Sunday, September 02, 2007

stepping up my game


Joann Fabrics, you have disappointed me yet again.

I am on a quest to either find cheap rtw leggings or make them for Daughter. Yes, I can find leggings at Target, but they all have lace around the cuffs a la Madonna in her "Like a Virgin" days, which is not so much the look I want for my 2 year old. I could get really cute ones at Gymboree, but at $12.50 - $14.50 each I won't be able to get many. I have one pair of hand-me-down Gymboree leggings that fit Daughter perfectly and I suppose I can copy them - I'm going to try, anyway.

The problem is, I went to Joann's to take advantage of the Labor Day sale, but they only have solid color knits! Bleh! I want cute prints and stripes! Ay-yi-yi. I know sewing is not always the economical choice these days because fabrics are getting more expensive and if you want good stuff it's going to be pricey, but I was really hoping I could whip up some cute leggings for around half the price of the store-bought ones.

So I got some black and gray basic knit fabric to experiment, but I would like to make some cuter ones if the testers work out. I am asking you, seamstresses - where can I order cute garment fabrics that aren't $20 per yard? It's hard to believe in a metro area the size of Buffalo we can't have more than one place to buy garment fabrics. I can easily drive to 4 or 5 Joann's locations, but there are no other fabric stores that I know of in the area (other than quilt shops). If any WNY people are reading, please tell me if I am wrong about this!

I've also been looking for an easy knit pullover dress pattern. Using my coupon, I picked up the Sewbaby Twirly Dress pattern, which can be made with an existing t-shirt or entirely from scratch. I can see using solid knits for that and embroidering or adding an applique, but prints and patterns would be nice too...if I can find them.

Also, for the record, I have only tried to sew knit fabric one time, and it was such a miserable failure I haven't even wanted to try again. So this will be an interesting experience. I was sharing some stuff from Sewing Mamas with my husband, and lamenting the fact that these women post AMAZING garments, and not only that, they are also homeschooling mothers of 5 with number 6 on the way and somehow they make all their kids' clothes right down to their underwear (not even kidding)...and what is my problem? Why can't I sew like that, with my one kid who takes a good nap each day? My husband's response was: "well, maybe you need to step up your game!"

He meant to be encouraging, of course. He said there's no reason my work can't be that good (though I draw the line at making underwear), and that I should just get the tools I need and try it. If all those women can wrestle knits in to submission, so can I. And I really hope it works, because I have lots of plans for Daughter's wardrobe.


Pam said...

Ok, first things first - I started to read this post and then decided to go to Costco, but of course I left it up on my screen which will look like I've been reading this post for hours - sorry!

Next, we LOVED the applesauce! I used golden delicious and gala apples and like you said, all I had to do was add cinammon. Next time I'm not going to cook it down as long and leave it chunky to use as fruit compote for pancakes and ice cream topping and such. Sooooo yummy.

Last, you can totally conquer the world of knits. It's all about getting your sewing machine set to the right tension so it doesn't cause your fabric to pucker. You just have to mess with it. A good serger comes in hand here too. Another hint my mom used - iron on interfacing to the cuffs/sleeves before you sew them. Keeps the knit nice and tight while you sew the edges. You can also starch the cuffs and sleeves before you hem them. Works in the same way.

Can't wait to see what you come up with! Maybe check ebay for some better fabric?

Karen said...

I can now say that my addiction to knits is rivaling my addiction to flannel. I am crazy about sewing them because like flannel it's SO easy to work with once you get the hang of its quirks and have the right tools, which you do.

I have found that fun, good quality knits are around the same price as nice wovens, around $6-7/yard which can be a bit of a *gulp* but if you aren't buying ready made clothes in addition to what you're sewing then really, it's kind of a wash in the end except you've had the pleasure of making her clothes the way YOU want them to look. Not the way that retailers decide.

Leggings: watch for their leggings on clearance because they go on clearance for CHEAP within a matter of weeks after they come out. Also: eBay. Hello super cheap leggings!!!

If I survive this freakish flu or whatever I am making applesauce next week. YUM! Love your idea, Pam!

Let's talk soon.

Ruth said...

I second checking eBay. You can get great (lightly) used kid's clothes there, mostly name brands ... Mulberri Bush, Hanna Andersson, Gymboree, Gap ... check it out.

CWD Kids has good sales, too ...

Anne K. said...

For some reasonably priced fabric - both for quilting and apparel - have you tried I've been delighted with their quality and speedy service. I don't know if they have the happy striped knits you seek, but worth a try.