Tag Archives: tops

How to finish a knit neckline: A quick tutorial

Now, probably have been finishing knit necklines like this forever – in this case, simply chuckle sagely.
But if, like me, you’ve always been struggling a little with how to make a knit neckline look good, may be this is of interest for you.

  1. Start off with a 4cm/ 1 3/4 in strip of self fabric. I mostly cut along the grain, but you can cut perpendicular to the grain too. In a knit it is not necessary (and in fact more difficult) to cut a bias strip.
    Here, I need to finish only the back neck, so I don’t need to sew the strip into a circle. But of course, if you want to finish the neckline all the way round, sew the strip together along the short sides and then press.

 

2. Sew the strip to the neckline, lining of the edge of the foot with both strip and neckline.
I use my serger, which results in the flattest finish, but  sewing with a stretch stitch on the sewing machine works too.

3. What you see is what you get. You can see that the strip is a little shorter than the neckline, thus resulting in little puckers. They will disappear later.

4. Fold the strip over to the right side and press. Only just cover the seam allowance with the pressed side.

5. Sew the strip into place on the right side. I use my coverstich with either a single or double line of stitching, depending on how conspicuous I want the finish to be.
You can also use a double needle or a zigzag (you probably want to experiment a little bit what size of zigzag looks best.)

6. Done!

You get a nice clean finish on the outside and on the inside with no seam allowances showing.
The puckers from step 3 will be absorbed by the ease of the knit once you wear the garment (unless you made the strip a whole lot shorter, then it doesn’t work. Your pattern will tell you what length strip to cut).

Here, you can see the finished neckline on my Hila top. I’ve used this method for loads of knit tops and it has always worked a treat.

I hope this is useful for you. If you don’t use this method, how do you finish a knit neckline?

The Hila and Teresa Tops #sewdowndewsbury

I’ve already written about how much I enjoyed #sewdowndewsbury and spending time with Ali of Thimberlina. Another thing I was particulary looking forward to was meeting Hila and Teresa, who I’d already felt a connection with via their blogs  and 2015’s antics of Jumping Into June.

Turns out that they are just as fantastic in person as they are on their blogs – and maybe on some cosmic level there is a connection between me and them, because we bought the same fabric in Fabworks. If that isn’t proof that we met in some earlier life or something then I don’t know what is!!

So I decided to call my makes after them – so may I introduce the Hila and Teresa tops.

First up the Hila.

This cowl neck top, one of the many Burda permutations is one of my favourite patterns. So far I had only made longsleeve or sleeveless versions of it, but a picture on Lucie‘s blog convinced me that actually it looks really smashing with short sleeves.

One thing I changed from the Burda pattern is the size of the cowl. I made it a little bit less pronounced by pinching out a little from the pattern and also by making the shoulder seem come closer to the neck. In that way the cowl doesn’t open quite as far as normal and bra-revealing accidents are a thing of the past.

See:

There’s your evidence. Yep, I follow the scientific method on this blog!

Next up is the Teresa blouse:

Fashioned from spotty cotton lawn/batiste (which unfortunately creases like a thing possessed, so much so that I’m inclined to group it with “creases are fashionable” linen).

I used the Barbara pattern from Maison Victor 3/4 2017

As you can see, the patter is acutally for a dress, so I just lenghtened the bodice and eyeballed a few changes to make it look right.

Do you know Maison Victor, by the way?

It’s the younger hipster’s answer to sewing magazines. I’m neither young nor a hipster, but ever since I cancelled my Burda subscription I feel I have leave to buy loads of other magazines. It has some nice boy’s and men’s patterns that come in slim sizes (those hipsters don’t seem to be very hungry…) so that’s good for my boys.

Back to the Teresa:

I love the scoop neckline – I know that choking high necklines are all the rage, but all the do for me is give me a rage (plus they look ridiculous on me, my head seems to be twice the size when I wear a very high neckline), so I was pleased about this variation. The blouse has a gathered back bodice and a yoke with I lined in a remnant because I was worried the dots of the fashion fabric might show through to the front.
I think the rick rack makes this – just breaks up the fabric enought to add a little bit of interest.

The blouse was a big hit with my students today (“Oh Miss, you look very pretty today” “Hush, don’t tell her that, tell her she looks pretty all the time” “But she looks particularly pretty today” – sometimes you just gotta love teaching 🙂 ), so I am pleased to have scored in a young person’s world. Maybe there’s a hipster in me yet?

So, Hila and Teresa: it was lovely to meet you in Dewsbury and I’ll think of you every time I wear these tops!

 

Burdastyle Wide Leg Trousers: Feel Free to Laugh Out Loud

Actually, the trousers are fine – no need to laugh at the trousers (though if you feel you want to laugh at them, go right ahead, I won’t be offended).

But I had to laugh at myself and my embarrassing attempts at posing. You see, I while back I promised I was going to get the lack-of-photography situation on this blog under control. To this avail I bought a new camera – nothing fancy, still a point and shoot, the Sony Cybershot RX100 III. But it can be remotely activated via the mobile, so I am able do do my own photoshoots and don’t have to rely on my long suffering husband who enjoys photoshoots as much as I do a visit to the dental hygienist.

But boy, this posing lark is a learning curve!! I’m fully accepting of the fact that I won’t look any prettier on photos than in real life – but I would be really pleased if I didn’t look a whole lot worse. So I read up on “how to shoot good blog pictures”.

All the technical side is still a bit above my head, so I decided I might have to work with what I’ve got.

Making long lines is what I’ve read one should make – judge for yourself in the picture at the top.

 

Or may be “creating angles” is where it’s at?

 

or alternatively no nonsense what you see is what you get?

I’m really working this, girlfriend, don’t you think?

On a slightly more serious side note, can you see how my cowl doesn’t gape?! More about the Hila top in another post!

I even arranged a photo”studio” in a corner of my sewing room: (and oh my god, I just discovered how to do these fancy circles!!!)

And on a by-note, may I introduce this top from Fashion Style 5/2015 which I suppose is not going to make it onto a separate blog entry. Win some, loose some, ey?

 

So there, you may stop laughing now!

How do you cope with posing? Is is something you enjoy? Find as awkward as I do? Do you have any tips? Mind you, beginner’s tips will suffice…

 

Merken

Knit Fever!

I don’t know what it is, but after a hiatus of a few years when I did very little knitting I really enjoy it right now. So much so that I even stopped making UFOs – instead I made two projects from start to finish since the beginning of December without any procrastination at any stage.

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Exhibit 1 is this cardigan.

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The pattern is Vitamin K by Heidi Kirrmeier. It’s a top-down cardigan with waterfall front and without closure. I apologize that I can’t show you any better pictures, but this is the second attempt of photographing this cardi and it was ever so cold (plus I was prancing about outside the restaurant where my dinner was waiting for me which didn’t exactly increase my posing motivation).

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The waterfall is created via increases at the front so that it forms a triangle that flows down in rather a pleasing fashion when you don’t keep hold of it 😉 . This picture is from my first attempt (sub-zero temperatures, both outside and for the motivation of my photographer).

Underneath you can see a dress to blog – but I just can’t bring myself to step outside in it again while it is quite so cold, so this might have to wait for another couple of months.

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I loved knitting this! You start at the neck and work your way down. The eyelets serve as increases which help you get the width you need for the waterfall. The sleeves are knit straight after the shoulder section (I knit them flat because I hate knitting in the round with small circumferences, but I’m sure it would be perfectly possible if you are a fan). After the sleeeves the body is finished in one piece – which means that when you are done knitting there is hardly any seaming to do (only the sleeve seams) and tadaa- you are done! Perfect!

While we’re at it, let me show you my most regularly worn garment of 2016:

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Yep, it’s this simple boring white T-shirt.img_5873

It’s a slight hack of one of the Burda patterns, I don’t even remember which one. While there is nothing special to it, it seems to have hit a nerve because whenever I put it in the wash I miss it immediately.

By the way: The jeans are RTW – shock horror! I’m kinda over skinnies at the moment and while I haven’t found the perfect non-skinny pattern I’m stuck with RTW… But hope is in sight, the latest Fashion Style (which I bought yesterday) has a boyfriend jeans pattern, so I ordered fabric and will try the pattern asap. Marianne of Foxgloves and Thimbles did a really interesting review of this edition if you want to know more. I bought it for the boyfriend jeans which are unusual in as much as the front pocket extends towards the back in one pattern piece, thus forming the yoke. I’ll report more once I know how it has gone. There also is one more pattern that struck my attention: a shirt-bodysuit. It’s a straightforward fitted shirt with a bodysuit attached so that your shirt will never ever untuck itself. I’m not sure I’m going to sew this because I wear shirts quite rarely, but I still like the idea of having this pattern in my stash, so Fashion Style/Knipmode 2/2017 get a definite thumbs-up from me.

Otherwise I haven’t been sewing that much recently. It might be because my sewing room is quite cold, it may be because I’m really waiting for spring now, but the temperatures are far too cold to even contemplate wearing spring clothes just yet, or maybe it’s just that I enjoy knitting more. Hopefully my sewing mojo will pick up again soon – and if it doesn’t the Dewsbury sewing meetup will surely give me new motivation. Can’t wait to get there!

Burdastyle 2/2016 #102: Three out of Four Ain’t Bad

As you know I haven’t had a lot of sewing time recently. So I thought I should make the most of what little time I have by making repeats:

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This is my version of Burdastyle 2/2016 #102, which looks quite different in the magazine – I made quite a few changes:

  • I used a rayon knit rather than a woven
  • rotated out the bust dart on the navy and light peach version
  • made the top longer over all and added a high-low hem (imitaging the knit version Burda have in the magazine)

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I also changed the back. The original has a pleat coming off the back neckline, but I thought trying to anchor a pleat to the neckline of quite a thin knit would be asking for trouble, so I cut a back yoke and changed the pleat into gathers.

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On version 1 I didn’t get the hight of the yoke quite right, so I made it a bit higher on version 2 or 3

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Now you might wonder why I make those changes and didn’t start off from one of the many many similar patterns that Burda have put out recently that already have all these features.

Well, I originally wanted to make the pattern as is, in a woven, wide sleeves, slit at the front neckline.

And I did – and I didn’t like the result very much:

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I used a panel print that I  really liked as a fabric (love the colours!!). But wearing it I just feel very frumpy.

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I also don’t like the wide sleeves on me.

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Let’s not even talk about the strange thing that is happening at the neckline – I think I’m going to call this a fail and won’t even bother about trying to rescue the fabric.

Lesson learned: Just because I like the fabric, I won’t like wearing it.

Lessons to be learned: How do I know IF I will like wearing a fabric from looking at it flat?

If only I had the answer to that question that would save me a lot of money in the fabric shop…

P.S. All ended well – I made a dress from this pattern too and that really works!

 

Burdastyle 10/2014 #113: The Copying a Statement-Vest

Dear Reader,
read this first!

Ok, you are back? Good! Now, what you must know before reading this post is that I have an almost embarrassing girl crush on all things Gray-All-Day. I just love every single garment that Helena makes, I love the way she wears them, I love the way she writes about them. So it was only a logical step to copying her garments:

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I hasten to add that I had wanted to make something drapey from this wool twill for a while and had narrowed down my choice to this pattern (Burdastyle 10/2014 #113) and one other one already. But when I saw Helena’s version and when she confirmed that it would equally well in a woven than in a knit (as specified in the pattern) the decision was made.

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When I wore the vest for the first time I felt really strange as I don’t normally go for floaty clothes. Don’t get me wrong, I love the look of them, but I don’t seem to be able to carry them off – or even keep them on. Anything that’s not firmly anchored to my body seems to fall off in the course of a day. You would be surprised at the number of times one of my students shows up at the staff room, bearing a crumpled piece of clothing, saying (cue eye roll): ” You forgot your cardigan – AGAIN”.

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So I was unsure about the vest at first – but actually looking at the pictures I love the way it drapes and floats and sways. So I guess I will just have to learn to wear it!

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Well, no, this isn’t it, Chris!!!

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Did you notice the cross-over-feet-position? I gather this is what you do in fashion pictures, because it makes you lower legs look half their size. Well there, I’m trying to up my modelling game 🙂

(Sorry, I had to laugh out loud even as I was typing this!)

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Sewing this was really easy: There are just two pattern pieces, the collar is cut onto the front. I used French seams everywhere apart from the seam that attaches the collar to the body, I didn’t manage the the 3D- thinking that would have been necessary to make this a French seam, so I covered the normal seam in bias tape. Unlike Helena’s vest the edges aren’t sandwiched between bias tape, instead I folded the bias tape over and stitched it down. Cutting the bias tape from very, very slipperly rayon lining  was the only thing that took a long time, but if you use ready-made bias this is a very simple project indeed.

And guess what I found, this time AFTER I had made the vest, because I’m not a totally creepy sewing stalker: Look at this project from Lilysageandco: Debbie only also made a cream wool drapey cardigan! Can you believe I can be mentioned in the same breath as Helena and Debbie??!! I realise all this is a bit like when three friends wear the same clothes and there is always one that distinctly looks less cool in them – but still I am very happy and totally content indeed to be the hanger-on in this one!

I think I just got fashion cudos by association (aka FCA, which is very much a thing just as TFAD is, as you will find out in this post 😉 )

What are your favourite sewing-related acronyms?

 

Fashion Style/Knipmode 9/2015: Raglan Bluse x 2

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I was going to write a big long post about this! After all I made two blouses, starting off from the same pattern but taking out a LOT of width from model 2. But then life happened and so there’ll only be a few pictures.

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This is blouse no 1, from a very thin rayon (that started to pill even after the first wear at the area where I wore a belt to hold in the width of the blouse. SO annoying!)

IMG_2661As you can see it is really quite wide! I cut a size 40, same size I would usually cut in Burda, but I need to get used to the fact that Knipmode cut their patterns more generously. I was inbetween a size 38 and size 40 on their chart, but I think I could have safely gone down to a 38 or even 36.

The original pattern has a straight hem, but I put on a high-low hem. Not completely sure about it, maybe I’ll cut it off. On the other hand, I doubt this fabric will make many washes, so I might as well not bother.

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I also lowered the neckline considerably. I do appreciate that high necklines are much more en vogue at the moment, but they make my neck look huge.

IMG_2652And this is version 2 in an “all my favourite colours in the world” rayon. I’m trying the front-tuck here, which I understand is a thing. Not sure if I have quite mastered it just yet 😉

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Full tuck here so you can see that I took out about 12cm of width all round compared to no 1.

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Still roomy enought, don’t you think?

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Constructing the lower collar in a much less drapey solid  stash fabric was a bit of a white knuckle ride. The collar was meant to be cut on the bias, but as the solid was strictly no drape I decided to cut it on grain but to amend the pattern piece by making it curve to lie flat.

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Well, that kinda worked… It took a lot of steam and a liberal dose of post-watershed language to make it lie as flat as it does.

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All in all, those bloused are fine, but I haven’t really fallen for them. Or maybe it’s me in them. But especially the ivory one has been worn a few times already – it’s great as a layer that goes with everything and is not as same same as my usual knit tops.

The jeans in those photos are my latest iteration of Burdastyle 3/14 #115, which I did again here and here and there are a few unblogged versions. I think I got the front crotch area as right as I can:

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The back still needs a little bit of work, but I didn’t quite get there through all my different versions. So rather than flog a dead horse I bought the Ginger pattern by Closet Case – all blogged version look just amazing, so I’ve overcome my PDF fear and hope to be able to report great things asap.

In the meantime, however, I have embarked on a selfless-sewing project of an epic scale. After making a shirt and then another shirt for Child 2 I have now succumbed to his calls for a suit. So I made a boys suit (finished apart from the button holes). And a suit needs shirts to go with it, doesn’t it?! So I made not one, not two but, three shirts. And now I need to make a matching shirt for Child 3, ’cause otherwise that would be unfair. It’s as well that Child 1 is staying abroad this year – helps me to prevent sewing overload.

Three of those shirts are basically finished – apart from  (Guess what?! – Yes, you guessed it!) the buttonholes. So one of these day, before Christmas, I will need to make about 50 button holes and attach the corresponding buttons. Why, oh why, do I decide to go overboard like this???? I don’t think this is the first time I quote my dad on this blog: “Chris never knows when to stop!”

Photos of the finished project will be up hopefully after Christmas.

Oh and then I bought supplies to make another coat, the long lusted after Burdastyle 12/2012 #104. I have fallen for his coat when it first came out but never had the confidence to try it. But if I can make a suit and shirts sweat shop style surely I can make a coat like this?! Please say yes…

LOTILDA

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