June is upon us and what better excuse than this months stashbusting knit theme is there to break into some of the pretties I’ve been aquirring this year? (OK, this is a lie, I’m not sewing really sewing to the theme, it’s just the theme has rolled around to what I want to sew!).
I decided to use some lovely stuff that I acquired from Kitschy Coo to revisit the Coco Top from Tilly and the Buttons. I made this pattern twice last year and I was so pleased with myself! But the ponte fabric that I used quickly pilled and now that my sewing has advanced a little I notice that the fit isn’t the best on them, plus I’m not convinced by the turtle neck on me. However, they still get worn a lot (especially the colour blocked one) due to a lack of long sleeved tops in my drawers (and specifically non stripey ones).
This time I remeasured and cut a size smaller (6 not 7) but I did a Full Bust Adjustment. For some reason when I went to cut it the front piece was not playing fair at having the pattern lining up. Four or five attempts later and I called it a day – it’s pretty straight. Also, the piece of fabric was no where near as big as it was in my mind and I only just squeezed it on and the back and the front don’t have the same colour flowers along the bottom (but considering some of the badly matched patterns I now find myself noticing in RTW clothes I don’t think anyone will notice). Anyway, my plans for using the leftovers to make a skort (skirt with combined shorts underneath) for the girl will have to go out the window. There is a smallish piece left though, so watch this space….
I decided that I wanted to up my finishing on the neckline, as Tilly’s instructions are basically turn and stitch (with the aid of hem tape). I can live with unfinished seams on knit tops, but I wanted a neater neckline. Luckily the stashbusting facebook page came to my rescue yet again and I used Heather’s tutorial to cut a facing for the neckline. However, I don’t have a coverstitch machine, so I sewed it to the t shirt with a stretch stitch, then understitched it before flipping it under. Then I folded the raw edge under and twin stitched it from the front. I decided to narrow the seam allowance when sewing my facing on as at a trial try on I was finding the neckline quite wide and I didn’t want to increase it by 5/8″ (I still used 5/8″ at the shoulder seams so that my facing was the same size as my t shirt!). This was fine, except in a couple of places you can now see the stay stitching I’d done at 3/8″ right at the beginning before I’d decided on this course of action. Oh well, the colour match on the thread is good so it doesn’t show too much. (And the reason there’s no photo of the facing is not due to embarassment, rather ineptitude on my part (i.e. I forgot to take one, sorry)).
I used Pandora’s tips for threading my twin needle (and I discovered that my machine had a thread holder bar above the needle along the way, suppose I should be using that all the time, whoops) – I’d already worked out for myself to increase the stitch length to 3. Still not sure if I’m using the best way to turn corners, like on the side splits here. The best way I’ve found is to treat the needles like a single needle, leave them down as if it was a single needle, raise the foot and pivot. It’s not perfect but it’s the best I’ve come up with.
I decided to try Jessica’s tissue paper trick on the hem. As I suspected although a lot of it pulled away, there was quite a bit of tissue paper left behind. I couldn’t be bothered pulling it out, so I left it there and I’m hoping the rest comes out in the wash.
It didn’t seem to make much difference so I did one hem with tissue and one without, for a comparison. I suspect it makes more of a difference on a thiner knit, this Kitschy Coo stuff is really thick and lovely. Also, it would be easier to remove the tissue paper afterwards if you weren’t using a twin needle.
I’m glad I did a FBA, I think the fit is a lot better. Next time I will alter the neckline too. It is a little wide and low for my taste, as it shows any t shirt I’m wearing underneath (and I want this top as an item to layer to help me with dressing in our variable climate) which restricts what I can wear it with. Plus it seems to be gaping a bit at the front of the neckline, despite stay stitching it. Maybe its something to do with how I did the facing? Also, it’s been suggested I try a slopey shoulder adjustment and it’s probably about time I worked out how to do a sway back adjustment too.
Overall, this top is definitely a winner (even if my mum thinks it’s garish, but as she said, it’s not her that’s wearing it). I think of it as my new “seasalt top” as I have a few tops from there that I love but don’t want to buy anymore as they are nearly all stripey (I love stripes but a girl can have enough) and the new ones have low scoop necklines that I don’t want. The fabric is at least as thick and lovely as the sea salt ones and I’m hoping it wears as well too.
Oh this sewing malarky is good when it works. Being able to make the tops you wish your favourite shops made and add a bit to the length while you’re at it, bliss! Anyone else out there improving on the brands they love?