenge I'm hosting for the Alethia's "Sew Much Talent (GR)" group on Facebook.  The challenge runs the month of February and I'm really excited, especially since I've never sewn any workout gear before! So to help others who are joining the challenge, I'm going to devote this blog post to the Workout Gear challenge.

First, the Patterns.  There are so many on the market to choose, from you could easily become overwhelmed!  If this is your first time making workout gear, I would suggest selecting a very easy pattern.  Depending on what you want to make, below are a few options out there.

McCalls 7261 On Sale @ JoAnn Fabrics 2/2/16 for $1.99
(Rated "Highly recommend" on PatternReview.com)

McCalls 7514 On Sale @ JoAnn Fabrics 2/2/16 for $1.99

Butterick 6295

Kwik Sew 3660


Jalie 2796 Rated "Highly Recommended" on PatternReview.com

Jalie 2444 Rated "Highly Recommended" on PatternReview.com

Jalie 2795 Rated "Highly Recommend" & "Great Wardrobe Builder" on PatternReview.com 

Second, the Fabrics.  There are many types of knit fabrics you can use to create workout gear and there is one thing they all have in common...stretch!  However, they are all not created specifically for workout gear.  So if you truly plan on using your garment to workout in, there are a few things to keep in mind.  Technical, also known as "High Performance" fabrics are most used in the making of workout gear.  Stay away from knits like cotton which can hold 25 times it's weight in water and takes a long time to dry.  Not something I would want to workout in!  Technical or High Performance fabrics are "wicking" fabrics that helps your body stay cooler by keeping moisture on the surface.  Here's a definition of Wicking fabrics...

Wicking fabrics are modern technical fabrics which draw moisture away from the body. They are made of high-tech polyester, which, unlike cotton, absorbs very little water.

Below are links to a few online fabric stores that carry a variety of High Performance or Wicking fabrics:

SpandexByYard.com (one of my favs; little pricey)

Fabric.com (inexpensive)

Michael Levine, Inc. (one of my favs; little pricey)

Mood Fabrics (pricey)

*Updated 2-3-16* So Sew English Fabrics

Amazon (don't forget about them!)

Also, check your local JoAnn's for High Performance fabrics...they have it too!

Third, Needles and Thread.  When working with knit fabrics, always use a "ball point", "stretch" or "jersey" needle (that includes "Twin" needles for hemming!).  Size depends on the weight of your fabric.  I typically use #10, #11 or #12.  I've used "universal" ballpoint needles before...however, you get the best performance with the ones shown below.


   Threads...if you don't want to expose yourself with a "popped" seam, LOL! stay away from 100% cotton thread!  Polyester thread provides the best stretch for sewing knits.  However, you can use cotton wrapped polyester too (like Coats & Clarks Dual Duty)...it provides both strength and stretch.

Fourth, Machines and Sewing Feet (the machine's feet, not yours, LOL!).  Both Sergers and Sewing Machines can be used when sewing Workout Gear (I do use both!)  The Serger is easy and basically needs no explanation because the stitches automatically have the stretch needed for knit seams.  Sewing machines can also be used...but to be successful in sewing your workout gear, you need to follow a few suggestions.

If your machine has a Stretch stitch, use it!  If not, try a Zizag stitch...on light to medium weight knits, try using a stitch length of 1.5 and a width of 5. This setting closely mimics the look and function of an overlock stitch. When sewing, remember to backstitch at the beginning and end of every seam to secure, then trim seams.  Also, support your knit fabric while sewing, never force fabric by pulling from behind or forward to prevent stretching.

The three most popular styles of Sewing Machine Pressure Feet to use for sewing your workout gear are...

- Knit Foot (I need to get one!).  This knit foot has holding teeth that holds the fabric at just the right moment as the needle is going down through the fabric. The foot is designed to work with your machine's needle bar. As the needle bar goes up, it lifts the lever on the knit foot which pulls up the holding teeth and allows your machine's feeding system to advance the fabric forward for the next stitch.  Price approximately $6 - $14.

- Plastic Zizag Foot (what I use now when I use my sewing machine).  Most machines come with one and can be all plastic or an "all purpose" one that has metal on the bottom of the foot.  The "all" plastic is recommended.  Price approximately $10
- Walking Foot.  Attaching this foot to your machine is not as quick and easy as the others above...using it also helps move knit fabrics evenly through your machine (like the Knit Foot) so they don't stretch out of shape.  However, it can be cumbersome when sewing curves or turning corners, you may not obtain consistent stitches. (But perfect for straight seams!) There are many brands and styles that can run you from $15 - $130.

Lastly, Sewing With Knits Tutorials. I love working with knits (my preferred fabric!).  However, this is my first time creating Workout gear...So I've done a bit a research over the last couple of days to prepare myself and wanted to share my findings with you all!  Below are some of the sewing tutorials I found helpful and hope you do too!

That's it for my little research!  I hope this will be as informative for others as it has been for me compiling it!  I'm not done with my research, there's SO MUCH out there...I will continue because I am truly "hyped" about creating my very own workout gear!

Thanks so much for stopping by and until next time...

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Neckband Tutorial & That Sewing Blab, Featuring Me!

Hello everyone! I received a couple of requests on the neckband process I used in my last blog post.  It was one I learned from Andrea of Sewtofit.  I am currently working with Ms. Andrea to setup a link to the video of her neckband process for my subscribers and will update this post with that link as soon as I receive it.   However, for now, I do have the notes I took from her original Periscope recording.  I created a picture tutorial this morning using my notes and I'm sharing it with those of you who may be interested. 


To measure neckband length (for knits only)

Fold neckline, shoulder seams together and lay neckline flat so you can see front and back. 

 Use tape measure 'standing up" to measure curve of neckline. Make sure you are measuring on the "seam allowance line" and not neck edge. (Photo below)

 Once you get that measurement (mine was 12.5"), fold the tape measure in half to get the total neckline measurement (mine is 25", photo below)

 Using a calculator, take that total measurement and multiply it by 12.25%, then press the equal (=) sign.  Use that measurement (you may have to round it) to subtract from your total neckline measurement and this is your new neckband length.  Example:

    25         Total Neckline Length
x12.25%   Then equal sign (using a calculator)
    3.0        Rounded from 3.0625

    25       Total Neckline Length 
-   3.0       Minus adjustment
     22      Neckband length (neckband width is 1-1/2")

Cut your new neckband using the new measurement...mine is 22" long by 1-1/2" wide:

 Tip:  When sewing the neckband seam, sew in a "wide V" so the neckband will lay flat.

Press your neckband in half as you normally would and mark your "4 corners" on both neckband and neckline of top as you normally would.  However, I found that just marking the center front and back of both the neckband and top neckline work best for this process!  I ease everything else in from here...

Sew your neckband on to your top in a 1/4" seam, then press the seam down towards top...

 *Disclaimer Notice, I am not perfect nor am I an expert! LOL!*...in my haste to create this picture tutorial for you all, I stitched the center back seam of the neckband to the front of the tee shirt!  Newbies, see even we experienced sewers make mistakes too!  However, as you can see, I ended up with a perfectly "Flat" neckband! (And it works this way every time!).  You can edge stitch the neckband seam down towards the top if you like, it's optional.

  I hope this process helps you get that nice flat neckline on your tee shirts too!  It's worked for me so many times...thank you Andrea!

On another note, I will be hosting a Workout Gear challenge with the Sew Much Talent (GR) group on facebook for the month of February.  This Tuesday, January 31, I will be featured in "That Sewing Blab" on Crowdcast, discussing the Workout Gear Challenge.  If you're available, please join in the conversation!  Information and link are below:


Once again, you're support on my blog is appreciated far more than I can ever say, Thank you!  Until next time...

Happy Sewing!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Marathon Vacation Sewing! (Picture heavy!)

One day I had the crazy notion I could sew a partial wardrobe for vacation in less than a week! Who does that?  LOL! You guessed it, silly me that's who!

To start this incredible feat, I cut out 11 projects in one day!  Here is a photo of them piled on my sewing cabinet. 

I know...what a mess!Cutting all 11 projects was all done on Tuesday, January 10.  What prompted this crazy notion in my head?  The making of this beach dress for vacation the week before...

Beautiful and I wanted more!Can you believe by Friday, January 13th (Of all days, Friday the 13th too!), I had all of my pieces complete! To be honest, to get all of this done, I used mostly TNT patterns (ones I'd already tried and tested), all were quick and easy.  Some were clones of RTWs I loved and I used at least one pattern multiple times in different ways.

Talk about waiting to the last minute… I should be dubbed the "queen of last-minute"!  However, as they say...all's well that ends well and these sewing projects truly ended very well!

I leave you with a few of my vacation pictures.  We had a great time with some great friends...

Our Great Friends! 
Awww...my protector! 
Every piece of clothing worn on this vacation was made by me...what a great feeling!

Please tell me what last-minute projects you've completed that amazed you!

Thanks for stopping by and until next time,

Happy Sewing!