Welcome to my post on this month’s Blogger Network.  I decided to make another outfit using jersey/stretch fabric as it is one type of fabric that I’ve not had much experience with, & tend to shy away from.  I chose to make a lounge wear outfit which included some techniques I’d not used before.  These included making a hood, casings for cord, an alternative method for inserting sleeves, an open ended zip and something I hadn’t done for a very long time – an elastic waist.

I used New Look Pattern 6142 with some black Ribbed Jersey and a lovely hearts and shoes Jersey Fabric in white, pink & black for the vest top.

The pattern clearly listed all the extra notions required to complete the outfit.

The jacket and trousers required 5 metres of fabric so I chose one not too expensive due to the quantity required.  I was really pleased with the texture and weight of the material as I plan to wear it indoors.  It’s the perfect weight for the trousers on this occasion, although if I make the outfit again I would use a different fabric for the jacket, probably sweatshirt weight.  The fabric has minimal curling at the edges and doesn’t fray but it does have a tendency to attract little bits of fluff & stray hairs, although it’s more obvious because of the black colour.  It is ideal for loungewear not being too heavy or thick.

I worked out the fabric allowances for each item separately & added them together.  In hindsight, I didn’t need the full 5 metres as I was able to fit the trouser pattern pieces alongside the jacket pieces with the fabric being 60”/150cm wide.

As this is quite a big project with three items to the outfit I decided to make the jacket first thinking it may be the more complicated garment.  I cut out the pattern pieces for the whole outfit and set aside the trousers and vest.  Care had to be taken to avoid the fairly wide selvages when cutting the pattern pieces.

I’ve only ever set sleeves in the round once the shoulder and side seams have been sewn.  This pattern inserts the sleeve at the shoulder with the fabric lain flat.  The underarm and side seams are then sewn in one.  This tutorial ‘Setting in sleeves’ gives a very good description of the different methods of inserting sleeves and why it is important to ease fit the sleeve head. 

The pockets also use a slightly different method without using two pieces for the pocket pouch – instead the pocket welt is finished and top stitched on the jacket front and the pocket piece basted and top stitched around the curve.  The only difficulty is ensuring the side seams go right to the edge of the welt and that this doesn’t catch when stitching the sides seams. To make sure I didn’t accidentally catch the edge I pinned the pocket front out of the way. 

The pockets, sleeves and side seams came together quite quickly leaving the hems, hood and zipper.  I didn’t try the jacket on until checking for the hems and found the sleeves to be really long and also the shoulders very low – even wondering if the pattern design was for offset shoulders. 

However, the pattern didn’t show this nor did any of the reviews I looked at.  Consequently, I lifted the sleeves at the shoulder seams by approximately 2 inches and the sleeves needed shortening by a further 2 inches.  As the side seams are sewn after the arm is set I tapered the sleeve seams from the underarm to avoid having to unpick black thread on black jersey – not an easy task.  Finally, I levelled the sleeves and hemmed the bottom edges.

The Open Ended Zipper was straight forward to insert using a regular zipper foot.  I am out of the habit of inserting a regular zip as I tend to mostly use invisible zippers.

Finally, I inserted the cord through the casing in the hood, finishing the ends with a couple of silver coloured beads/stoppers to keep the cord from slipping back into the casing.

I really love the shoes and heart fabric – a beautiful feel and stretch, heavy enough to not be see through nor cling in the wrong places.  I prefer vest style tops rather than the thin straps of cami tops purely to avoid bra straps showing.

The trousers were quick to make and I omitted the pockets on this occasion.  I also only made one casing around the waist and used 1 piece of elastic instead of 2, partly because I misjudged the amount required and also because the fabric is light weight enough for just one casing.  To avoid the elastic twisting whilst washing and wearing it is sensible to add a single stitch line at each seam across the depth of the casing to keep the elastic in situ.

I find it strangely satisfying inserting elastic and I should probably use this method for waists more than I do now, being a certain age it’s nice to have some give around the middle.

I keep meaning to use mom’s overlocker that I inherited a couple of years ago but again ended up doing my usual straight stitch then edging with a zigzag stitch before trimming the seams.  This method works fine but is obviously a bit more time consuming.  Even if I was overlocking I think I would still stitch the seam with a straight stitch to ensure the right fit before finishing the edges.

Overall, I’m pleased with the outfit although I did find the pattern came up big, in particular the length of all 3 items and I had to shorten the jacket, sleeves and trousers.  The fabric is also a bit staticky but as it’s light weight and only for indoor wear it’s not a problem. 

When I make the outfit again I’ll use a heavier weight for both the jacket and trousers and probably cut the next size down, but overall it is a simple and effective outfit that is quick to put together.

Thanks to Minerva for the fabric, pattern and notions and to everyone for reading.

Helen @ JustSewHelen.com