Saturday, May 30, 2015

Sandra Betzina Knit Top with Darts - Vogue 1363.

This week I made a simple T-shirt out of a plain cotton knit.  The pattern I used was Vogue 1363, a T-shirt designed by Sandra Betzina.  This  T-shirt has bust darts, and I though I would like to try making a darted T-shirt to see if it looked or felt better than an ordinary T.  The neckline is a nice shape, the shoulders are narrow, and the armholes cut quite high - according to Ms. Betzina.  I agree, I did not need to alter the neck or the shoulders, and the armholes feel good.

This is my wearable muslin - I had a scrap of cheap cotton knit lying around and there was just enough for this.  The knit was something called Colorado cotton knit, from Spotlight.  I got some of the end of this run of fabric for about $4 or $5 per metre, instead of $14.99.

 Anyway, without further ado : the pattern-


I made version B, the plain top shown on the left of the pattern envelope. I cut size B bust and size A (smaller) from waist to hips.  I shortened the sleeve and bodice pieces 1 inch along the L/S line. I also added a seam down the back - it's supposed to be cut on the fold, but I needed a seam in order to get the top out of the material I had.

 I thought the dart looked generous, but not having made a knit T before was not sure of how it would place, sit or look, so I just made as per pattern.  The neckline was faced - a very nice finish.  I did find that the T was going to be a bit snug - the knit I used was quite firm, so instead of seaming at 5/8 inch, as per the pattern, I used my serger, effectively making the seams about 3/8 inch. This gave me the ease I wanted, although I thought the sleeves were still a bit snug on the upper arm - and my upper arms are hardly large.  Probably the low stretch in the knit was affecting the fit.  They are not too snug though.

I also turned under the facing edge - the pattern says to stitch down and then trim back.  I don't like the raw edge look so I did it my way :)

The pattern has a huge amount left on for the hem, and you are supposed to trim away what you don't want.  I removed 1 1/4 inch - and had already shortened 1 inch at the L/S line of course.

The darts were a little too long I discovered later - next time I will stop them about 1/2 to 3/4 inch back.

A few pictures - this one of the neck facing:

I also like to do a top stitch along the shoulder - I do a false felled seam - one layer flipped to the back of the shoulder over the trimmed seam. I stabilise the seam first with some interfacing (not seen when finished):

I even top -stitched the darts down - they looked fairly obvious, in a not attractive way, so I decided to make a feature of them.  I also have placed a pin to show where I will need to stop the dart in the future - and that point is now transferred to my pattern, or I would forget :)

And the hems:

As I do not have a cover-stitch machine, I have to make do with zig-zag stitch - I just use a narrow zig-zag (for the stretch factor) and do two rows, so it sort of looks cover-stitched.  I overlock the edge beforehand of course.  So it all looks okay, and stretches enough as well.

On me, this is what the top looks like:

It certainly is a nice little T-shirt and I see more of these being made in the future.  I can also see more clearly were I need to alter the back of my garments - I need to take out the bit that overhangs my mid back at waist level.  I won't be fiddling with making perfectly fitted tees for a while though - I am in urgent need of a few, and that takes priority over fitting the things at the moment.  And they are only T-shirts, after all, not haute couture.

On that note I will leave you - Vogue 1363 - it is a nice  pattern.  And yes, finally, a pink top - it's lovely to have something bright in the wardrobe :)

Wishing you all the best, wherever you are,

Sarah Liz

Friday, May 22, 2015

Snuggly, Cosy and Warm - Kwik Sew 3264

As some of you know, last week I was in the middle of making this nice, snuggly, cosy, warm dressing gown.  It's finished, and I have to admit, really nice to wear.

I used Kwik Sew 3264, an OOP pattern:

This is a classic Kwik Sew pattern - it's simple, easy to sew and looks good.  It is designed for heavy weigh polar fleece or sweatshirt fleece.  I made mine in a softer polar fleece that is drapes nicely  and is so  touchable - not at all like the hard wearing polar fleece for outer-wear garments.  I found it at Spotlight some years ago, and stashed quite a bit of it as it was a nice feeling fabric and in a colour that really suits me.  And for things like dressing gowns, I am a believer in wearing a colour that suits you -for in the first light of the morning, truth is told in the mirror - so never wear an unflattering colour in this situation :).  For those of you interested in colour, you can see how this berry colour harmonises with my skin, hair and eye colouring.  I'm a muted, cool, light person - summer in the old systems, and various permutations on muted, cool and light in the newer systems.

Back to the dressing gown.  It was designed to have the seams serged. This meant that all seam allowances were 1/4 inch.  My serger/overlocker does not like going through thick layers - even with tensions adjusted, pressure foot adjusted, differential feed adjusted, it still balks at layers.  So stitches were skipped on my outer needle thread.  When I reverted to one layer of fleece, the machine behaved.  Anyway, I never try and tell my overlocker what to do in these situations - I work around the problem instead.  So I serged the seams, and then did a narrow zig zag seam over the problem needle thread stitches.  Problem solved :).  May not be perfect, but it is barely even noticeable...

I cut size Small and did not alter the pattern at all.  And I didn't even make a muslin!   I did need to shorten the gown at the hem and sleeves by an inch, but I just made the hems deeper.

Inside, at the CB of the neckband, I added a velvet ribbon loop for hanging the gown up.  I turned the serged edge of the band inwards, and stitched that so I have a nice clean edge at the back neck:

Then I applied the front facing band as per instructions:

Belt loops were made out of fleece and attached in the side seam above the pockets:

The pockets are nice and roomy - this is the outside looking into the pocket:

Inside - the pocket bag - I did make this a little rounder at the top and bottom - I thought the pattern shape was a bit skimped:

Sleeve was just overlocked and turned up - I made my hem 3.5 inches deep, the pattern was 2.5 inches.  Actually, the deeper hem works well, because if I turn the sleeve back it looks like a cuff turn back, because I only turn it back about two inches - so no overlocking shows.

And the bottom hem - a few wobbles here and there, but as my first attempt at a fleecy gown, not too bad.  And I  have seen worse sometimes on RTW.  And everything lines up reasonably well for such an uncooperative fabric.

Now for the front, back and side views:

Just look at those lovely pockets...

I think this will do me for a few winters.  It's been on my list for a long time as a needed garment - my old RTW one was tatty and unflattering.

This one is so lovely.  I think this pattern is a keeper :)

Wishing you all the best for the coming weekend, and hope you have some sewing time.

Sarah Liz.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Too Busy to Blog...Almost

I'm not sure where the week has gone- I planned to make a dressing gown, and I have, almost.  It is nearly finished.  So I thought I would just post a quick progress blog today, more to say hello than anything else.

I also thought I would share this tip with you...when I sew, I always keep a little container handy to put scraps and threads in as they accumulate.   Keeps them off the floor (well, some end up there...), and it is easy to empty every so often.  And portable - you can put it wherever you are sewing.

My long suffering and ill fated knitting also seems to be settling down now - after three attempts at making something, finally I decided  on something simple and am hoping for the best.  Hopefully before winter ends I will have a new cardigan jacket.  If not, I am not sure there will be a fourth attempt :)

Next week I hope to get back into a blogging routine again - the last few weeks have been topsy-turvy.  It happens.  I'm not a lover of life being topsy-turvy as it eats into sewing time as well.  But sometimes it happens...

Wishing you all a great week ahead, wherever you are...

Sarah Liz.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Using the Leftover Piece Top, McCalls 6796

Do you have those extremely frustrating weeks where everything conspires against you sewing?  I've just had one of those, but finally managed to run up this simple top.

 For those of you who think you have seen this top recently, you are right.  Only it was not this top, but:   Last week's top was made in this fabric, and I decided that I would use the leftover piece to make a second top that I want to trial - McCall's 6796:

The fabric was found in an Op Shop, and I don't know what it is - a polyester or acrylic.   It does feel nice on, and although the thermal properties will not be fantastic, I will wear it over a little thermal underthing.  I am in today's photo - hence the slight ripple at  the waist line.  I get cold - Australian houses are not designed for the cold and I need layers.  Also, I am very heat tolerant, so I think that I am not so well adapted to colder weather.

Enough about my idiosyncratic biology and on with the sewing :).  I decided to throw caution to the winds and not make a muslin for this top.  I checked the fit with another pattern and it looked reasonable.  I cut size 12 and shortened the bodice and sleeves 1 inch along the L/S lines. I removed about an inch from the hip width (front and back) and redrew the line to the waist.  I also hemmed the pattern - sleeves and bodice - at about 1 1/4 inch instead of the pattern's recommended 5/8 inch.  I didn't like the look of buttons when I laid them out on my top, so I chose not to put buttons on the collar.

I did find that the shoulders were a little wide on me, but I think rather it is that the neckhole is rather large and the whole top slips down my shoulders.  When I pull the collar up around my neck like the McCalls picture shown above, the shoulders are about right.

Here is a quick picture frieze:

I did stabilise the shoulders, and next time I shall run a stay tape around the back of the neck to try and pull the collar up - it still has to go over my head, so stretch will be needed. The daisy marks the back:

I did a mock flat fell on the shoulder seams and top stitched around the neck opening to hold things in place - plus I like the look of top stitching:

I'm still playing around with what fusing tapes work best - this week I used a fusible web.  It sort of works but I still don't think fusing is the right thing to do for rib knits - because you press them flat, so of course they are going to distort.

 Still, I can live with the results - the top is still a lot nicer than many RTW tops and it is unique and a colour I look good in.  More pluses than minuses, in my opinion :).

All stitching was either by serger or by a narrow zig zag stitch - this stretches with the stretch of the knit, for those of you new to sewing with knits.

That's it for McCalls 6796, until I make it again.  And there will be a next time, because I like this top and the angular collar suits me.

That's it for now, time for me to send my wishes to you for a good weekend and a happy week to follow - with sewing time, of course :)

Sarah Liz :)

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Another Little Top - Vogue 8793.

I had some time to sew today - and as I was keen to get on, I decided to make another version of Vogue 8793, as I already knew this pattern would work.  My first version can be found here.

(And it looks as though I was keener to sew than to do my hair properly today, judging by how it looks in the photo).

This is the pattern:

It's a Katherine Tilton design.  I'm not an arty sort of dresser so would not make these patterned variations, unless, of course, I was using up scraps of fabric - in that situation, rather than throw fabric out, I would make an arty sort of top.

But today I was not using scraps, but part of a 2.5 metre piece of rib knit I found at a local Op Shop, for $5.00.  I'm not sure what the composition is - something synthetic, and I think polyester.  The burn test indicated a polyester-ery  behaviour when alight.  Sort of just melted.  It does feel nice though, and was easy to sew.

I did not want the double collar so just used the inner, larger, collar to make a more classic roll collar.

I cut size Small which works in a stretchier sort of knit.  I took in 1 1/8 inch (2.5 cms approx) at the hip and merged this to nothing at the waist.  As you can see, the top is very loose on the model.

  I shortened the top 1 inch ( 2 cm) at the L/S line of the bodice.  I did not add a cuff to the sleeve.

Here is a photo of the neckline - I top stitch the neck edge where collar meets bodice to hold the over-locked seams into position.  I also had to overlock with grey thread as I could not find an over-locking thread to match the fabric colour - this was a little hard for me, as I don't like un-matching thread.  I got over it though, and quite like the grey now - although, with non-matching thread you do have to be neat. As this is a knit, I use a slight zig-zag stitch, so that I will get some stretch in the seam.

I also do a false flat fell seam at the shoulder.  I have of course stabilised the shoulder seam.   I also do a little edge stitch on the outer edge of the sleeve on this top, just because I thought it went with the sporty look of this top.  Again, top stitching done with a slight zig-zag stitch.

 I'm still trying to work out the best way to do hems on knits, so once again used a fusible web on this hem.  I stitched in a single row of stitching, again, with a slight zig-zag stitch.  I  did the same hem technique on the sleeves.

The front view shows that the front is still quite loose - just like the picture on the pattern.  It would have been voluminous on me if I had not taken it in.   The hem still ripples a bit, but I think this is also happening because the top is loose.  I would not want it any tighter.  I am coming to terms with hem ripples - they can even look purposeful, if you decide to perceive them that way.

The side view - again, the back has folds.  This is because I have a narrow and erect back and need to take out in umpteen places at shoulder level, back and sleeves.  For a tee shirt this is just too much work - no-one will notice in real life, and I will probably wear a cardigan over the top in any case.

And the back view - again, a few wrinkles from my narrow back.   I mean, one day I might work on this alteration, but not until I have a few nice knit tops in the chest of drawers.

And as I said earlier, no-one will notice in real life, because you are busy moving around and not standing still for a very unforgiving blogging sewers self timed photo shoot.

So with that cheery thought, I will say goodbye for now.  Have a great weekend wherever you are.

Sarah Liz :)

P.S. To my Queensland readers - I'm sorry to hear you are having the sort of bad weather we had last week.  Hope you are all okay.  S. L.