Friday, June 20, 2014

The Post With No Name

Edited July 12, 2014:
After washing and drying this top seems to fit better than it did around the neckline.  I think I will leave it as is for now to see how it wears.

New Look 6735
I'm sure you must be sick of seeing New Look 6735 but I have a couple more incarnations of it to show you. I had the sewing bug the other night and was up until 1:30 finishing up these two tops. It's funny that no matter how many times I make up this pattern I keep learning from it. That's a good thing, I'm thinkin'.

So What did I learn this time around?

It is amazing how much different fabrics affect the fit even though I am cutting out the exact same pattern. The first one shown above was made with a mystery knit from my stash. This was something I bought probably ten years ago and I am guessing it is just cotton. The recovery is not that great as there is no lycra in it. When I use a rayon/lycra blend I end up with a very fitted top. But the above pic shows the top AFTER I altered it by taking it in 5/8" each side as well as the sleeves. Yet it still has a looser fit on me than the rayon/lycra ones.

I learned that once again my Mom knows best - I really can get a 3/4 sleeve tee out of a meter of fabric.  I had to shorten the tee bodice and the sleeves by an inch to accomplish this.  I generally lengthen an inch at the waist because I am long-waisted but this pattern still makes quite a long tee.  I am able to cut an inch off the bottom and still have lots of coverage.

Up until now I have been making my tees using the methods advocated by Lynn Rowe on Pattern Review in this thread. From that thread I found this excellent video from Threads magazine about inserting a knit neckband and it really hasn't failed me yet. But I also now have Jenny, my brand spanking new coverstitch machine. Although I am loving the hems I am getting with her I need to be trying other things. I'm not keen on buying a very overpriced binding attachment so I thought I would try it freehand. I have scouted all over internet-land for various advice on this process and then just had at it. I got mixed results, but again I learned a lot.

The serged shoulder seam over the binding
The process:

I used my bias tape maker to make the binding. I left one shoulder open and left the binding in a long strip. I placed the starting edge of the neckline into the fold of the binding, lined the binding up under the double needles, and lowered the needles to hold the fabrics in place. As I started sewing I stretched the binding with my right hand while holding the neckline inside the binding without stretching it with my left hand, moving along a couple of inches at a time. This actually worked surprisingly well, and I really don't think that a binding attachment would have done a much better job. After the binding was sewn into place I serged the second shoulder seam. I had read that on a thick seam like over the banding the serger will grab your bottom layer more than the top so I offset it to compensate as suggested.

Troubleshooting:

Stretched out neckline
Even though I stretched the binding the neckline still looks stretched out. I think this comes at least partially from the lack of recovery in my fabric choice. Possible solutions: next time I think it would be helpful to stay-stitch the neckline before applying the binding.  I should mention that I haven't staystitched on any of the tees I've made so far and not had this issue.  Also, the lack of recovery could be accommodated by using a strip of clear elastic inside the binding. This will require more experimentation.

Sergio serged the shoulder seam exactly as I had offset it, so it is sewn slightly offset. Possible solution: next time I will line the seam up with no offset.

Conclusion:

To be totally honest I am happier with the original band as opposed to binding. I'm not sure how to properly explain this but with banding the band has a softer look and the tee holds the structure at the topstitching over the seam. With binding the binding holds the structure and has a firmer look. On reflection this is probably because the banding is only two layers thick with the seam allowances all behind the topstitching on the bodice.  With binding the seam allowances are tucked inside the binding making it five layers thick including the bodice fabric.  This probably sounds ridiculous but I think banding has a more feminine look than binding. But having said that I think there is potential in the binding process and I will continue playing with it. For this particular tee, in hindsight I probably never prewashed that fabric, so I will wash it and then take the neckband off and play with it some more.

Way back at the beginning of this post I mentioned I made two 6735's. After finishing the above tee I started right away to completely take apart a new work tee - man's cut - and cut it out with 6735 and reassemble. Ta-daaa!
New Look 6735

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