Kicking It with 4 Yards of Bamboo-Spandex Jersey

A couple of years ago, I read about textiles made of bamboo. “Eco friendly,” they said. “So soft and comfy,” they said. “Easy to sew,” they said.

So I bought four yards of it online and figured I’d give it a whirl – maybe make a nice wrap dress and have enough left over for a top. The stuff I bought was 95% bamboo, 5% spandex. And 100% a pain in the ass.

It wrinkles. When I look at it. It also is sssssssuuuuuuupppppppeeeeeerrrrrr ssssssttttttrrrreeeeeettttttccccchhhhhyyyy. Any dress I made would be a saggy, wrinkly mess in no time. (But, nice and soft as advertised…) So I put in deep in my stash and forgot about it.

I need new PJs – home with Covid-19 raging around me and all that. So I figured I could manage to transform the bamboo jersey into a nice PJ set, with maybe something left over for a top (a nod to the original plan).

Ta-da!

PJs from McCall’s 7297


This McCall’s pattern, 7297, is a knockoff of some PJs sold in the Garnet Hill catalog. Those PJs cost $80 or so – I estimate mine cost about $20 – including some leftover satin piping along the neckline.

Satin piping

The pattern is a pretty easy project. The crossover bodice detail is the only tricky bit. I have made a few of these PJs and I have found it’s easier to install the neckline binding in one go and then sew down the crossover bit than to sew the neckline binding to the crossover point, baste the overlap down, then sew the rest of the binding on. To use piping, sew it first to the neckline binding, then sew the two pieces together onto the neckline.

The pattern calls for prepackaged bias binding, but of course it’s nicer to make your own. This time I did a narrow T-shirt style binding for the neckline and made a wider binding for the cuffs and hem. This black jersey was left over from a dress I made a couple of years ago – the “two yards of fabric on my ass” dress – if you recall it.

There was enough fabric left over for a T-shirt – as predicted! Here’s another try at Vogue 8793 – a Katherine Tilton design that calls for colorblocking and a decorative nylon zipper along the double collar. I used up the rest of both jerseys on the project.

Vogue 8793

The zipper along the collar never appealed to me – just seemed odd to include a “zipper to nowhere” and I thought it would be uncomfortable. So the first time I omitted it entirely, but the collar was kinda saggy and sad:

Vogue 8793 with sad collar

I like the top, but the collar disappointed me. The design, I think, counts on the zipper to give the collar some structure. I thought that knit interfacing along the collar might give a similar effect, so why not try it?

Collar action – very perky!

The collar is now a bit too stiff and doesn’t play well with the stretchy jersey. I like the way it looks, but it’s just too heavy. So, a decent effort but not exactly what I was going for.

A friend suggested that I just try the damn zipper already, so I agreed. If I ever make another one of these, it will have a zipper in the collar!

Anyway, I think I made lemonade out of the lemon that was this fabric. There was nothing but a little pile of scraps left.

Scraps…. did a good job on that 4 yards!

I wonder if bamboo jersey fabric is always wrinkly and saggy, or was just the stuff I bought? Anyone have any experience with it?

Author: shoes15

I live in Connecticut, USA with my husband and my dog, in an old house outfitted with a sewing room, a garden, an orchard, and a big liquor cabinet.

7 thoughts on “Kicking It with 4 Yards of Bamboo-Spandex Jersey”

  1. I’ve used a 70% bamboo rayon/ 3-% cotton blend – stretchy, maybe a bit saggy at the skirt hem – I put on the slightly ruffled tiers on the skirt hem and the hem doesn’t have the typically slight curve seen on an A line skirt – it seems to pull down at the sides bit – not bad enough that I feel compelled to try to fix it.

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