Friday, December 30, 2011

Holiday Gift Wrap-Up #3 -- A Stretch

Like the other girl gift I showed earlier in the week, this present included a pair of fingerless mitts made from upcycled fabric. And as usual, I learned some things making in the process of making this gift.

The fabric was a polyester stretch velvet in the form of a too-small short-sleeved mock turtleneck I bought at a thrift store a while back because I liked the color. Might have paid 50 cents. My very limited experience with machine sewing on a) velvet and b) stretchy velvet convinced me to keep my plan simple.

So I cut a pair of simple mitts from the shirt using a pattern I made from lightweight non-stretchy interfacing (also thrifted, by the way).

If you look closely at the left mitt, the seam fell on the palm instead of along the outside edge of the hand. Yup, I should have cut a full-size sample from an old T-shirt or other stretchy fabric to test the pattern before I cut the velvet. Oh, well. I fiddled with the placement of the thumb hole, recut the pattern, made a sample!!, and got back to work.

There was still enough fabric to cut another pair of fingerless mittens. They're a little shorter than the pattern. That's just the way my family likes 'em.

With the rest of the fabric, I pieced together a little hat, pinning and seaming to the intact mock T, which had plenty of stretch to become a hat band. With the wonky piecing, I didn't have to worry about the nap of the fabric.

I covered the back seam of the mock T with a little fabric flower pieced together from scraps and sewn on by hand.

My older-than-me Singer never handled knits well, so I gave up sewing them years ago. My newer hand-me-down Singer doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles (and I can't drop the feed dogs), but it handles knits much better.

These mitts were hemmed with a decorative stitch. The hat was put together with zigzag stitching. I'd been fantasizing about getting a sewing machine that would make free-motion stitching easier. Now I'm kind of thinking a serger would be fun.

But for now, I can do everything I need to do with the machine I have. It's just a tool. If I didn't have a machine, I could have stitched this gift by hand.

More important than the tool is the habit of sampling: I should practice what I preach!


  1. I love your matching mitts and hat! You did a great job!

  2. Thanks so much! I think stretch velvet is now on my thrifting look-for list!


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