Saturday, August 09, 2014

NL6735 B5493 Mashup

NL6735 Bodice B5493 Cowl
First up is this pretty blue and white number.  This is a mashup of New Look 6735 and Butterick 5493.  I Bought 5493 because of all the different neckline options.  I didn't realize it was intended for a stretch woven fabric, and all the PR reviews talked about it being quite a loose fitting top.  I wanted to use these collars to add variety to tees so I decided to adapt my TNT (tried and true) 6735 to accommodate the collar from 5493.  It turned out pretty good, don't you think?

I really wrestled with how to finish the edge of the cowl neck.  The pattern calls for a double folded very narrow hem.  I played with the idea of using the coverstitch to do a single fold hem but thought that might be a bit big for the application.  Then I did a sample with a serged rolled hem but I thought that would be too obvious.  I even thought about leaving it raw because it is a fine knit but the edges wanted to roll up.  So in the end I did as the pattern suggested.  I still get a bit of turning up near the shoulders which I am going to resolve with a little hand stitching to tack it down.

The last time I made this top sleeveless I narrowed the shoulder width and used banding on the armholes.  This made it more like a tank top.  This time around I left the width as it was and did a double fold to the seam allowance.  I think this little big of extra coverage makes this top more work-friendly.

I now want to experiment a bit more with cowls - both the added on collars and the slash-and-spread styles - to add a little interest to my tee wardrobe. 

Changing gears here, I've been thinking about getting a new serger.  Not that there's anything wrong with my Brother 1034D, it is an excellent little machine.  It was cheap (what's not to like about that) and has proven to be quite reliable.  I really don't have a lot of problems threading it since I labeled the machine (at work that's called "visual factory") and I definitely don't "need" a new machine, although the bells and whistles on the higher end machines would certainly be nice to have.  I've been spending too much time on Pattern Review reading serger discussions and all roads seem to lead to the Babylock Enlighten.  The big selling features about this machine are the air-threading (ok that would be cool but like I said I'm ok threading my Brother), the "wave stitch" which is some specialty embellishment stitch that I would probably never use, led lighting (definitely a plus), and here's the biggie - a tighter turning ratio.  This is the feature that got my attention.  I have found a passion for sewing with knits.  Particularly knit tops.  I learned the method from Lynn Rowe's knit sew-along of sewing the sleeves in flat and then doing the sleeve seam and side seam in one go.  This has been pretty much foolproof for me.  But there can be a pretty sharp turn going from the sleeve to the bodice, and sometimes the Brother jumps off the road at that intersection.  I then have to go back and reinforce with Phoebe.  This is where the tighter turning ratio would be beneficial.  The downside?  The Enlighten is being sold at my local dealer for $2400.  Ouch!  Yet the reviews on the Enlighten are all singing its praises.  Is it a kool-aide thing because people want to justify having spent so much money or are the machines really that good?

I could go down a model to the Imagine for $1800, but that one doesn't seem to have the tight turning ratio or the led lighting - the two main features I am looking for.  Not much point in spending that kind of money on a machine that doesn't do what I want it to.

This morning I read about the patent expiring on the Babylock air-driven threading system, and how other brands will now be incorporating this feature. Juki already has with the MO-1000.  This seems to have all the same features as the Enlighten such as the tight turning ratio, led lighting, and air-driven threading.  The only thing missing is the automatic tension.  This machine is selling for $1300.  But the reviews are mixed.  It has only been out for about a year and it has had some teething pains.  Also, I'm not aware of a local Juki dealer.  I believe I'd be able to pick one up at the Novi Sewing Expo in September, but I wouldn't have a local dealer for service.  And that can be a big deal.  I need to decide if it is a $1100 big deal.

Fortunately I don't have to make any decisions today, I will continue doing my homework.  All this thinking about a new serger has me focusing more on my serging technique and questioning if I am making the best of what I currently have.  I always use the factory settings and recommended tension.  I have never bothered to make up a sampler with different tensions for different fabrics.  I probably should do that.  In the meantime I have been noticing that there is a bit of loose thread at the edge of my seams when serging thin slinky knits as shown in the top example on the left.  I just narrowed my stitch width by one notch and got a better finish right away as you can see on the dotted fabric.  This is what I should be doing more of instead of drooling over new machines!



Mave said...

Love the top. It will also look good the jeans and a navy ponte cardigan for the Fall.

Jacqui said...

Oh I love that idea! You are right - my wardrobe definitely needs a navy ponte cardigan. And I think I have just the right piece of ponte in my stash :)