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Friday, January 01, 2016

Happy New Year!

I've got a couple of new tops to show you for the new year!  They're actually made from the same pattern, but it's not the Wiksten Tank this time!  I know, you're in shock!  I found another pattern!  Feel free to take a moment and catch your breath.
This is the Bethioua Raglan Top.  When I saw the pattern, it looked like the kind of thing I tend to wear, and it didn't look too difficult either.  I haven't sewn knits in at least 20 years that I can think of, so I didn't want to get too crazy right out of the gate.  This is a bamboo rayon and Lycra jersey knit that Mickael said was as soft as kitten ears.  Yes, it's really super soft, and drapey.  Since it's a knit it's naturally stretchy, but this has Lycra added so it's got some serious bounce.  Like if Tigger, a bunny, and a slinky had a baby and someone gave it an espresso (don't ask me to explain the biology of that, just go with me here).  Since there was no way I'd be able to cut it with scissors without it bouncing right off the pattern lines, I just cut it with my rotary cutter like I do the Wiksten Tanks and pajama pants, and pretty much everything else I sew.  I use some weights on the pattern and just carefully freehand the cutting.  I'm much more accurate on the rotary cutter than I am with scissors anyway.
The pattern worked up quickly.  I used my serger for 99% of the sewing and it was just so very well behaved!  Once you've had a serger that's demon possessed, getting one that works properly is constantly amazing.  I might have given it a hug at one point.  There are shoulder darts to help with fitting, which was interesting.  You don't often see darts in knits, particularly casual knits, but the finished shirts do sit well on my shoulders, so I guess they're doing what they should do.
The front of the shirt looks like a standard raglan, but the sleeves continue across the back to make a yoke.  This looks really cute if you do some color blocking, but I just went with one color fabric per shirt this time around.
My second shirt is a cotton interlock print and was much easier to work with.  I didn't time myself the first time through, but I was able to do all the sewing on this one in 45 minutes except for the hem.  I also got it from Fabric.com, but they're sold out of it now.  It's a Valori Wells print and they might have it in different colors.
Here's a close up of the print.  It's very soft, but not as silky as the gray fabric.  The cotton also has more body and less drape.  Even though I made both shirts from the same pattern, in the same size, The difference in fabrics affects how they hang.  The cotton print one kind of looks more "sweatshirty" than the gray one.  The gray one, since it drapes more, skims over the body closer and looks dressier.

The only thing I did with my regular sewing machine was the hems.  I used a double needle and it looks almost as good as a hem on a coverstitch machine.  (If you're wearing a t-shirt right now, take a look at the hem.  On the front are two paralell lines of straight stitching, and the back looks like a serger stitch.  This is what a coverstitch machine does.)  I'm going to be keeping track of my knit sewing this year.  I wear more knits than wovens, so I really should sew more knits than I do.  If I can get comfortable with sewing knits, then a coverstitch machine would be a good investment.  If I find I don't really enjoy sewing knits, then I can just serge the edge, turn it up, and hem it with the double needle.

Happy New Year and have a great weekend!



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