This top is all about the fabric! I loved the tie-dye print as soon as I saw it in Spotlight and knew I would buy some, the only question was – which colour?
Right now I’m still kicking myself over the blue and white one which would be perfect for a summer tee, but hey it was winter at the time, so I opted for this steel blue/charcoal colourway instead.
The pattern is straight off my knit block (that is the same block that my Galaxy Tee pattern is based on), although I elongated the sleeve because I like my sleeves ‘too long’.
I would tighten the neckband if I was to make it again as this fabric tends to stretch with wear. It is one of those lightweight viscose jerseys with minimal recovery, you know, that fabric when you push up the sleeves and they stay stretched out for the rest of the day…
When cutting out I considered, but decided to ignore, any pattern matching whims. I tend to overthink things like this, but this time I went chomp chomp chomp with the shears and here is the result. I am quite liking the swirl over the front chest!
When it came to the hem I had a few problems with the twin needle stitch. This fabric is so light that the twin needle stitch was tunneling and looked awful. I didn’t want to fuse the hem or anything. When I checked my sewing machine manual I discovered Honeycomb stitch: ‘a decorative stitch for stretch fabrics and hems’. Well it worked a treat, and even looks cute too!
Honeycomb stitch does take forever with all the forward and backward stitching though! For those with a Pfaff Passport 3 it is stitch #6, I used a stitch width of 6 and stitch length of 2.5.
For the seams I used a regular zigzag stitch and finished the edges with overlocking. A lot of sewing educators recommend sewing knit seams with a ‘slight zigzag’. I never like the stitch quality using this idea, from the right side it appears gappy and irregular. I like to use a wider zig zag with a shorter stitch length so the appearance on the right side looks like a regular seam. On my machine that is a stitch length of 2 and stitch width of 2. It is also far stretchier and almost impossible to pop!
While on the subject of technical things, let’s talk needles. I started sewing this fabric with a new Schmetz Jersey 70/10 needle, and it did not sew well. I swapped out to the original needles that came with my machine, a well-used Inspira Stretch 75, and: problem solved! This is no criticism of Schmetz needles at all, I have never had any problems with them in the past, I am merely commenting how the needle can be a critical element to success when sewing tricky fabrics. Needles are the problem most of the time and are always the first thing I check when troubleshooting,
Now, I know I have some black merino rib in my fabric collection somewhere. I hope there is enough to whip up another one of these – you can never have too many basics! I’m not sure if I’ll use Honeycomb stitch or the twin needle on the merino rib, so I’ll have to test to see which gives the best results. Have you tried Honeycomb stitch for knit hems? Or do you have another favourite hemming stitch?