What can I do with this wonderful fabric?
January 19, 2009 9:25 AM   Subscribe

I fell in love with some fabric yesterday but it's a nubby thermal knit (like for long-johns). I don't sew with a sewing machine but have done a lot of hand-sewing. Do you have project ideas for me, using this potentially hard-to-work-with material?

My main sewing projects in the past have been sock monsters, two small purses (unlined, one with a snap closure and one with a drawstring), pants-turned-skirt, and lots of miniature felt items.

My main fear is it'll be too stretchy for a small coin purse or something like that. The print is so wonderful (OWLS!) that I don't want to relegate it to a doll that just sits in a corner. And, of course, that my hand-sewing skills aren't ready for this type of fabric.

Any clever ideas?
posted by faunafrailty to Home & Garden (16 answers total)
How large is the print? A picture would be nice.

Have you considered making a headband? Stretchy fabric is good for that.
posted by amtho at 9:49 AM on January 19, 2009

Sorry, didn't think of that! This is the fabric, in the form of an awesome hoodie I do not have the skills to make.

posted by faunafrailty at 9:59 AM on January 19, 2009

Annnnd, I should have actually linked that: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=18358723
posted by faunafrailty at 9:59 AM on January 19, 2009

Yes I agree that print size matters... If you're looking for something that you can show off more than an item that sits in your room, how about taking advantage of the material type and making knee socks or funky leg warmers?

The trick with stretchy fabrics is to make sure you are not stretching them out while you are sewing them, and to use a looser, longer stitch.
posted by vodkaboots at 9:59 AM on January 19, 2009

Although it sort of takes the fun out of it, why not outsource this project? The fabric is indeed super adorable, and it would be a waste to experiment on it. Try the etsy local feature to find someone near you!

Or you could find a more easily sacrificed piece of fabric with similar characteristics to start messing around with. Once you figure that out (and sewing stretch is not easy, I admire your fortitude) have at the adorable owls!
posted by charmcityblues at 10:28 AM on January 19, 2009

That is cute! Maybe you could try ironing on some fusible interfacing to the back of the fabric, which would make it stiffer and hopefully prevent it from stretching. Then you could do the coin purse.
posted by miriam at 10:54 AM on January 19, 2009

charmcityblues - That's a good idea, to find someone with actual sewing skills to make me a cute tote or something.

Miriam - I hadn't thought of that! I'm thinking I could also do the same and perhaps use it as an applique since the owls are so large?

BTW, if anyone's curious, the fabric is at Joann's, so it's not hard to find.
posted by faunafrailty at 11:11 AM on January 19, 2009

Maybe some armwarmers? In theory, it would only be one long stitch.
posted by Ugh at 11:30 AM on January 19, 2009

I've never actually tried the interface thing to stop stretching, but it's worth a shot! For applique, I'm not sure that interfacing will stop the edges of the fabric from fraying (though it will certainly help to make it stiffer). Joann's often has tubes of magical things for stuff like that, and you might try something like Fray Stop. Sometimes the ladies at Joann's are helpful (though definitely not always), and you might ask their advice. Craftster is also really great for questions like this. Good luck!
posted by miriam at 11:36 AM on January 19, 2009

Google "No sew" plus whatever you might want to make. Here's the first link to a tote.
posted by artychoke at 11:43 AM on January 19, 2009

Do a simple tank top or tank dress. It would be adorable. You could even put the seams on the outside so that a whipstitched hand-sewn edge would be part of the design, and cute.

Make sure you use thread that has some stretch and give to it...important! You want the thread to give as the fabric does. I'd ask someone at JoAnn's to recommend a good one to use.
posted by iconomy at 11:50 AM on January 19, 2009

Wide belt, maybe with a slightly interesting shape. Put it on over some plainer clothing for interest. I made a belt once; it was an interesting, but still pretty simple, project.
posted by amtho at 12:20 PM on January 19, 2009

You can stabilize the stretchiness with a non-stretching liner and then put your lovely fabric on the outside for the coin purse.

You can use regular thread, just do a zigzag stitch and it'll stretch.
posted by HolyWood at 1:11 PM on January 19, 2009

How about a tube or tank top? Whatever you make, it'd be super cute to hand bead one of the owls. I'd make a prototype first, before cutting up such wonderful fabric.
posted by debbie_ann at 1:17 PM on January 19, 2009

I just made a top like this out of a meter of fairly stretchy tshirt knit material. It was actually pretty easy, although I used a machine instead of sewing it by hand. It was one of my first sewing projects since I learned how to sew in High School Home Ec class, and it actually turned out pretty good.

Threadbanger.com is a really good resource for sewing projects... I think that print would be super-cute as part of a shoulder bag. Check out the master list of tutorials on the forums for some purse and bag ideas.
posted by kaudio at 2:45 PM on January 19, 2009

Thank you for all these ideas, everyone! They've really expanded my sewing horizon beyond sock monsters and mini-purses.
posted by faunafrailty at 10:36 AM on January 20, 2009

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