• The Two Faces of Stretch: Manufactured Stretch (Elastane) vs. Inherent Stretch (Natural).

    Stretch and Recovery Explained

    Have you ever slipped into your favorite stretchy pants and marveled at how they effortlessly hug your curves while maintaining their shape?

    Understanding the magic behind stretch fabrics, like those in your beloved leggings, opens up a world of possibilities in the realm of sewing and fashion. Let’s talk about the secrets of stretch and recovery to help guide you through the maze of stretch fabrics with confidence.

    Diving into the world of stretch fabrics, commonly known as knit fabric, is best done when you have a solid understanding of the fundamental concepts of stretch and recovery. These two cornerstones play a pivotal role in determining whether a fabric is suitable for your chosen pattern and how it will conform to your body.

    The Two Faces of Stretch Fabrics:

    Within the category of ‘stretch’, your fabric can be further broken down into one of two sub categories.

    1. Stretch Fabrics with Elastane: The Ultimate Stretch Duo

    This category includes stretch fabrics that owe their stretchiness to elastane fibers, also known as spandex or lycra. Elastane is introduced during the manufacturing process to excellent and controlled stretch, making it the ideal choice for form-fitting and comfortable clothing.

    2. Stretch Fabrics with Inherent Stretch: Naturally Comfortable

    The second category includes stretch fabrics designed for inherent stretch, achieved through specific knitting techniques. Unlike fabrics manufactured with elastane, these fabrics are engineered to have natural mechanical stretch in their structure, offering comfort in diverse applications.

    Think of it as hand knitting – where the yarn is strategically knitted to possess inherent stretch, eliminating the need for added elastane. Both categories boast unique characteristics, catering to various sewing and fashion needs.

    Choosing the Right Fabric for the Project:

    Understanding these two categories is crucial for selecting the right stretch fabric for your sewing and fashion projects. Fabrics with elastane are ideal for garments demanding controlled and substantial stretch, ensuring flexibility and a snug fit.

    On the other hand, fabrics with inherent stretch find applications in various styles, such as sweater knits, cable knits, and even some waffle knits, providing comfort in a myriad of clothing and textile items.

    Beyond Composition: Unraveling the Fabric Mystery:
    Crucially, even if two stretch fabrics share identical compositions – say, 95 percent cotton, 5 percent elastane – several manufacturing factors can lead to variations in stretch percentage and recovery properties. Elements such as knitting structure, fabric weight, spandex quality, tension, finish, weave density, fiber quality, and pre-shrinking processes all play roles in determining how fabrics behave.

    Ready to Dive Deeper into the World of Stretch Fabrics?

    Join me in my Conquer Stretch Sewing Course if this look into the finer points of stretch and recovery has sparked your interest and you’re ready to become an expert sewer of stretch materials. Explore these fabric secrets and others, giving you the confidence and information you need to sew all your future stretch projects with ease.

  • Video Tutorial of Bear Hug Wrap Romper

    Pattern: Bear Hug Wrap Romper
    Designer: Peek A Boo Patterns
    Fabrics: Cotton Lycra from Wattle Hill
    Size made: 3 months & 12 months
    Adjustments: None
    Pros: This is a really cute little wrap romper for your babies. Perfect as a baby shower gift.
    Cons: None

    Effortless Baby Dressing: A Dive into the Bear Hug Wrap Romper Pattern!

    There’s something innately charming about dressing up babies; their outfits are like pint-sized versions of adult clothes, filled with cuteness overload. However, the practicality of baby outfits is just as crucial, if not more so, than their aesthetic appeal. That’s where the Bear Hug Wrap Romper pattern shines bright.

    This pattern effortlessly combines style with functionality. The wrap design not only adds a touch of elegance but also ensures a quick dressing process – a must during those late night changes or with a wriggly baby.

    The rompers’ variety is another plus. It offers short and long sleeves, making it adaptable to different seasons and climates. The optional fold over cuffs is good for those bubbas who scratch themselves, protecting their hands and face. I also like the options of both cuffs or footies, ensuring your little ones remain snug as a bug.

    I also think an important feature of babywear is ease of use in getting to the nappy/diaper. If you choose to add the inseam snap placket, it eliminates the hassle of fully undressing the baby, saving both time and effort.

    I would say the most difficult part of the wrap is the binding. It can be quite tricky, however I suggest going slow and using something like double sided washaway tape to help keep it in place while you sew. Have a look at the tutorial I filmed below for additional tips and tricks.

    I highly recommend for those sewing for their little ones or even as a thoughtful handmade gift for expecting friends and family!

    Step-by-Step Tutorial: Sewing the Adorable Bear Hug Wrap Romper for Your Little One!

    What next?

    Stop wasting fabric and time on projects that don't fit right. 

    Learn to sew with confidence and let me guide you to more sewing success.

  • Pattern Review of the Smitten Jacket

    Pattern: Smitten Jacket
    Designer: Pattern Emporium
    Fabrics: Cotton Drill from Spotlight Stores
    Skill level: Experienced Beginner
    Size made: 18 FBA
    Adjustments: None
    Pros: Love this one to chuck over a dress or top to dress it up or keep you warm on cooler nights.
    Cons: None

    The Wrap Up

    When I saw Kate from Pattern Emporium ask for testers for this jacket, I put my hand up straight away, it’s SO cute! I had my eye on the ultra crop version and I was not disappointed with my final version.

    One of the things I liked about it is that Kate wasn’t marketing it as a straight Denim jacket, rather one that could be used with softer fabrics such as Linen, Linen Blends and Rayons, which just makes it so much more versatile.

    I also really love the options on this one. Having the front and back yoke as well as the paneled front gives it so many ways to customise for a prefect style fit just for you. I am a huge fan of the top stitching element (though I didn’t top stitch this one), as it gives you the opportunity to add a contrasting colour that can really make it pop.

    Pattern Emporium really do have great written instructions for their patterns making it so much easier for beginners especially to feel like they are being supported as they attempt new patterns. It has a size range of 4-30, and mashes with quite a few other Pattern Emporium patterns.

    I thoroughly enjoyed making this one and have plans for a denim and Corduroy version for winter. I highly recommend giving this one a go!

    Watch my Review with construction tips

    What next?

    Experience the satisfaction of wearing your own handmade clothes

    Learn to sew with confidence and let me guide you to more sewing success.

  • Updated Pattern Review of the Dutchie Jacket

    Pattern: Kids Dutchie Jacket
    Designer: Ellie & Mac
    Fabrics: Black French Terry from Rubyjam Fabrics and Buffalo Plaid Flannel from Spotlight
    Skill level: Intermediate
    Measurements: Chest: 21″; Waist 20.5″; Hips 21″
    Size made: 3
    Adjustments: Hacked their instructions on the welt pocket.
    Pros:Love this jacket cause you can mix woven in the bodice with knit for the sleeves.
    Cons: I found the instructions a little confusing. Definitely read each step before progressing. 

    The Wrap Up

    I’ve actually made this jacket for Jemma before (which you can read here) and while I loved it, I found the instructions a little heavy to follow. To be honest, some of it is that because I am such a competent sewist I tend to assume what the next step will be and go ahead with what I logically think will work, but sometimes patterns need to be done in a certain way for all the elements to work, so it doesn’t always work in my favour to jump the gun!

    As I mentioned in my last review, I wasn’t a huge fan of the visible stitching lines on the front welt pocket, so this time I was determined to alter them out. I cut out all the pieces and ended up having a think about it overnight and came up with a pretty good solution I think.

    I filmed it all to show how I did, you can see it all in the YouTube video below. 

    It is definitely a great pattern all in all, I just recommend you take your time while sewing it and you will get great results.

    How to eliminate the visible stitching lines on the welt pocket, plus short review.

    What next?

    Need help with your sewing? 

    Learn to sew with confidence and let me guide you to more sewing success.

  • Pattern Review of the Willow Wrap Dress with how to add pockets

    Pattern: Willow Wrap Dress
    Designer: Love Notions
    Fabrics: Cotton Lycra from Clover & Co. Fabrics
    Skill level: Confident Beginner
    Measurements: Bust: 45″; Waist 39.5″; Hips 47.5″
    Size made: XL graded to 2XL at waist
    Adjustments: Shortened to Empire waistline
    Pros: Gorgeous pattern for showing off your bustline
    Cons: No pockets, but watch my tutorial on how to add them!

    The Wrap Up

    I love this pattern so much I have made 3 of them!

    I am a huge fan of the Love Notions Willow wrap, it is such a flattering pattern with a variety of options. You can choose from dress or peplum length, and to be honest, you can also cut between the peplum and dress lengths to create a tunic length as well if you wanted. There are also 5 different sleeve options, 2 neckline heights and it is great for Maternity and Nursing.

    I would note that with the flutter sleeve option I think it is better suited for lighter, drapier fabrics as when I used the 220gsm Cotton Lycra it was just a bit too ‘stiff’. I didn’t think it sat as nicely as when I made it from a double brushed poly.

    I also prefer an Empire Waistline to a Natural Waistline, so I used the tutorial I made for the Margot Peplum, also from Love Notions, to shorten my bodice to Empire.

    This is the Feature Friday pattern for Love Notions, Friday 31st March, 2023 which means here in Australia it will be on sale for $5USD (approx. $7.50 AUD) till around 3pm Saturday 1st April.

    Use code MEGAN10 for an extra 10% off at the checkout!

    I also think every dress should have pockets, so make sure you check out my video review below which includes a tutorial on how to add pockets to any dress! Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel while you’re there so you don’t miss any future reviews and tutorials.

    Pattern Review and How to add pockets to your Willow Wrap Dress

    What next?

    Stop wasting fabric and time on projects that don't fit right. 

    Learn to sew with confidence and let me guide you to more sewing success.

  • Pattern Review of the Adult Discoverer Tee

    Pattern: Adult Discoverer Tee
    Designer: Ellie & Mac
    Fabrics: Cotton Lycra from Rubyjam Fabrics
    Skill level: Beginner
    Measurements: Bust: 45″; Waist 40″; Hips 46″
    Size made: XXL
    Adjustments: None
    Pros: Love the colour blocking on this and how it allows you to mix and match coordinating fabrics.
    Cons: None

    The Wrap Up

    I had a lot of fun sewing this one up.

    My Brother in Law’s partner has a bit of a thing for avocado’s so as soon as I saw this fabric I knew that I wanted to make it into something for her. 

    The discoverer tee seemed perfect as I was able to colour block with a solid to break up the ‘strong’ hero print. It’s also quite a flattering fit for larger busted women (as my sis in law is) as the colour blocking hits above the bust.

    If you like a simple, easy sew with colour blocked options, this is a great pattern. I have also written a tutorial on how to add knit piping across the colour blocked section which I’ll link here. I did it for a the kids version but it’s the same principle for the adult version.

    Learn to sew it LIVE

    What next?

    Lacking motivation and need help?

    Join a supportive community that motivates and inspires you to get the best from your sewing time. You’ll also learn loads as well!

  • Pattern Review of the Sicily Swing Dress/Top

    Pattern: Sicily Swing Dress/Top
    Designer: Peek A Boo Pattern Shop
    Fabrics: Bamboo Lycra from Clover & Co. Fabrics
    Skill level: Beginner
    Measurements: Chest: 45″; Waist 40″; Hips 47″
    Size made: 2XL graded to 3XL
    Adjustments: Just the grading
    Pros: SUPER comfy and easy to wear. Also has nursing option
    Cons: Needs updated sizing

    The Wrap Up:

    I think this was one of the first patterns I ever tried of Peek a Boo as it had the nursing option and I loved it straight away.

    The fit and flare style really suits me and I love that their are a couple of different neckline options. Especially over the fringe months, I really enjoy a cowl neck for that little bit of added warmth, without having to carry a scarf around. 

    Like I mentioned as well, this has the option of nursing which is so nice to see. When I was feeding my son I had such limited choices in Ready to Wear clothing and it was kind of what sparked me to really give clothes for myself another go, so to be able to make stylish feeding friendly tops was amazing!

    The fabric I made my latest from is a pre order I did with Clover and Co in Bamboo Lycra. I like that this fabric design and pattern can be paired well with both leggings and jeans, making it easy to dress up or down. Put a little crop jacket it with it and a pair of heels if you’re going out, or straight cut jeans and a pair of white sneakers and you’re day ready.

    I 1000000% will be getting more of Clover’s bamboo lycra as well. It is DIVINE!!! SO soft and drapey to wear. I want all the bamboo lycra now.

    What next?

    Find More Sewing Joy

    Discover an inclusive and supportive sewing community with a growing library of sewing tutorials, tips and tricks.

  • Sew Unique+ – Monthly Fabric Subscription Review

    Do you love fabric and want it delivered to your door every month?

    I love fabric. I love to look at it, I love to search online for it, I love to touch it, I love to plan with it. I just love it. When I heard about Sew Unique’s monthly fabric subscription program, I had to find out more.

    What is it?

    SUF+ is a monthly subscription of fabric, delivered to your door. The fabric is delivered after the 19th of each month and the design is a surprise, which only adds to the excitement. There is also a super handy surprise gift included which is always practical and a great addition to your sewing tool kit.

    The designs are usually chosen with adult females in mind, however there is quite a variety of designs. My daughter has tried to take it for herself a number of times haha.

    One of my favourite things is there are different levels for different budgets. The cheapest starts at $40 for 1m of fabric and includes shipping. There is also an option for 1.5m and 2m of fabric, plus the option to upgrade to express shipping, generally for only a couple of dollars more. Throw in the free gift plus early access to all retail releases and the entire back catalog of SUF+ designs, and it really is great value for money.

    The other great thing is the longer you’re in it, the more rewards you get! After being in the program just 4 months, you automatically upgrade to Silver membership which qualifies you for $5 shipping on all your orders. You can also go up and down each month as you need. If you’d like 1m one month but want to try 2m the next month, you just upgrade your subscription before the 19th and it will be updated.

    I’ve made some amazing makes with my subscription, but I think February’s design takes the cake for my fave. It’s no secret the Iris shorts from Sonia Estep are my fave knit shorts and as soon as I saw the design, I knew they would be perfect. I paired mine with another of Sew Unique’s fabrics, their cranberry Bamboo Lycra. It was the perfect match and the bamboo lycra is like butter to touch. SO soft! I’ve written a review of my outfit >>here<<

    I also just received March’s fabric and all I can say is O.M.G. It is so pretty and I can’t wait to sew it up and share it. Just secretly, I’ve also seen the next couple of months of designs and squeeeeeeee. I can’t wait to make ALL the things.

    So don’t wait any longer and treat yourself to a fabric package each month. You won’t regret it!