A few weeks ago, Trudy awarded me with the Kreativ Blogger award! Thank you so much, and I apologize for not getting to this sooner.
I think this award should go to all of you who do blog - you give me inspiration when I'm working on long term projects so that when I'm done I look forward to sewing "normal" clothes. Consider yourselves nominated and congratulations!
The last piece for my daughter for the moment (until next week when I have to make a black skirt for Jr. High Choir performances, which I found out about yesterday!) is a cardi-wrap, a popular piece among sewing fashionistas recently. This piece was off my list for a while since I couldn't find the right fabric. Well, I finally found a blue knit that was thin enough with the right drape for the piece at Jo-ann's last Saturday in the clearance section. If you detect faint stripes, you've got a good eye, because this fabric has stripes, some being a little more sheer than others.
I bought the pattern, Simplicity 2603, to go along with the fabric rather than using the Burda mag pattern which is similar but not as well reviewed. The other advantage is that this pattern has an XXS, which according to the pattern envelope measurements will fit her.
The pattern itself is not hard to make, with only four pieces or three if you don't make the sleeve cuff. Ann recently reviewed the sleeveless top (which I'm thinking of making for next summer) from the same pattern, and noted that there were a few things she did differently from the pattern, especially when it came to the collar construction. She also made a tutorial for applying the collar band in an easier and more professional manner. I have the same viewpoint regarding the cardi-wrap construction, especially the sleeves.
Once the shoulder/neck seam is sewn, the instructions have you sewing the side seams and then setting in the sleeves. I never do this with knits. I always sew the shoulder seams, attach the sleeves and then sew one long seam from the hem of the sleeve all the way down to the hem of the body. This is also the way the Jalie patterns insert the sleeves. Setting in sleeves properly takes practice and patience in wovens, let alone in knits!
The other change I made was to use a multi-step zig-zag stitch to stitch the elastic to the back neck. This is a little technique I borrowed from lingerie making.
Other than those two things, I followed the instructions as written and turned out a cute, yet trendy piece. She's happy, I'm happy and tomorrow I'm going to start working on a Patrones skirt for me!
Since this is a knits post, I'm also adding a few tips for working with knits as requested by Trudy. [Trudy, this must be your lucky day - 2 items in one post!] Carolyn has an excellent post in her New Sewists Thursdays series, with tips regarding knits. I won't rehash those tips, except for #3, which I feel is extremely important. I will add a few things here that I've found helpful when working with knits.
1. Use the correct needle in your machine. This may take some trial and error before getting it just right. I tried many needles before calling my sewing machine dealer who told me to use serger needles in my regular machine. I haven't had a problem with knits since.
2. Closely related to #1, always make a test sample with all the machines you intend to use with your fabric. You'll probably have some scraps leftover from cutting out the fabric, so use those. In some cases, this might only be a serger, in others it might be a serger, regular machine and a coverstitch. Every knit is different and you'll want to check for tension and if you need to use the differential feed on the serger.
3. When cutting, a rotary cutter and mat are useful especially with slippery knits. Precise cutting makes for precise pieces, which makes for better construction and fit. If you're not that good cutting curves with a rotary cutter, no problem: scissors always work, too!
4. When cutting out a knit, make sure it does not hand off the table. This stretches out the knit and in the end, your pieces may end up smaller than you actually want. You may have to cut out a small section at a time and leave the rest folded (or waded up) on the table.
5. For hems, I almost always use narrow strips of interfacing along the edge. This really helps to tame most knits so that they can be stitched nicely. I cut widths of the interfacing with the rotary cutter, and keep them in a ziplock bag, ready for whenever I'm hemming knits.
Hope that helps!
Parting Shot: More Wellie Antics. Out of all the cats we've owned, this one is the most inquisitive. I was cleaning the bathroom and left the linen closet door open. When I turned around to put away the cleaning supplies, you-know-who was in the closet already!