chebe: (Sewing Machine)
[personal profile] chebe
Went to Craft Night at tog on Tuesday (15th), and actually had a productive evening! I did have to hog a large table, but other than using the floor there isn't any other way to cut out large pattern pieces. In that sew-along news I have all the underlining pieces cut out! Woo! But. I've decided that the fashion fabric, the second one, the purple crepe, is too shiny for this style of dress. *sigh* So I'm again at a standstill until I can find a fabric I'm happy with.

But that's okay, because in the meantime I've wandered off into a short little project; making a camisole.
I'm following the general instructions provided in "Sewing Lingerie that Fits" by Karen Morris, which amount to directions for drafting a v-neck pattern based on your measurements, and then a bunch of options for making it up. Very general indeed, even missing a couple of steps, but I'm using it as an opportunity to try out techniques I've been meaning to for a while now. When prewashing some fabric recently one of them got spoiled by absorbing too much colour that ran from another fabric. Perfect candidate for making up test garments that are intended as private wear anyway, don't you think? Being a woven the camisole is to be made on the bias, which means flat single-thickness cutting of pieces. You then add elastic to the back, make straps, add a facing, and choose a seam and hem finish.

For the straps I went with self-fabric, an older seamed variety I've seen in a couple of books. For the facing I went with a self-fabric plain bias-strip facing. Then a straight-stitch on the side seams, a turned hem with double-needle. Overall a very simple, clean, straight-forward kind of top.

Delay one: how do I not have any white thread?

Delay two: making my own bias tape following this bias-tape tutorial, turns out one-inch marks are too narrow to make half-inch bias-tape. Tried again, this time with one-and-a-half-inch marks, and they turned out perfectly.

Making bias-strips; on left, 1.5-inch widths that are perfect, on right, 1-inch widths that don't leave enough fabric on the sides to stitch once folded

Made straps, using an old style found on 1940's to 1970's underwear. That's a length of straight-grain cut fabric, three times the width of the strap you want. Luckily my fabric took a crease easily, so I creased it down the middle along the length of the fabric. Then double-fold each side in to meet the crease, and press. Finally, either use a double-needle, or do each side in turn, and straight-stitch each side through the folds, next to the crease. My double-needle left a kind of zig-zag along the back, but the fabric pattern happened to turn out nicer on that side, so I'm using my straps wrong-way-around.

Folded and double-needled straight-grain straps, back and front views

Using a length of clear elastic (90% the length of the back piece) using a turned-edge method, added elastic to the top of the back. First a zig-zag stitch attaching the elastic to the wrong-side of the fabric, then turn the edge inwards, and stitch again. I tried to use a double-needle for the second bit, but it has reduced the amount of stretching the elastic can do. (Which caused problems later.) Also, there's a raw edge left on the inside that I'm not liking. (This woven frays badly. Will need to find a better method.)

Add the bias-tape facing following this plain bias facing tutorial, except my neckline has three sharp points, the two tops and the bottom of the v-neck (point turning tutorial). I was supposed to catch the straps between the front and the facing, and I did, but they were so crooked, that I had to cut them off, and reattach later.

View of v-neck with self-fabric plain bias-strip facing, and double-needle Inside view of self-fabric bias-strip facing, and badly attached strap

Then sew the front to the back, right-sides together, down the side-seams. Finish the seams with my overlocker/serger. Then use the double-needle along the hem. Try on and ... crap. Having over-stretched the back elastic there is now way too fabric under each arm. So, I pinched out the excess and stitched up the new side-seams. Not a pretty solution by any estimation, the front and back pieces are badly offset. But, I remind myself, this is a practice garment from otherwise ruined fabric. Just trim off the extra fabric, fold down the seams as much as possible, and simply don't point it out to anyone! (Of course, if I'd waited a few minutes and asked the crafters yesterday they would have suggested just adding more elastic along the back. *smacks forehead*)

Amount that side seam had to be moved in because elastic was over-stretched Side-seams no longer line up Leaves a noticeable gap between front and back at side-seams Folded over and hand backstitched to try and make comfortable under arms

This has certainly been a learning experience. The bits I thought would be hard (like the self bias strips and sharp corners) worked out fine, and what I assumed would be fine (straps, elastic, side-seams) got all messed up. I feel I'll probably have another go at this top at some point in the future.

But, for now, Ta-da, done!

View of finished top on mannequin from front View of finished top on mannequin from back
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