Saturday, 21 May 2011

Do you sew basics? - Follow-up

Firstly thank you to everyone for your responses. 

The consensus seems to be that as a [semi] beginner it would be better for me to sew things that excite me, rather than making boring basic wardrobe-building pieces.  Rachel did mention I can make simple stretch tops on my machine, but I think my machine is too basic as there is no stretch stitch. At least I can't find one. 

So although I do fancy having a go at stretch fabrics, I think it'll have to wait until I invest in a more advanced machine and/or an overlocker.

Some of you also brought up the interesting point that I could have the best of both worlds and make a staple piece I am likely to wear frequently but that also is a fun and interesting pattern.  I totally agree, and following Sarah's suggestion I think the Beignet skirt is bumping the queue to be first on my to-sew list once my accounting technician qualification is done and dusted (only 2 exams and 6 weeks to go!!!).  It fulfils both criteria of being a beautiful pattern that caught my eye (plus I’ve been inspired by the gazillion gorgeous versions you other bloggers have made) and it is a good staple piece that I know I will wear. 
I think I will probably make it out of dark denim so I can wear it with my pre-existing tops.  But I’m not sure what buttons I should go for.  There are a few blue versions I’ve seen, namely Jane’s (who used red buttons) Ashley’s (who went for gold/metallic) and of course Tilly the queen of Beignet (who chose yellow buttons for her blue denim version), that all inspire me but I am confused as to what to go for myself.  I've not used buttons on anything before, and want to make sure that this skirt can be worn with lots of things, so a strong contrasting colour may not be the way to go.  Could I make self-covered buttons with denim do you think?

But at least I decided what my next project should be.  Sadly it means leaving a few UFO’s behind at least for a while.  I don’t want to be the kind of blogger who posts about works in progress and then never shows the finished article (ok so I’m already guilty of that, see grey leafy skirt, echino bag, quilt top etc etc), but I really think I need to kick start my sewing afresh, with a shiny happy sewing space and a brand new project!

Fingers crossed I’ll find time to finish up my WIPs soon.  I’m most keen to finish the quilt, but I can’t sign up for another class until after July so that’ll have to wait anyway!


  1. The buttons are quite big, so I think perhaps you could manage to cover them if you use a lightweight denim. I'm thinking of replacing my buttons with some real metal buttons if I can get hold of some for pretty cheap, as the ones I used are plastic, and they've discoloured ever so slightly from being washed. So if you do decide to go for a metallic look, make sure you get decent ones so they don't end up like mine :)
    Ashley x

  2. Hi, I´m (semi)beginner too and I completly agree to sew exciting things instead of boring ones, it´s waaay better :)
    For sewing stretch fabric you can use common straight stitch and pull the fabric.
    I love this button skirt pattern, I´m looking forward to see next version.

  3. Hi Law, I think a blue Beignet would be lovely (well I would wouldn't I?!) I agree that a bright contrasting colour for the buttons may not go with everything, unless you have lots of clothes in the same contrasting colour! My advice for the buttonholes is to not use a contrasting thread on them e.g. red buttonholes on blue skirt if you're quite new to buttonholes. I made a mistake on one of my buttonholes and it wouldn't have been so noticeable in the same colour! Self cover buttons look gorgeous but agree with Ashley that you'd need a lightweight denim as thinner fabrics work best. Go for it, it's such a lovely pattern. x

  4. I know what you mean, when you get bogged down with wips you need to finish, I too usually end up starting something brand new just to get back into the swing of things! Looking forward to seeing how you get on with the beignet :-) good luck with the buttons, havent tried self cover buttons yet.

  5. The number 10 stitch on your sewing machine's dial coupled with a stretch needle should be good to go for stretch fabric as it worked on my machine. I don't have the same as you unfortunately but the diagram on the dial looks the same.

    Self covered buttons are so easy and addictive! You can always try one with the same denim you already have as you can always take it apart and start again if it is too thick.

    Don't worry about UFOs they'll be there when you've done your fun stuff and they're almost finished anyway so it's win-win! ;)

  6. Hoorah for Beignet! And in denim it will not only be lovely, but fit into what you'll wear lots. I'm also repeatedly tempted to use some of my left over denim for a Beignet too, but feel I "should" try a different pattern. Button choice is important- I've got some turquoise crystal flowers I'd probably use. I think you have talked me into cutting it out you know!

  7. I agree completely that having an inspiring pattern helps a LOT with basics. I just finished Tasia's Crescent Skirt in denim with red top stitching, which turned out lovely. Next will be a simple top and then the Beignet like you're doing. Except, mine's going to be in Kakhi (sp?). I have these vintage milk glass buttons I'll be using, which have primary colored flowers in them. It's a subtle enough design I can wear with anything, but still gives a little pop.

    That's the other thing I think helps with basics is the little details. I love taking a lot of time making something VERY well. Making the inside just as pretty as the outside, doing subtle embellishments that make the garment 'mine.' I think that helps with the basics a lot too.

    Another nice thing with basics is if you have a TNT it's a nice break after a statement piece that gives you a headache. I try to rotate things around. For example, I did the Crepe dress, which was an enormous headache because of the amount of changes I had to make to the bodice. Totally worth it, but draining all the same. I followed it with the Crescent skirt and that whipped together in a few days and recharged my sewing mojo. Just something to think about.

  8. I often just use a narrow zig-zag to sew knit fabrics, e.g. set the width to 0.5 and the length to 2.5. You don't necessarily need to overlock the edges, since it won't unravel.

  9. I agree with "Magpie Mimi" - you can use your zigzag stitch for stretch projects. It won't be exactly the same, but a narrow zigzag would be sufficient for the seams of a tank top for instance, as the vertical side seams wouldn't need to stretch very much. If your machine can take a twin needle you can sew the hems with that or just with a zig-zag.
    I really should do a post on stretch sewing on a normal machine when I get some more time.


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