Last month, I asked for heaps of input for the 40’s Charm hack. (Click here to find out more about my free t-shirt pattern and the hacks I’m doing all year.) That was fun, we’ll have to do something more like that later. From the second I pinned her on my Hack Board, I knew I wanted a crack at translating this vaguely Asian-inspired 1950’s dress into a knit turtleneck. Or a sweater. Or a layering piece. I just had to wait for cooler weather.
Cooler weather has arrived in Queensland! I find I need a few long-sleeved tops since most of my clothing suits an “endless summer” climate. In approaching this hack, I decided to make the same top from two very different jerseys. The first one is a layering tee, made from a fluttery, clingy Hemp Rayon. It’s not a blend, but rayon made from hemp. Check it out.I feel a rayon jersey post coming on, there’s so much to say, and only so much room in a single post.
I toyed with a few ideas for how to make the tucks on the neck- darts, pleats, pintucks? Then I remembered a simple embellishment technique- Twin Needle Tucks. Have you ever tried this? These tucks work well on lighter weight fabrics, and lend a little texture to an otherwise flat piece of fabric. They also “take up” very little fabric, so I don’t need to do anything special to the pattern in order to use these tucks. Really, they can go anywhere on a garment.
Before I jumped into embellishing my top, I played with stitch length and tension on a scrap of the fashion fabric- better to work out the kinks now than deal with surprises later. The bottom row of stitching is the regular machine tension- 4. I loosened it right up and stitched another row next to it. Neither were exactly what I was looking for- too flat. When I tightened the tension, I found the delicate ridges I wanted. (Also- a smaller stitch length makes them even more pronounced.)
The difference in tension really shows on the back- when the top threads are tight, the bobbin thread pulls the two lines closer together. Takeaway lesson: tighter tension for ridges, looser tension for a simple double-stitch (often used on hems).
I marked the embellishment lines on my pattern, then the fabric, then held the fabric up to me and decided to play with the spacing of the lines. The new embellishment line are in green. May’s Hack (no clever name yet!) will also have long fitted sleeves and a diamond shaped underarm gusset to reduce bulk for layering (and enhance mobility).
Once I marked the shirt, I stitched along the lines. The center of the line lies between the needles- too easy.
At the neck edge of each twin-needle tuck, I simply tied the threads together to secure them. At the other end, I pulled up the bobbin thread gently- both to increase the “ridged” effect, and to pull the top threads to the back. Then I tied them off securely and trimmed the threads.
Once I finished that, I immediately rinsed out the marker. After my whites disaster, I’m a little jumpy about that kind of thing. It’s still wet, the dry fabric isn’t so transparent. I like this effect- so much so that I kind of want to make more little tucks all around the neckline. And the back neck. Everywhere! I plan to finish the neck edge in my usual way.
But what about the plushy black merino? The hemp jersey is far too slinky to support a collar, but I figure my merino has the body for it. I have had the image of a stand-up collar in my mind for months now, but I find myself distracted by this little beauty:
Hey! Those neck dart things look familiar, this time teamed with a teeny Peter Pan collar. Now I’m torn- Side closing Mandarin with shoulder buttons, or Peter Pan collar? You know I’m susceptible to persuasion…
Personal Stuff: About a month ago, I spilled something on my laptop. And kept typing after wiping it up. BIG MISTAKE. Then I spent a week on tenterhooks- would she or wouldn’t she survive? How many of my files could I salvage? How am I going to work on my Pants Blocks and patterns? It was a disaster. For a few weeks, I used a dinosaur desktop we keep for watching movies (and won’t support my imaging software or scanner). Then my FIL was so consumed with grief over my laptop’s demise he bought himself a new one and passed his old one on to me. Today I had a full work day to actually set up my “digital workspace” once more- files, imaging programs, everything is now on my FIL’s old laptop. It took more time than I thought it would to import all that stuff… I’m really, really grateful. I didn’t want to whine about it much, but not being able to work on patterns was really getting me down. So now I have four patterns that were all ready to go except for the computer work- expect to see some new stuff over the next month!! Thank you, FIL. I’ll shut up about Santa…