Saturday, June 9, 2018

Sewing Knits: Coverstitching and Some Undies

Hey there! Hope all is well with you and you're enjoying your weekend wherever you are. Last weekend Beej and I did some heavy duty (and much needed) spring cleaning, and Thursday I worked from home, which meant I was able to get my laundry done while working. So with so many chores completed, I'm really excited to have a guilt-free weekend of doing whatever-the-hell-I-feel-like. I've been sewing a lot lately, and when I'm not sewing I've been thinking about sewing. I feel like I've got a pretty good balance going right now of TNTs and challenging projects on my table. I've been muslining pants the past couple of weeks, playing with my new coverstitch machine, and replenishing my undie drawer while simultaneously scrapbusting. It's been a good flow.

I guess I'll start with my new toy: the Janome 900 CPX coverstitch machine. I think the three needle Janome 1000 and 2000 models are more popular because of the additional option to sew three lines of stitching for not that much more money. Makes sense to have options, but since I don't sew high-performance athletic knits, a two needle version is just fine for me. I will probably only use it for hemming knits. I must confess, though, that after seeing so many cool binding tutorials on YouTube I was ready to order the binding attachment. But once I saw the price—upwards of $200 for a metal attachment—I decided to slow my roll and wait and see if it's really something I want.

A coverstitch machine is definitely not a sewing must-have. I just happened to have a bunch of Amazon gift cards and decided to go for it since I sew with knits so much, and hemming is really my least favorite part. I gave up on twin needles a while ago and was using a combination of fusible bias and zig-zag or straight stitch (for loose-fitting knits) to make a satisfactory hem. For the most part, this method worked out well for me, although I felt it looked a little janky on the underside. Also, my knit hems almost always required a light pressing after laundering to smooth out the ripples. Who wants to spend time ironing knits, amiright?

I practiced on a cheap t-shirt knit before breaking out this gorgeous striped bamboo rayon from Blackbird fabrics. I went for my favorite striped knit T-shirt pattern: the free Mandy Boatneck Tee from Tessuti. Here's what the coverstitched neck and hem look like, respectively. 

Overall, not bad! I used my hot hemmer and masking tape to make the hem length more precise, although it does overlap here and there. Better to overlap a little than not catch the edge of the hem, though. Coverstitching feels more like sewing than serging. I'm used to whizzing things through my serger at breakneck speed but found I needed to slow down a bit for sewing on the coverstitch. Also, removing your fabric from the machine after stitching takes some getting used to as it's not very intuitive. 

Aaaand here's one of my super classy toilet pics. I love how this top looks with my new red clogs. 

I ended up downloading a new copy of the Mandy Tee, so I'm adding a few notes here:
  • I lowered the neckline 1.5 inches so it doesn't hit my throat uncomfortably. My guess is this is a large bust issue. The adjustment is perfect and my bra straps don't show. Bonus!
  • I've learned the hard way to only use nice stretchy knits for the Mandy that contain some spandex/lycra. This bamboo rayon from Blackbird is perfect, and the quality is excellent—soft, stretchy, and luxurious with excellent color saturation. 
  • I did not lengthen or shorten at all, and I really like where it hits me.
Since I like this fabric so much, I wanted to be sure to use up the scraps. These are the Acacia undies by Megan Nielsen. Bamboo rayon is really great for underwear since it's so soft and stetchy.

The Acacia undies were released around the holidays as a free pattern. (Yay for free Aussie patterns in this blog post!) Since I seem to be compelled to try every single free undie pattern out there, I, of course, had to make a bunch. They are a little trickier to sew due to the extra curve in the bum (see photo of pattern piece below), but said curved bum is what makes them so incredibly comfortable to wear. They just seem to hold on better if you know what I mean. 

The pattern is not halved to cut on the fold, so I just folded mine. I don't see how it makes much of a difference and I'm more likely to cut it symmetrically on the fold. Size goes up to XL. I made size L and like the fit. I used my favorite Ohhh Lulu techniques for assembling and enclosed the crotch seams.

So this post was a lot longer than I had planned. I've got more makes to share—hopefully soon. Maybe I'll even finally complete some trousers. In the meantime, have yourself an absolutely lovely weekend!

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