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Ponte Fabric of Dreams

Well hello there, jet black Ponte Fabric of dreams. I am an absolute fan girl of ponte roma fabric, but it has to be good, and my goodness this one is good!Once again, I am a very lucky lady and got to test drive this Ponte Roma Knit Fabric in black. It is 58 inches wide, so plenty to play with and is described online as ‘heavy’ in weight. The best thing is, as well as being super stretchy, totally opaque, bobble free and smooth – it is also JET black. Yum. I was so cautious about chopping into this precious fabric that I changed my mind about 20 times on what to make. Eventually I settled on a pattern I’ve been meaning to try for a while now, the Monsal Joggers by Wendy Ward. Found in her latest book ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Sewing with Knitted Fabrics’ these joggers had plenty of features that would lend themselves well to ponte. Pockets that would withstand use, elastic waistband, turn-ups – check. Firstly, the book is excellent, and not just for beginners. There are so many useful tips and tricks for working with stretch fabrics that it makes working with them a dream. Charts of needle types, stitch requirements, pinning techniques, the lot! 
Secondly, my inner Northerner was so excited to see the patterns named after locations in the Peak District as I spent so much time there as a kid. Back to the fabric. Cutting out was a joy – the fabric is thick, soft and sturdy, doesn’t slip around and behaved well. It also didn’t fray which is a plus and all edges remained nice and flat, no curling. Having traced the pattern block out, I cut the version with pockets, but without ankle cuffs, and a separate attached waistband. (There are so many options!)To really make the black pop, I opted for some contrast white jersey bias binding to create the pocket detail and side stripes. Check out that Wendy Ward style pinning.I behaved myself and followed the book, selecting a fresh stretch needle, designed for a heavier ponte. I also used my walking foot (worth its weight in gold) for the entire project to avoid any movement or unnecessary stretching out of seams. Ordinarily I might just whizz up a project like this on the over locker alone however I wanted to follow the book properly, and also treat this fabric with some time and respect to make a quality piece. All seams and attachments were sewn with the ‘Stretch Stitch’ on my machine. Or ‘Lightening Stitch’ as I’ve seen it referred to. My brain calls this the ‘Ussain Bolt’ stitch. Not entirely sure why, it must be a Lycra connection. It’s certainly not the speed as this is a much slower stitch than what you might be used to. This looks like a straight line of stitching when it’s done, but that lightening shape allows the seam to stretch and move with the fabric and avoid threads snapping with wear. I did finish the edges with an overlock though. Tidy.For the side stripes, I flattened out the bias binding, folding it in half only. You could do this with strips of jersey material, I just happened to have the white in my stash. You then pin and baste it to a trouser leg, then create a stripe sandwich when joining the front and back legs together. I did cut the version for without cuffs, but wow these joggers were long! I’m 5ft 7” and had to chop a good few inches off at the ankles.On went the waistband and elastic without much fuss, although I had to tighten the elastic a few times to make sure the joggers stayed up. One tip I would have is not to sew up any waistband casings entirely, until you’ve tried on and adjusted the elastic. Give it a few tries and when you’re happy, whizz it up.
I finished the hems with a black and white coverstitch to match the colour scheme. Initially these joggers felt too big and crotch baggy (personal peeve) however I then looked at the book and googled a few examples and they are supposed to be baggy joggers for relaxing and movement. Bingo.Do they meet the secret pajama criteria? Oh yes. They also meet the criteria for answering the door during the day and not looking like I’ve been caught painting and decorating (standard scruffy work at home wear). Would I make these again. Yep. Have I already bought more of this amazing fabric for autumn…..yes I have! Bring on the stretchy legs!
Emma @ Crafty Clyde

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