Saturday, 13 March 2010


Since getting back from Sydney this fabric (Hot Wire from Tessuti fabrics) has been burning a hole in my metaphorical pocket. Literally keeping me awake at night.

The reasons for my excitement are many, but it all boils down to this - it's an experiment. A very different kind of fabric, unsewn before by me, to make garments not really like things I normally make. The chance for failure looms large, the potential rewards of charting new territory irresistible.

So yesterday after procrastinating a fair while with chores and mending and other distractions (all the while thinking and edging closer) I cut into the Hot Wire. I won't pretend I wasn't nervous but it quickly became obvious that I need not have been. It sews like a dream. The overlocker loved it (nice tight seams with the 4 thread and no mucking about with tension and whatnot) and while I needed to adjust the fit a couple of times because it is so stretchy that the garments I was using as a rough sizing guide were too big, it took the alterations without a problem.

I started with a basic long sleeve T. I used another tighter fitting one as the basic model but I needed to make a bit smaller again.

I used bands and bound the neck, sleeves and hem because I figured this is going to be a garment that gets a lot of wear and I wanted it to stand up to a lot of work. I also wanted it to look 'neat' enough to wear to work. Very very happy.

Next up I made a cowl neck vest, based loosely on a tutorial by Kirsten Johnstone in Mixtape Issue 2 (November 2007).

This is super super simple to make and in a nice stretchy fabric you really can't go wrong. Again I had to take the first cut in a bit because this fabric really looks best with a bit of negative ease.

Again I bound the arm holes - at least in part to provide a bit of structure and gathering around the front bust line - but I simply overlock finished the neck and hem.

Worn together I like the two different finishing details.

I started with 2.5m of hot wire, and I still have enough for a small tank top I think. I will definitely be off to get some in black and create a fantastic set of mix and match tops. Now that I've got the confidence to sew with it, and know a bit more about cutting sizes, I think I might try something a bit more interesting and adventurous in the black overtop.

Perhaps something inspired by this book...and then, perhaps I'll get another colour and try something even more adventurous...


Suzy said...

Both tops look great. I really like the cowl neckline. Does it feel like Metallicus fabric?
Also, would you say an overlocker is essential for sewing this kind of knit?

sooz said...

Good questions Suzy! I'm not overly familiar with the feel of metalicus - it is very similar but maybe not quite as soft? Not sure. As for the overlocker, I am sure you could do without if you have a basic stretch stitch. One of the things I was nervous about was that the fabric would run and/or curl really badly, but in fact it was easier to handle than standard jersey in the curl department so I can't see a problem with skipping the overlocker.

Sara said...

These look great! I too love the cowl neck, and I love the layered look. Perfect fabric for the layered look. And the weather is getting cooler!
Meant to comment on your Sydney post but I'll just do it here :-) What a wonderful weekend! I felt like I'd had a great time too, just by reading about it!
Being a sydneysider myself, it's always great to hear when people come and have a lovely time. Although the amount of activity you fit into one weekend did make me feel SUPER lazy...
Love that you took your daughter too, what special memories you two can cherish now.
Thanks for the tips on some of those fabric stores too, I didn't know about Bird Textiles, will definitely check them out.
And Kinokuniya...ahhhh. What a store! I used to work near by and spent most of my lunch hour browsing and spending.

nikkishell said...

They look fab Suzie! We've been fondling that fabric lots in the shop :)

Amy said...

Oooh that fabric looks fab - love what ou've done with it, especially the cowl neck vest :D

Ali said...

Wow - I am seriously in love with the cowl necked vest.

Ren said...

Very classy. Can't wait to see it. You're so clever!

Di said...

Excellent work!!! Gotta get me some of that... The tank is such a great way to use up leftover bits of stretch isn't it?!

Emma said...

Love the look - especially the neckline... I have some old tops that really need updating and stuff , so this is insipring me!! x