Originally published July 13, 2011
.I wimped. Know those 1/8″ french seams I tested? Seams in 3 different fabrics? 1/8″ tiny seams, sewn, washed and dried? Once I added the poly/cotton under layer I decided the serger would do fine. I really do like my serger and prefer to use it when possible. I’m perplexed sometimes at the disdain that others express towards sergers. When I started sewing, we used a old, I think model 66, Singer with only a forward and backward, variable length stitch. My mom thought this was wonderfully, high tech. After all, she started sewing with hand needles, graduated to a single stitch, single length, forward only machine. Err,,, that’s as she told the story. I’m sure she wanted to impress upon us how neat this machine was and like many didn’t always object to making a good story even better. She passed 12 years ago, so let’s not split hairs about her description, eh? Anyway, I felt like I grew up using a primitive machine. My mom bought a fancy Kenmore zig-zag machine from Sears when I was in High School. I think it was her way of encouraging my sewing interest. But my point is, we didn’t finish seam. Heck we wore clothes out before the seams shredded. Mind you, we didn’t sew on fancy silks or rayons. It was 100% cotton and wool was a real luxury for coats or highly tailored garment only. I sewed that way for years — without regret. I wasn’t quite sure why someone wanted the inside to look as good as the outside anyway. I bought my first serger in 1989 plus or minus only because it sewed so fasssssssssssssssssssssssssst! Yes sir. That serger could put together a garment in no time. My mother lamented “why didn’t they have these things when I was making my little girls clothes?” She saw the demonstration of ruffling on a serger and dropped her jaw on the spot. Anyway, I love and appreciate my serger for its sewing. The finished seams, decorative possibilities are frosting on the cake. Knowing now that my silk would be supported by both a gauze and the poly/cotton, I didn’t hesitate. I serged the seams. And no, I don’t think it detracts at all.
I did think the sleeve band of silk and cotton gauze was terrible. Really detracted from the over all look. I trimmed the silk/gauze band off and replaced it with just the cotton gauze doubled. After stabilizing the neck line, I did the same finish in that area. Let me pause here. I’m having such a problem stabilizing necklines. It’s odd or maybe not. For years and years, I skipped stay-stitching. Usually I could stitch together a garment with minimal handling and no chance of the curves stretching. But I’m using a much wider range of fabrics and I am handling the cut pieces more. I’ve tried several stabilizing methods. For this garment I put the tissue on the ironing board, arranged the front (and later back) on the tissue so that the neckline was the same as the tissue, then I fused woven bias tape around the neckline. I’m concerned that the bias is an error. I’m afraid that it will allow stretch. But my experience with woven necklines that can’t stretch, is after wearing a few times they are either stretched out of shape or torn. The bias tape is a trial. I hope it works.
I stitched the poly/cotton with the gauze as one (as in underlining) to the sleeve and neckband. But then stitched each fabric to itself at the side seams (as a lining). I rather prefer this, because it allows the gauze to retain it’s floaty, transparency. I have used cotton gauze before. Then I made my first try-on for fit.
I was concerned about several fit issues even though I’ve already fit this pattern. The pattern was drafted for a sleeve. A cap sleeve becomes essentially sleeveless even if there is a little flutter over the shoulder. Pattern companies are always trying to convince us we’re getting our $$$ value out a pattern because it has multi-views and oh how much more value, if the pattern can be worn sleeveless as well as with sleeves? Not much if you care about fit. A sleeved top will fit better, be more comfortable and wear better if the armscye is dropped about an inch and a little more ease is allowed in the area. A sleeveless top however is better when it is high and tight. How can the pattern companies offer both options? They wimp. Either the sleeve will be too tight or the sleeveless to lose and too low. And my B5561? Little too much ease and a little too low. I pinched out just 1/4″ on the side seam but realized if I bound the lower curve of the armscye but allowed the binding to stand tall instead of wrapping to the back side, the armscye would fit fine.
The look in the mirror told me another story. The +4 inches in length that I thought I wanted changed this from a cute, romantic top, to a peasant blouse for the over 60. I shortened it 3″ immediately. Then tested bands for the hem.
I didn’t like it. Not one bit. The contrasting band looked out of place. I didn’t take a picture, but the same fabric band was just at the right place to show how big my b@tt really is. And somehow the romanticism of the blouse was still been totally lost.
Sigh, I hung my blouse and dreams of a romantic little top on Mimie and returned to project #2