Tuesday, July 23, 2013

lazy susan in knit sew along - day 2

sew along objective (yeah, i just did that...i promise i wont bust out an outline): to take your bodice from the lazy susan pattern and learn how to construct it out of knit fabric for a more versatile pattern.

day 2 - flutter trim bodice & drop waist: cutting and bodice construction for knit bodice that is not lined but has "flutter" trim along neck and arms. perfect for thicker knits. and just so stinking cute!

welcome back! i hope you have been having a great time so far! i have really had fun dressing up these lazy susans. i love when you can take one pattern and give it twists so that you end up with a few versatile looks! talk about bang for your buck! i know you girls work hard for your money and i want to get you the most for it! if you are just now joining us, check out this blog to learn about the sew along, and then check out day 1 to see what we are up to.

alright - BEFORE you go cutting. listen to this very important piece of information. these sew alongs work just like my patterns. please read through to the end of the post before you do anything. i promise it will help things to go smoother and make more sense!

now on to some business. just like with the lined bodice we did yesterday, you want to SIZE DOWN. so, grab your pattern pieces and trace off the FRONT bodice piece from the size below what your little one would usually wear. since we are not lining this bodice, we are going to be using the same piece for both the front and the back - so no need for another pattern piece. easy, right? you will be cutting 2 on the fold from the front bodice of the original pattern.

now, if you do not want to drop the waist...carry on below 2 photos. BUT if you do want to drop the waist (i am currently obsessed with drop waists), listen up. :) to figure out how much to drop the bodice, measure your kiddo from the underarm to the top of where you want the waist to be. my model is in the bed getting her "booty seep" (hehe that is what she used to call it) so let me show you on my dress form. as you can tell, i am still learning on how to draw with a mouse.
my measurement was 6.75" roundabouts (this doesn't have to be rocket science). so what you want to do is to measure from the bottom of the underarm curve on the pattern piece down and extend the original bottom of the bodice until you reach your measurement. for instance, with my measurement being 6.75", the bodice already extended 3.25" from the underarm, so i just needed to add an additional 3.5". hope that makes sense. as i said, it really isn't rocket science and i will totally admit that i did another one and i just eyeballed it. :)
now, place your pattern piece on the fabric, pin in place and cut 2 on the fold. remember, just like yesterday, you want the stretch of your fabric running perpendicular to the fold.

once cut, place your bodice pieces right sides together matching up the shoulders and pin ONE shoulder together and sew (3/8" seam allowance). repeat after me, only sew one shoulder. :) also, just a quick reminder - if you are not using a serger, don't forget you need to use your stretch stitch!!
now, take it over to the iron and press out that shoulder seam. then, take your bodice to a flat surface and lay it out so that the neck opening is extended. you want to measure the neck opening as shown below. again, this isn't rocket science and you don't have to be exact, but you certainly want to be in the ballpark.
see, my measurement comes to about 14". this number is going to tell us how to cut the strip to use as the flutter that will also finish off our neck and arms. :) generally the rule of thumb with ruffles/gathers is that you want to go 1.5 to 2 times the amount of the area to be gathered. i like to err on the side of having plenty, so i just go ahead and go with the most generous measurement. so, i am going to double my 14" and cut a strip that is 28" long.

NOW, to give you some options...you can do this flutter trim one of two ways, you can either have a double row of flutters as shown here:
or a single row.
i did both, duh. and i will tell you as nice as the double looks, i actually prefer the single. the double, i fear is going to be too heavy and will pull that neck over time, which makes me sad since i love the dress. it also created a crazy wonky situation in the underarms that i had to jerry-rig so that it was halfway presentable. so, i would say just play around with your knit and try to determine which one you like best. 

so, to pull out our math skills again, if you are doing a double row of flutters, cut your strip:

(length of neck opening * 1.5 or 2) by 1.5" and iron it in half lengthwise

if you are doing a single row of flutters, cut your strip:

(length of neck opening * 1.5 or 2) by 0.75" no ironing needed
now, you may think that 0.75" doesn't seem wide enough, but trust me, it is! i actually cut it 1" the first time and ended up ripping the seams out as the extra fabric created too much weight and weighed down the neck. not cool!

okay...off to gather that strip.

if you have a double flutter - run a gathering stitch along the FOLDED edge of your strip. i know this goes against all of the woven sewing you have done, but you WANT that raw edge to show. thankfully knit doesn't fray and instead will give you a really great textured, fluttered look with the raw edges.

if you have a single flutter - run a gathering stitch along one of the edges. now, i will tell you my little secret, with just one layer - i find it MUCH easier to gather with an elastic bobbin here. that way i don't have to rip out my gathering stitch later and well, let's just face it...it is quicker. if you are not familiar with this technique - do a quick google search. that is how i learned as well, there are some awesome tutorials and you tube videos out there! and if you sew with knit often, you will find yourself gathering with an elastic bobbin often. it is a lifesaver with knits!
 see how pretty and gathered it comes out?
now, if you have gathered with an elastic thread, head over to your iron and hover it and steam the snot out of it and watch it shrink. i swanny, this never gets old for me! it amazes me each and every time. PS - i adore how my iron created a fishbowl effect of my sewing room in the background. i cannot hardly believe it is actually clean too!
steam magic aside, if gathering the old fashioned way, run your gathers (while trying to not lose your mind as the strip wants to coil this way and that) along the strip until you end up around your measurement for the neck opening, or until your desired level of gathers. some people like a ton of gathers, and some don't. honestly, it is up to you. i told you this isn't rocket science but you do want to have enough of the strip to cover your neck opening and you want your gathers consistent.

now, lay your bodice on a flat surface, and place your gathered strip right sides together with the bodice with the gathered edge flush along the opening of the neck as shown below. pin in place. as you can see, i have some fabric strip left over. this is totally fine since i am happy with the amounts of gathers that i have. :)
take this over to your machine, and stitch it down to your bodice neck opening with a 3/8" seam allowance. now, if you didn't use elastic thread - once you have your strip sewn down, you want to make sure to remove your gathering stitch. if not, you will not have the full amount of stretch your knit will allow since that gathering stitch will hold you back and the neck is one place you NEED that for going over the head. :) i know it seems like a silly step, but i always, always, always remove my gathering stitch, even with wovens. once you start, you cannot stop. and since there are methods to my madness, i always gather in a completely different color than what i sew in so that it is easy to differentiate which one to remove.

take the bodice over to the iron and press that flutter trim out. take your time here since this is a detail that you want to look a million bucks!
 just a side note, but my sewing room smells like heaven right now. my friend phoebe got me hooked on these candles from anthropologie (these are all i can afford in that store) and i have yet to meet one that i didn't want to eat. yummy smelling candle in my sewing room make me happy. this is one of the few things i will treat myself to! ps - look at my sweet brown dog as a puppy on his first swim. man i miss that doggie!
once you have your trim pressed, take to a flat surface and with right sides together match up the shoulders of the side that you haven't sewn together, making sure to match up your flutter trim as well. pin in place and sew with 3/8" seam allowance.
 press that seam and now we are going to turn our attention to the armholes. we are going to do the trim on these EXACTLY as we did the neckline. so, start first by measuring and then go to cutting your strips, gathering and attaching. i feel silly repeating all the steps since we just did them, so i wont. ;)

NOTE: if you want to add flutter sleeves in addition to the flutter trim, attach your flutter sleeves to the bodice as you would in the pattern BEFORE you add the flutter trim. That is a whole lot of fluttering going on and Capt. Jack Sparrow isn't even in the room. Oh be still my pirate-loving heart.
 once you have sewn the flutter trims on both armholes and ironed out the seams, match up the armholes right sides together, taking care to match your trim as well (shown below), pin in place and sew down your side seam with 3/8" seam allowance.
guess what ladies...it is about "pat yourself on the back" time. :) 

now for all of you top-stitchers let's get to work on that neckline and those armholes. remember, when you top-stitch on knit, make sure to lengthen your stitch length (i use 4.0 or 4.5) and stretch your fabric as you sew. this ensures that the stitches will stretch some with the knit while going over the head and over arms instead of popping. while top-stitching isn't for everyone, i recommend it for this type of flutter trim, and more for a functional than fashionable. it helps to secure that flutter trim in place so that it doesn't want to roll out. remember, take your time! you want this looking amazing!! photo props to my husband since i have yet to grown that other arm. this is how i stretch as i top-stitch.
and on that note girls...we have completed day 2 of the sew along. i cannot wait to see photos and don't forget to get your "booty seep" and come back tomorrow to learn about attaching skirts to our awesome knit bodices!! remember to post all photos/questions/concerns/tips to the brownie-goose lovers page on facebook!

PS - if you don't already have some of this in your sewing arsenal, you may want to grab some. i find it EXTREMELY beneficial in the sewing room with knits. especially when it comes to attaching skirts and things of that sort. :)


Anonymous said...

Im a new new new sewer, and this is really helpful!! Now to find the actual pattern!
Oh and how much should you stretch the knits as you sew? Like hard stretch or lightly?

Courtney @ Sweeter Than Cupcakes said...

I've been sewing with knits for a while now, but I am loving your tips and tricks included in your sew along. Using the elastic thread is a great idea!! Thank you for sharing!