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Take it Slow…


Well, I have almost completed, my second attempt at the knit tunic. I hand basted the sleeve and bottom hems, and the neckline. I need to thread the cover stitch machine and I am good to go. I know that many people pin or simply fold the hem, and use the seam guide to sew. Although faster, this has led to good but not great consistent results. I think about the cost of materials, my time, and the fact that I will be wearing this garment for hopefully a long time. I want the hems as straight and neat as I can make them. Also, sewing a pinned garment is tricky, you know either you are going to get stuck, or the needle may make contact with a pin, or both. Hand basting allows you to concentrate on sewing a good seam, without distractions. Be sure to hand baste close but not too close to seam to allow quick removal. I also recommend using a basting thread, which tangles much less than threads used for machine sewing.

For my second project, I drafted a pattern from a ready to wear jumper that I love but that is too large for me. I painstakingly placed the pattern paper over the top of each piece in the jumper, and pressed along the edges. I lifted the pattern paper, trued up the seams, and added the necessary seam allowances. I then compared all adjacent seams to verify they would align during construction. I put on the original garment, and pinned the adjustments needed for a better fit. I made these adjustments to the pattern pieces and verified the adjacent seams were still compatible. I selected a nice corduroy, similar to original garment and cut it out. I contemplated the steps needed to construct this garment. Studying the garment itself, and referring to patterns I had on hand, I formulated a plan. The garment went together fairly well, with only a few detours. As I sewed, I would stop and try it on, to test the fit, and make adjustments if needed. Always be sure to make same adjustments to pattern pieces for future use. This garment included a front zipper, inverted box pleats, pockets, a collar, and a facing. I took it slow, I relied on hand basting to verify the steps prior to machine sewing, eliminating the need to pick stitches as well as making the machine sewing much more manageable. The results were very good. I noted my process, on the pattern pieces. I will definitely be making this garment again, and next time the finished results will be better, but for now I have a very nice jumper, in a fabric and a color of my choice that fits me. Wearing a garment that fits, and is in the color and fabric of your choice is a great feeling, well worth the time to take it slow, and take the extra steps of hand basting and test fitting.


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Baby steps…

Reorganized, or more accurately inventoried my garment material. I then took stock of my patterns. After careful study, I narrowed it down, to a knit pattern with raglan sleeves. I started with my least favorie color and cheapest knit interlock, deep purple. I adjusted the pattern to fit my small busted, but ample bottom pear shape. The sleeves needed the most adjustment, having huge upper arms. I fiddled with it, making adjustments while being careful to maintain the adjoining seams. Proceeded to cut it out using the most fabric. Wasteful. I hate that. I serged the front, back, and arms together. Should have basted, first. Tried it on inside out. Neckline was too wide. I like my necklines tighter, to keep the drafts out in winter. The sleeves were 3 inches too long. There was extra fabric along the seam running from shoulder to arm pit both front and back. Pinned the seams tight enough to remove extra fabric, but still maintaining necessary wear ease. Serged the seam adjustments, trimmed sleeves, added collar. Coverstiched the neck, bottom hem, and sleeve hems. Looking back, I wish I had coverstitched the sleeve seams before installing the collar. The garment would lie better, but overall I have a wearable tunic. The color grew on me too! I transferred my alterations to my pattern pieces, and I am going to make a second tunic. When I am satisfied with the tunic, I will lengthen to a full length knit dress, which was my original goal. Something truly comfortable, that I could layer with jackets, vests, and scarves to dress it up.

After thoughts… Raglan sleeves are easier to install. Using contrast color for sleeves, introduces a set of slimming diagonals to the garment. Top thread should be darker rather than lighter shade of fabric. Top stitch sleeve seams for smoother finished look.