Friday, 3 February 2012

Close But No Cigar...


[Inside-out on the hanger]
Darts sewn, collar drafted and made, sleeves cut - so nearly there!

Pah! I don't smoke anyway!!

Well I had hoped to get my Scout Woven Tee finished in time so I can wear it with pride tomorrow at the The Brighton De-Stash Meet-Up!. I've been working on it every night after work this week.

However, "best laid plans" 'n' all that happened. I spent 2 hours earlier this week re-threading the overlocker several times over with the navy thread (I now no longer need to follow the diagrams in the manual to do this - perhaps it's a hidden bonus LOL?!).

Loose stitches from my overlocker - boo!
No matter how carefully I tweaked the tensions the needle threads always seemed to produce a weak seam - although when I used the different coloured threads (blue, green, red and yellow) on the exact same original settings that worked so well in my little sample-swatches I got what I considered a perfect result (for me anyway!). I need to spend more time with my books to investigate the problem. At one point I had the tension dials on both needles full dialled up to the max and it made not one jot of difference to the seam finish *sighs*. (Hmmmm... it's my birthday next month maybe I need a new machine - nope, best try a bit more before I give up the ghost on this one!).

In the end I got it slightly better and went with that to finish the seams - basically I straight stitched them first, and used the overlocker to neaten the inside edges. I'm not confident enough yet to use the overlocker straight-off to sew a garment together without using my "normal" Novum sewing machine to do the initial construction first off. Because I knew that the seams actual strength came from the original straight stitching, I was happy to know it wouldn't fall apart on me when I eventually get to wear it (which might of happened had I constructed it solely on the overlocker). I even used up 2 sets of full bobbins worth of thread just fiddling around with fabric scraps trying to get the overlocker to cooperate with me - running out on a bobbin half way when stitching is no fun - and requires re-threading (yuk!). However, I did remember to watch the bobbins the next time one got very light on thread - and I got to try out the re-threading method where you tie the new thread onto the end of the old one and that worked fab (so another small victory in the face of adversity haha).

I am however, super pleased with the Peter Pan collar I drafted myself - from the course notes I took from my Pattern Cutting course I attended last Autumn '11 with the London College of Fashion! (You can see it on the table in the top photo.) I made separate top and under collar pattern pieces, I shortened the leaf edge at the shoulder seam overlap etc. etc. and I even interfaced it with calico - as a sewn in interfacing. The outer edge (leaf) of the top collar pressed and rolled under beautifully, so you don't see the seam or stitches along that edge - I was soooo chuffed :). 

However, somehow the seam line of the neck edge on the collar piece is nearly 2" longer than the seam line on the neckline of the top - huh!?*! I used my special Japanese measuring tool to check the length on the sewn fabric pieces. No wonder when I went to pin the collar onto the neckline I had a tonne of ease I could distribute smoothly - poo! :(

I think I can save it though! Because I used a 1.5cm (5/8") seam allowance when I drafted my collar pieces - it gives me room to play. Whereas on the pattern for the top they have a 6mm (¼") - because they don't expect you to add a collar but instead you're instructed to bind the inside with a strip of bias cut fashion fabric. Therefore, if (without cutting the collar fabric down) I reduce/or shift the seam allowance towards the fabric edge - thereby halving the existing allowance I should reduce the length of the resulting curve and therefore reduce the excess ease - and make my life much easier when I come to stitch it in.  Also - note to self, next time make the neckline seam allowance on bodice front and back pieces 1.5cm too - to make matching it to the collar easier, then trim back after facing or binding has been stitched on.

P.S. If you're coming to Brighton tomorrow yippee!  Zoe and I can't wait to enjoy the swapping-sewy fun with you guys!!


  1. OOo, sewing! :D

    What a pain with your overlocker. I finally realized that my little 3-thread one is really only for seam-finishing, which is fine, but I definitely have a few pieces with seams like that... not ideal. I think four-threads are supposed to be able to do better, but I've also been told that five-threads are the best for doing seam & overlocking together. /confused.

    Also a pain with the collar---but I'm glad you'll be able to fudge around it. I've heard it recommended to use .5 cm seam allowances on collars/necklines anyway, because the cutting and stitching is more accurate...

    Have a great time in Brighton!

  2. Ooh I can't wait to see this with the addition of the peter pan collar, going to be super cute!!


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