Tip for Working with Tricky Knit Fabrics, and Simplicity 8265 Skirt

Hey there! Did I tell you I can’t drive? Double vision will do that. It is slowly getting better and I expect I’ll be back on the Boston roads terrorizing other drivers soon enough. But for now that leaves me in the house most days, which means I have time on my hands and no place to go, so I’m just a sewing ‘machine’ recently. That’s a good thing – my energy is up, my sewing mojo is up, and my blogging/teaching mojo is up. So today’s lesson is about…

Working with tricksy knits!

Have you ever run into a fabric that you absolutely adore, but like an operatic diva is impossible to work with? Not that I would know about that sort of thing personally. 🙄😆

Well, I have. The fabric for my Simplicity 8265, that luscious, beefy rayon double knit, LOVES my serger, but hates my sewing machine. Actually it hates both of my sewing machines (my trusty Pfaff and my Skippy-the-Emergency-Backup-Bernina). It makes them skip stitches like crazy, which they don’t normally do. Let me show you what I mean. I ran a line of stitches on my Pfaff. Settings for all the samples you will see in this post are straight stitch, 3mm long, Schmetz Jersey/Ballpoint needle size 80/12. Now mind you, this is the needle that gives the best result in my machines, and I tried all of them, but there are still problems. Here you can see the result:

I used white thread in the needle so you can see it clearly

In cases like this I’ve found, through experimentation and comparing results with folks who know more than me (yes – there are one or two…) that there is an easy, inexpensive and consistent answer – pattern paper!

A strip of excess paper from your pattern can work wonders…

Just put it under your stitching line, between the fabric and the feed dogs, run your stitches, and to quote BravoTV, “watch what happens!”

On the right is the first stitching line. On the left is the stitching line sewn over the pattern paper

Nice results, wouldn’t you say? Here’s the back side of the stitching

All you need to do is tear the paper away and ta daa!

Pattern Review-ish of Simplicity 8265 View B Skirt

This doesn’t really warrant a full review because I used the same fabric, machines and settings as my review of the Duster from This Same Pattern. But I’ll note a couple of things. First, this pattern is really easy! I started cutting it out at 2 and I was finished by 5, and that was with some time off to give my back a break (can I tell you how much I hate being afflicted with Miller-Fisher?). I made a size 12.

Second, it is very well drafted and goes together beautifully. I pegged it a bit, though the photos look a little like it flares out at the bottom. Not sure why. I haven’t tried it on to check it. I’ll do that later. The front is flat, the back has two small darts. Here are pictures:

Front
Back. The darts are kind of hard to see

Third it takes little fabric, so it’s a great way to use up extra (like mine). Here’s a side view

I used my new coverstitch machine to hem it

I LOVE this machine, and the man who gave it to me – after I showed him where to buy it. Still, love him!

So, another garment complete! I know it is simple, but it’s progress, and I’m so happy to be sewing again!!!

Does Happy Sewing sound redundant? Because I am!

Battle of the Seams – Sleeve Edition!

(In my best WWF announcer voice)

That’s rrrrright, ladies and gentlemen! Tonight’s matchup is a battle for dominance of the sleeve seam! Will champion ready-to-wear method Flat Set come out on top, or will challenger In The Round win the big one? Staaaaay tuned and find out!

And now a message from our sponsor –

Kidding!

My Review of Simplicity 8265 (and my grousing about the order of sleeve construction) elicited much commentary, both in favor of flat-set sleeve construction and of in-the-round construction. Well, I’m perfectly happy to be converted, so I decided to try it out myself!

Here are the ground rules I followed. I made a very simple mockup of a tee shirt using 4-way stretch knit in nude from Gorgeous Fabrics (I was originally going to do a full garment with some fabric I picked up from the red tag section at JoAnn, but it was so crappy I couldn’t deal and put it in the recycle bin). I used my Juki 4-thread MO-654DE serger on all seams, using a ¼ inch seam allowance. I pressed all seams flat and then towards the sleeve, and I was agnostic about each side – I didn’t try to make any side look better or worse. I used the same temperature, pressure, and steam on both sides. So here are the results:

First up, let’s look at the basic construction. The flat-set sleeve is sewn into the armscye before sewing the side seam/underarm seam.

This is looking at the flat-set sleeve in progress.

Now here is the in-the-round sleeve. The side and underarm seams are both sewn before inserting the sleeve into the resulting armhole.

Ready to sew the sleeve into the armhole

Here’s the front view of the finished mockup.

Honestly, can you see a difference? I can’t

After sewing the side/arm continuous seam, here’s a picture of the flat-set sleeve on Shelley.

Flat set sleeve: the top does not fit Shelley, so ignore any bustline wrinkles

The other side is the in-the-round construction

In-the-round

One Big Gotcha (for me, not you):

After reviewing these two pictures, I ran upstairs to check the right-side/wrong-side. I had used a symmetrical sleeve pattern, and guess what, they are opposite on each sleeve. In other words, one sleeve has the right side of the fabric facing out, the other has the right side facing in. It’s a stupid mistake that I shouldn’t have made, but in my defense, this is one of those knits that is the same on both sides and I promised this post yesterday so I was rushing – sorry. So if the draping of the sleeve at the shoulder looks reversed, that’s why. In point of fact, the drape is exactly the same, just inside-out.

Here are views of the seams from the inside.

Flat-set sleeve from the inside – notice it looks exactly like the in-the round from the outside.
Same sleeve looking at the underarm seam (nice matching, if I do say so!)
In-the-round view of the inside
And the underarm seam. Not quite as perfect, sorry…

Here are back views of each side on Shelley.

Flat-set sleeve from the back
In-the-round back

Conclusions:

So, is flat-set better, or is in-the-round construction better? My opinion, for what it’s worth, is there isn’t a significant difference when you are working with a jersey or lightweight knit fabric. I’m not sure there’s a difference when working with a mid-weight knit like a double knit. But I think there may be a difference with a heavy knit fabric, and I definitely use in-the-round construction on most wovens. But hey – try it for yourself and see which you prefer. After all – a big part of sewing is deciding which methods work best for each of us!

And in Non-Sewing News…

I went to the neurologist yesterday, and I got some good news! I still have double vision, but I am cleared to start working and, even better, working out again. I also put on full makeup today for the first time since I got sick. Yah!!!!

Every little bit helps! #smallvictories

Happy sewing!

In the Words of Marge Simpson, “Hmmmmmmm…”

Image from Simpsoncrazy.com

Folks, it has come to my attention lately that there’s a lot of tailored sewing going on in blogland. That’s great! I’m so happy to see tailoring, and see people stretching their sewing wings.

But here’s where I need to call everyone’s attention to something.

Padstitching.

I love padstitching. I find it to be quite soothing. Padstitching your garment gives it shape and support that, while never actually seen, is a crucial part of a well-made tailored garment.

But here’s the rub. The point of padstitching is to give shape to part of a garment. Take a look:

My fingers are under the fabric, giving it shape.

What you can’t see from this picture is that my fingers are under the lapel, gently curving it over as I padstitch. This gives it a three-dimensional curve that will lay beautifully against the body.

Note the twill tape (pre-shrunk) sewn invisibly along the roll-line. Key darlings, key.

The lapel rolls over in a languorous, soft curve, not a flat-against-the-body flap.

Padstitching on a flat surface defeats the purpose. I mean, if you are going to flat-padstitch, save yourself some time and just fuse your interfacing. It will give you the same results. Please know that I’m saying all this with love, not to be a scold. It’s just that padstitching on a flat surface really doesn’t add anything to your garment in terms of shape or turn of your cloth.

There are some wonderful tutorials for doing padstitching on the internet. In my never-terribly-humble opinion, one of the best out there is Paco Peralta’s Tutorial. Clear, with fantastic photographs. An excellent resource.

I hope that helps a bit. I’m also hoping that this weekend I’ll finally be able to spend some well-deserved time on my (padstitched) Marfy coat.

Happy sewing!

When Single Layer Layout Pays Big Dividends

Recently I saw a discussion online – I think it was at Stitchers Guild, though I’m not positive – about  grainlines on pants. It came back to mind today when I was preparing to cut out a pair of shorts from some denim in my stash. The poster was complaining that she made (I think) a pair of jeans, or maybe denim trousers, but when she put them on, they got all twisty around her legs. That’s happened to me in the past, and here’s a technique to help you avoid that: Single layer cutting layout.

I know, I can hear the whining starting up already like lawnmowers on summer mornings, but hear me out. There are times when it is worth it to slow down and take a little longer to prep and cut. This is one of those times when the payoff is well worth the extra effort. I’ll show you what I mean. Here’s the denim I’m using for my shorts. It’s a very high quality denim from one of the premium mills. You can find this denim in jeans sold at Nordstrom and Neimans, among other places.
Denim Fabric

Now, most of the time, we all want to fold our fabric in half, cut and go. In fact, for anyone who follows pattern instructions, that’s what they tell you to do, right? Well let me show you what happens when I fold my fabric in half, lining up my selvages:
Twisty Fold

Keep in mind, this is first quality denim, not seconds. It’s not off-grain. But here’s the trick. This denim (like most) is a twill weave. That means it is woven on a diagonal, which will cause the grain to shift gradually. You can see it clearly on the back of the fabric:
Diagonal Twill Weave

If you follow the standard pattern layouts, disaster may ensue as the grain shifts with the twill weave. So what is a sewing enthusiast to do? Well, lay out each piece separately, using the grainline of the fabric as your guide. I fold my pattern piece along the pattern grain line and align that with the grain on the fabric, which you can see here is pretty easy to spot on the right side.
Align Pattern with Fabric Grainline
Just lay your pattern pieces out and cut them one at a time.

First Lay Out One Side
First lay them out on one side…
Then Flip the Pattern and Lay Out the Other Side
Then flip the pattern pieces and lay them out on the other side.

Ta daaa! Your pattern pieces will be on grain, no twisting. Does it take a little while longer? Yes. Does it work with pants as well as shorts? Yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely. Taking that little bit of extra time will give you much better results. And face it, wouldn’t you rather take a little extra time than end up with a wadder? I know I would.

Happy sewing!

The Advantage of Single Layer Layout, and Pattern Review – StyleArc Samantha Top


Today was one of those days where there was nothing much to do, waiting for other things to happen, if you get my meaning. So I took advantage of the free time to sew myself another StyleArc pattern. This time it was the Samantha top. I’ve had it in my stash for quite some time. I even started making it several months back, but I realized after cutting out the front and back, that I didn’t have enough fabric for the sleeves. Today, that wasn’t a problem. So I made it up, using the striped jersey from which I made my Laura Knit Cardi. Working with the stripes, I did something that is second nature to me, but I don’t think I’ve really shared on my blog: the single layer layout.

It’s exactly what it sounds like. Rather than folding your fabric in half and laying your pattern piece on the doubled layer, you lay it out one piece at a time.

Single Layer = Control

This gives you the ultimate control over the layout of your pattern, and it is critical when working with stripes (as I did here), plaids, or panel prints. Yes, it takes a little longer, but the results are worth every second.

Beautifully mirrored sleeves patterns, thanks to single-layer layout.

 

Oh, and the other thing about single-layer layout? It saves fabric – big time. In many cases, I have been able to shave a yard off the recommended fabric allowances by the Big 4.

If you have a pattern piece that is meant to be cut on the fold, so you only have a half-piece, what I do is fold a piece of tracing paper and cut the pattern out along the fold, giving me a full piece. I then use that to cut my fabric. The good news is that in all the StyleArc patterns that I have used – and this is standard in all the industrial patterns that I have sewn for designers when I made samples – they give you full pattern pieces for each garment, so you don’t need to futz around with that. And as far as the pattern itself…

Pattern Description: From the website, “Good basic raglan sleeve knit top featuring boat shaped neck”. My additions: close-fitted top with wide neckline, long sleeves and neckline binding.

Sizing: 6-18. I made a 10

Fabric Used: Storied Stripe Rayon Jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics.

Needle/Notions Used: Stretch 70/10 needle, polyester cone thread.

Tips Used during Construction: Press that Bad Mamma Jamma!

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes

How were the instructions? I didn’t use them. This top is beautifully drafted, and it sews up without a hitch.

Construction Notes: I raised the neckline one inch. It’s pretty open at the neck – enough to not be bra-friendly. Even with the addition, it’s still pretty open, as you can see below. That’s not a criticism – just an observation. I adjusted the neckline binding by taking off 2 inches at the CB seam.

Likes/Dislikes: Love this top!

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Yes, and yes.

Conclusion: A great basic. Here are some pictures on Shelley.

On its own…
Twin Set!

Happy sewing!

No-Bubble Interfacing Application

The blouse is close to finished. I have to go out and get some buttons for it. Strange – I have no buttons that go with an orange striped fabric. Go figure….


Occasionally I’ll get a question about applying fusible interfacing. One thing that drives me crazy is interfacing that has bubbled. This happens thanks to poor application methods. And it isn’t only limited to home-sewn garments. I once paid a fair amount of money for a Liz Claiborne blouse, and after about 4 wearings/washings, the interfacing bubbled like overheated pudding. I was not a happy camper, and to this day I won’t buy Claiborne because of that.


The good news is (for us sewing mavens anyway) that good, bubble-resistant application of interfacing is easy, and doesn’t take too much time. Let me show you how I do it.


Choose the Right Interfacing
There’s job one. I only use woven or tricot fusible interfacings. Never in a million years will you find me putting a non-woven interfacing in a garment (handbags are another matter – but we’re not talking about them here). I also only use interfacings that have the glue evenly dispersed on the surface. I want a nice, even glue application. I avoid the types of interfacings where you can see little dots of glue all over them.
(Shameless plug alert!) Personally, I get all my interfacings from Pam at Fashion Sewing Supply. NAYY – I just like it best of all the interfacings I have used. Palmer-Pletsch also makes good quality interfacing.


Would You Like that Gespritz?
Lay your interfacing -glue side down, of course – on the wrong side of your fabric. Using a spray mister (you can buy them at beauty supply stores, most CVS’s and garden shops) spray the interfacing until it’s good and damp, but not soaking wet.

Like the Blue Nails?

Press Cloth is Key
Lay a sheer press cloth over your interfacing/fabric. I use silk organza. It’s strong, it resists high heat, and it allows you to see what you are doing. It also acts as a bit of an insulator so you can up the temperature on your iron a bit. I set my iron on the highest setting for most interfacings. If I’m using a low-temperature fusible, I set my iron to the wool setting.

The other reason to use a press cloth is to protect your iron. If you (ahem) ever have been in the situation where you are fusing before you’ve had your morning coffee (ahem), then you might mistakenly place the interfacing glue-side up. Using the press cloth saves you the hassle and expletives involved in cleaning interfacing glue off your iron.

Baby You Can Do It/Take Your Time/Do It Right
Place your iron over the press cloth and hold it there for between 15 and 20 seconds without moving it. That’s important – if you move your iron around, you run the risk of smooshing your interfacing. Pick your iron up, position it onto another section, and hold it for 15-20 seconds. Repeat until all interfaced areas are fused.

Let the interfaced piece cool completely before removing the press cloth and taking it off the ironing board.

I’ve used this method for interfacing for years, and I never have problems with bubbling. Hopefully it will help you.

Happy sewing!

Believe It or Not…

… I really do practice what I preach.

Yesterday Sewing Diva Phyllis came up to the studio and we worked on projects. She worked on test samples for her Chado Ralph Rucci dress. It is going to be gorgeous! I made a muslin of the Burda dress. Phyllis helped me fit it. Before I made the muslin, I did an FBA on the pattern itself, since I knew already that I would need it. I put it on and Phyllis pinned it for me. I’m really falling more and more in love with Burda patterns, both the BWOF and the printed ones. They do some very nice RTW and designer inspired touches that the Big 4 don’t even try. And they fit me pretty well right out of the chute. This dress needed a couple of small adjustments, and Phyllis pinned them in for me.

One side note here. When I try on a muslin, I like to try it on and adjust it with the seam allowances on the outside. That makes it easier to pin exactly the way you want it to be shaped, and increases your accuracy. And since it’s a muslin (not wearable 🙂 ), no one will care if your seams are exposed. You can see here where Phyllis pinned the bodice for me to eliminate excess fabric above the bust:
I used a marker to rough in the new seamlines. Later I trued up the lines with a French curve.

The second thing she did was adjust very slightly in the back. I don’t have a swayback, but she pinned just a little out of the Center-Back-to-Side-Back seams, tapering out to nothing at the other seams. This makes it fall perfectly over my, um, posterior.
Once the muslin was adjusted, I carefully took it apart at the seams and pressed it flat. The bonus, and yet another reason I love muslins, is because when you take them apart, lo and behold, you get a full-body pattern. You can just lay it out on your fabric and start cutting. No need to pick up a piece, flip it over and cut. It also allows you to cut your fashion fabric in a single layer. This enables you to save on fabric over a double thickness pattern layout, and it makes it easy to ensure your fabric and pattern piece are on grain. Check it out – no guesswork, and very little hassle.
Some folks may be wondering why I’m going on and on about the wonderfulness of muslins. Because I really think they are great, that’s why! After I did my post on (un)Wearable Muslins, a friend pointed out to me that there was a discussion about them, which got rather heated on both sides, on a public forum. Muslins must have been in the air for the past week. I really believe in them. They give great results. Do you need to do a muslin for every single garment? Hell no! But for the ones you care about, or for something you hope to have for a long time, a muslin is worth every bit of effort you put into it.

Okay, soapbox (actually, I’m trying to make it more of a sales pitch than a soapbox) aside. Now I can get to work on sewing my dress. Hopefully I’ll have some good progress over the next day or so.

Oh and on a very happy note, DH started his new job today!!!

Happy sewing!

On the Sewing Table – HotPatterns Homage Tote

Next on the table is the HP Homage tote.

I’ve actually started making two versions. One from a very kewl ponyskin in my stash. Alas, I discovered that the leather I was going to use for the reverse side is black, but the dark color of the ponyskin is really dark brown. So I’m putting that on hold until next week when I will get another hide of the pony from Leather Suede Skins. In the meantime, I am making it out of some black leather that I have in my stash, and a small piece of zebra printed leather that I bought at Leather Suede Skins when I was there with Phyllis something like 4 years ago.

A couple of notes about this pattern and the bag. It’s ginormous! Seriously, you can fit a week’s worth of groceries in this puppy and go camping. I actually really like it. But if you’re not as amazonian as I am, you might want to think about scaling it down just a bit before cutting it out. I don’t have the dimensions in front of me. Oh wait – yes I do. The bag is 20 inches wide by 21 inches high – without the straps, and it’s a rather slouchy design. When picking out a fabric for this, if you don’t make it in leather, I recommend using something with good body to it.
Someone recently told me that she loves it when I get on my soapbox. Well, make some popcorn and gird your loins folks, because I’m about to start knocking heads! I’m not naming any names, and if you think I’m talking about you, you’re wrong, but I have to vent for a moment. I read an article about sewing leather recently. I was absolutely appalled at the advice they gave about how to work with leather. I know a little bit about working with leather. I designed and manufactured handbags, and I have been sewing with leather for longer than I’m going to admit here. So it was with horror that I read advice on working with leather that was not only just plain wrong, but would give disastrous results if you followed it! So as I work on this bag, I’ll take you through the steps I use. These are not the only ways to get good results, but they work well.

Sharpies Work Great for Marking
Mark darts, tucks, pleats, and anything else on the back of your skin with a Sharpie marker. The exception is on the thinnest of skins, and sometimes even on those, they work like a charm. If you are working with a black hide, I like to use a white wax marker. But I’ve also used silver colored Sharpies.

Never, Ever, Ever Pin Leather
Hard and fast rule. Common pins, safety pins, T-pins – keep them away from your skins! Look – leather is expensive. Even cheap leather is expensive. Pins will do three things – 1) distort your leather before you sew it, 2) leave holes behind, and 3) weaken the hide. Oh wait: four things: waste your money. Save the pins for fabric projects.

Use Small Binder Clips
Also called butterfly clips, these are available at any office supply store. I use the smallest size.

Regular Thread Is Just Fine Unless You’re Working With Heavy Skins
I learned this by doing it. You can use a regular polyester thread with just as good results for a lot less money. When I first started manufacturing handbags, I specified to my contract sewing company that I wanted them to use heavy duty thread. The head of production called me up the next day and said, “Ann, you can do that, but it won’t do anything but increase your costs. Why do you think you need it?”

“Well, it’s a handbag. Don’t we want super strong thread?”

“Sure, if you want lower margins with no real benefit. I’ve made tens of thousands of bags with standard poly thread and I haven’t had a failure yet. If it’s luggage, that’s another story. When you start designing luggage, we’ll talk.”

You know what? I never had a failure at the seams with any of my bags. Save your pennies and just use regular thread. Even on leather.

Use the Smallest Sized Leather Needle You Can Get Away With
Leather needles don’t come in small sizes. I think the smallest I’ve seen is a 90/14. They may make smaller ones. The needle leaves holes in your skin, so I like to minimize the size of those holes. On lightweight skins, like lambskin or lamb suede, you can even sometimes get away with a regular needle or (my preference) a titanium needle in a 70/10. Test on a scrap to make sure you don’t get any skipped stitches.

Use a Teflon Foot and Straight Stitch Plate
The teflon foot glides over leather. You can also find feet that have rollers on them. In a pinch you can put scotch tape on the bottom of your regular presser foot. Any of these will ease your sewing. I also use a straight stitch plate, especially with lambskin or lamb suede. While most leather won’t get caught in the throat plate, it provides extra insurance, and that’s never a bad thing.

Use a Longer Stitch Length
When sewing with leather, I use a stitch length of 3.5mm. For topstitching, I use a stitch length of 4mm.

Smash it With a Hammer!
10 points to anyone who can tell me what movie I took that quote from. Seriously, Since you don’t press leather seams open, the best way to open out your seams is to gently tap them with a hammer. I use a regular hammer. Well, actually it’s a tool that does everything that DH bought and gave to me when I was putting all the Ikea stuff together. It works great. But you can use a specialized rubber mallet, or even a flat-sided kitchen hammer. I’ve had good results with all of them.

Topstitch Seams
Rather than gluing my seams open (which is a good option in many cases), you can also use topstitching on either side of a major seam to make sure your seam allowances lay flat. I did this with the pieced front and back of my bag. It works best on flat seams, and it adds a nice touch. It doesn’t add any strength to the seam. It’s more for aesthetic purposes.

Okay that’s enough for tonight. I hope to finish the bag tomorrow. I was going great guns, then I got tired and screwed up on the zipped pocket in the lining. So I took a break. But I’ll be back at it shortly and I will have lots more advice to dispense then.

Happy sewing!

Pattern Review – HotPatterns Fit to be Tied Blouse

Pattern Description: (from the HotPatterns website) “You’re going to adore this stunningly stylish Shirt, designed for classic shirting fabrics like crisp linen, cotton poplin, lawn or silk twill, but just as glorious in crisp taffeta, single-ply Thai silk, silk dupioni or chambray denim.
Fitted Shirt has a shaped hem, slightly cut-in armholes, shoulder yoke, front button band and shirt collar with stand. Shirt back is pleated onto the yoke, and features shoulder princess seams. Shirt front is gathered onto the button band and has an optional tie. Long sleeves have an inverted pleat at the sleeve head, finishing with French cuffs-perfect for cufflinks!
How many ways to wear this fabulous shirt ? Team it with a sober Jacket and Pants or Skirt for a beautiful office look; wear it with your favorite evening Pants; or try it to dress up some artfully distressed vintage jeans”

Sizing: 6 to 26. I made a 10

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes

How were the instructions? So-so. This is billed as a pattern for intermdiate-level sewers, and that’s absolutely right. This is a great looking shirt, and if you know how to do shirt construction, you won’t have any problems. But if you are a relative newbie or less experienced sewer, you will definitely want to have a reference on shirt construction nearby.

Fabric Used: Tessuti Stretch Cotton Shirting in Brown:

Any changes? Not in the styling of the blouse, but I did construct it differently from the way they recommend. For one thing, Rather than leave the front button bands open at the bottom and then hemming them as you do the rest of the shirt hem, I sewed across the bottom of the band at the hemline, like you do with a facing, before sewing the band to the shirt fronts. I think it gives a cleaner look.

Likes/Dislikes: Love the style. I really love the raglan sleeves. They make for a very interesting design focal point. I also love the fact that, between the collar, the button band and the cuffs there are loads of opportunities to play with grain. We all know how much I love that!

One thing to note, and this isn’t a dislike, is that the instructions assume you already have a lot of construction knowledge. So they tell you to apply the cuffs and the collar, but they don’t take you step by step through the process, and the illustrations are more like schematics for some of the steps. It’s not insurmountable, and in fact, as I commented on Kathleen Fasanella’s site, I would rather have a chic pattern with no instructions than a dowdy one with flawless instructions. If you keep a good sewing reference nearby, you will do just fine. I recommend Shirtmaking by David Page Coffin. Another fabulous reference is Pam’s blog, Off the Cuff Style.

Construction Notes: There are a few things here that may help you. Since the gathering is the most prominent design feature of this pattern, I wasn’t going to fool around. I ran a double row of hand-basting stitches (each stitch was about 3/8 inch).
The instructions tell you to pull the basting stitches up so the notches on the front match up to those on the button band. If it makes it easier for you, the notches are 2 1/2 inches apart, so you can use a ruler to measure it.

The hand basting gives you control over the exact placement of the gathers, making for a better result. That’s really critical in this design, so I think it’s worth the extra five minutes total that it adds to your sewing time. Like I say, you’re worth it, don’t you think?

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? I would definitely sew it again. This would be a real stunner in a 4 ply silk. I recommend it with the caveats above. You either need to know what you are doing or have a good reference nearby.

Conclusion: I really love this shirt. It’s a very cool look and on, it makes the girls look perky and the waist look tiny. There’s two great selling points right there! Here’s a picture on the dress form. It looks better on me. Also, I haven’t yet found the perfect buttons for it, but I will, and it will be fabulous!

Happy sewing!

Binding the Edges of Knits

Melinda asked about how I finished the edges of the Jalie Criss Cross Top. I made a binding from a Solid Rayon Jersey in Beaujolais Wine. I did a write-up on how to make this kind of edging on BeSewStylish.com on April 4th. The nice thing is you don’t need a binder to do it and get good results. Taunton press will eventually be moving that post to the Sewing Section of CraftStylish, but it isn’t there yet.

I’ll post about my new toy later today.
Happy sewing!