My apologies for the long absence (just in case anyone is reading…) Two of my favorite pet frogs laid eggs together, so I am raising their offspring. They are little froglets now, and very time consuming, but I will try and post more regularly.
Here, I have a finished item for you: my first successful knit!
Pattern: I used New Look 6470, view B, which is a sleeveless, cowl-neck, knit top. I’ve had this pattern for a while, but I chose to do it now because it looked really easy, but still cute. The instructions seemed good; I read over them but did not feel the need to follow them for such a simple top. I wanted something easy because the only sewing on knits I’ve done was a single reconstruction years ago, which turned out rather unwearable (very stretched neckline). This time, I wanted to concentrate on construction.
Fabric: This fabric is a charcoal grey 50 rayon/50 polyester interlock knit which I bought from Fabric.com in 2009. It is amazingly soft and has a beautiful drape, although it does pill slightly. It was $5/yard, and this project used less than 3/4 of a yard, so this was a <$5 project!
Alterations: I made a “sample” or “wearable muslin” of this top in some discolored navy blue polyester stretch velvet I had lying around (don’t put that stuff through the dryer, unless you want those crushed patches to be there forever), to help me figure out what alterations I needed. For this version, I cut a size 10, took a 3/4″ petite tuck above the bust (although 1/2″ probably would’ve been enough), removed 2 1/2″ of length from the hem, added 1″ of extra width (1/2″ at CF and 1/8″ at each side seam), removed 2″ of width at the hips, and did a 3/16″ forward shoulder adjustment. I also lengthened the facing to 2″ plus hem allowance, sewing a little bit of the facing into the armcyle seam. In retrospect, the added width was entirely unnecessary, and actually makes this top less fitted than I would like, especially after it has relaxed from a few hours of wearing. The extra ease also makes the wrinkles at the small of my back much worse; I think a so-called swayback adjustment would be helpful.
Finishing: I do not have a serger; everything was sewn on my vintage zigzag singer. I sewed all seams with a smallish zigzag, and did French seams on the shoulders for extra stability. I’d planned on French seams for the sides as well, but that seemed like it would be too bulky so I just finished them with a wider zigzag. For the back neckline I reinforced with a piece of clear elastic before turning and stitching. (Guess what… I love clear elastic! I really need to buy some now, the piece I used actually came on a cardigan I recently purchased… sort of like a hanging loop, but I didn’t plan on hanging it anyway.) For the other outer edges– armholes and hem– I did a line of zigzag stitching just inside of where I wanted my folded edge to be. This line of stitching made it easy to turn up the seam allowances neatly and accurately, and then I top-stitched them down with yet another zigzag.
Other comments: I spent quite a bit of time and fabric testing various sewing and finishing methods, but I think it was time well-spent. My seams and edges are smooth and nearly unnoticeable from the outside; from the inside they are neat and should be able to withstand the washing machine and dryer. Yay! I think I’ll be sewing a lot more knits in the future.
Another thing that struck me during the construction of this top was how very important that 3/4″ petite above-bust alteration is for me. It’s not the only alteration I need, but it helps more than any other. Just a simple removal of a little bit of length, and suddenly this top fits me better than any other! With my bust and waist positioned properly within the shirt, it does not constantly ride around, requiring adjustment. Since making this top, I’ve realized I have an ingrained habit of tugging my shirt down every time I stand up, move around, etc., because most (non-petite) shirts ride up, forming pools of fabric across my upper chest. With this top, though, that is not necessary!
Conclusion: The fabric is nice, the pattern was easy and the result is flattering… what’s not to love? I like the shape of the top; it’s a great balance of practical (wide, bra-strap-covering shoulders) and sexy (draped cowl neckline). Since it has no sleeves, it will easily fit under a cardigan for fall/spring wearing, as well. I am already planning another one in a lovely wisteria-colored rayon knit.
I actually saw about 4 tops with this style of neckline last week at Target, so it would appear I am right on trend without even trying… hehe