For the blog post where I look like I know what I'm doing, click on the image below and hop over to the Oliver + S blog.
Or stick around here, to see what I was trying to do, what I discovered I needed to do, what went right and what went really, quite wrong....
So, let's start with the inspiration and what I was trying to do. I attend a weekly French class. Well, it used to be a class until we completed the course, now it's more of a discussion group but we have kept our teacher on a retainer so we don't get too distracted. Anyway, one of the other students subscribes to Point de Vue and often passes on the copies. It's like flipping through a moderately high brow weekly magazine. Lots (make that LOTS) on the various royal families of Europe, but also some real articles on French history and culture and of course a regular fashion spread.
|Point de Vue - Semaine du 23 au 29 Juillet 2014: Page 12|
And so began the search for the fabric.... As you can see I didn't quite get there. I found uneven stripes of almost every colour but red. For the record the St James interlock is the perfect Mariniere fabric, of course unless you want red. Eventually I found this fabric at Stylish Fabric. It's described as a medium weight rayon spandex. I'd say it's more a light weight and wow, is it soft. The kids were so keen to have pyjamas made out of it and kept running off with it and wrapping themselves up
(if only I'd got the pose right, we could've been twins! :) )
While I was hunting for the fabric I was also thinking about how to make the top. What I needed to start with was a drop shouldered T-shirt. I was about to start changing up the front of the Weekend Getaway dress when the Bento Tee pattern was released. Bingo I thought, that's my solution right there.
Mindful of my Oliver + S blogging duty, I thought I'd do a nice tutorial on adding a hem facing to a knit top to achieve a neatly curved hemline. That was my plan.
I made my short sleeve Bento Tees as practice runs then planned the modifications. I wanted a deeper neckline, a slimmer, longer silhouette and the hi-low hem with the steeply curved side split.
Only at the last minute did I realise that the sleeve of the Bento tee has a curve where it joins the body. The short sleeve, striped version seen in the pattern advertising works because the cuff turns up and covers the bit where the stripes would look wonky. A long sleeved version would need the sleeve squared off in order for the stripes to be parallel to the seam across the arm.
And in adjusting the sleeve to get the Stripe Solution I found my blog post after all.
Luckily, 'cause I then went on to completely butcher the original hem facing idea. I painstakingly drafted and cut a hem facing which I intended to sew to the hem, flip to the inside then stitch down. Somehow I lost all my stripe-fu by this stage and even though I'd laboured over the cutting, the hem facing was not going to match. Then it became apparent that nothing was going to "flip to the inside" as sharply as I'd imagined. There was much clipping close to seams and still plenty of puckering.
Eventually, in a salvage attempt, I cut the facing off. But I was then left with very little fabric with which to hem the shirt. I'm usually quite fussy about my knit hems. I overlock the edge, turn it under and then twin needle stitch such that the bobbin zig-zag is on the overlocked edge and it all looks quite professional.
This one doesn't come close and I'll be surprised if it lasts. Here's the barely hemmed underside in all it's ugliness
Oh, and one other blindingly obvious thing: you can't sew tight curves or 90 degree angles with a twin needle. There ain't no lift and pivot when you've got two needles in the fabric. Kind of like how trains can't turn corners. Seems very obvious now, but I needed to go there to realise it. This is what happens when you try to sew a tight curve with a twin needle. Ick.
If only I had sewn the side seam with the sewing machine and finished the seam allowances separately I could have pressed the seam allowance to each side at the split and my hem might have worked. Perhaps I also wouldn't have mucked up that stripe matching seen above.
One part of the original plan which was also quickly modified was the neckline. I'd planned a below the collarbones neckline with a turned under hem and no neckband. But I'd been a bit scissor happy in creating my new neckhole and it would have been enormous! Ok, a neckband was needed.
I don't think there can be a formula for how long to cut a neckband when you've modified the neckhole as it depends so much on the fabric. I cut it the width that suited my stripes and a length that was about an inch shorter than the measured circumference of the neckhole. Then I pinned the neckband loop to the shirt and kept shortening it by inch to half inch increments until I felt like the neckband needed a reasonable stretch to fit the T-shirt.
Then I got lazy and attached it straight up with the overlocker and fluffed the centre back neckline a bit. C'est la vie, huh.
What was successful was my changes to length and width. I lay the Bento Tee pattern piece down, then my pattern tracing interfacing, then the Neptune tee pattern piece on top. I drew a new side seam that was somewhere in between the narrow Neptune and the boxy Bento. I used the Neptune's length with a little more added to the back and free drew my own curved side splits. I wish I'd taken a photo of the unhemmed splits as they looked great. S'funny I can't leave a knit hem unfinished. Even my somewhat mangled hems on this top seem more complete than if I'd done nothing.
I've rather enjoyed writing this one up, warts and all. I know I'm fussy and I'm not fishing for compliments by pointing out my mistakes. Just noticing what I botched and making a mental note to do better next time.