Sunday, August 30, 2009

Self Drafted -- Grey Sweatshirt with Holes

In general, I don't care for light grey on me (it can wash me out and emphasize my grey hairs), but this fabric spoke to me.  It is full of lovely distressed "holes" so I bought it and snarfed it away.  (In fact, another 6 yards are slated to be curtains in my teenager's bedroom.  :) )  When I saw a beautiful sage green sweatshirt in a boutique, it gave me ideas.  My top is quite different, but it was inspired by the $180 boutique sweatshirt.

I drafted a very simple pattern.  I started with Marcy Tilton's top (Vogue 8582) because I had just used it and I knew it fit me well.  (I highly recommend this pattern!)  I copied off the neck and shoulder lines and marked the width of the top.  I extended the shoulder line to the length of a long sleeve, measured the finished length I wanted, and connected the lines with a gentle curve.  Voila, a dolman pattern I knew would fit me.

You can see the dolman line here:

Because of a trick I learned years ago, I was able to draft a single pattern piece.  The only difference between the front and back was the neck curve, so I drew both on the pattern, cut the paper pattern on both lines, but didn't completely cut through the front neckline at CF.  I left a little "hinge", reinforced with tape, so I can cut both front and back by moving that little piece up or down on the fabric.

This top features:
  • The Reverse Binding for Single Knits (posted earlier today) at the neckline.
  • A similar technique at CF.  I cut a 1" S/A at CF and sewed the fabric, wrong sides together, letting the fabric curl at CF.  Later I decided 1" was too much and I trimmed it down a bit.  Probably 5/8" S/A is be best.  (This worked because I cut the top with the selvedge along the hem of the top -- 90 degrees off from the usual grainline.  So the knit runs vertically rather than horizontally.)
  • A floating pocket.
  • A back that is a few inches longer than the front.   (Still deciding if I like this.)
Floating pocket:

That's it.  I just love this sweatshirt and plan to make up several more in different fabrics - it's very quick to sew,  comfortable to wear, and flattering on my challenging shape (which I fondly refer to as "potato on toothpicks").  My only challenge came from using raw edge techniques with this particular fabric.  I think this fabric is what we used to call (years ago) a French Terry.  The right side is the usual interlock fabric, but the wrong side is a knit terry with little white loops.  While the raw edge of the grey (interlock) is well behaved, the terry side drops bits of white string and ravels badly.  I tried a couple techniques to tame it (like Fray Check), but in the end, I sewed down my little rolled "tubes."  I suspect that, over time, the terry side would stop dropping lint and behave, but I didn't want to take that chance.

Technique -- Reverse Binding for Single Knits

I will be posting two blog entries today.  This entry illustrates a technique I copied from very high-end ready to wear (RTW).  In fact, I saw it used on a sweatshirt priced at $180.  (And a beautiful sweatshirt it was, for several reasons.)

You may be familiar with the standard technique for binding raw edges using a strip of bias (in wovens) or across-the-grain (in a knit).  This technique turns that idea around - literally.

You need a single knit to use this binding.  How can you tell if you have a single- or a double-knit fabric?  If you gently pull the edge as it comes off the bolt, a single knit rolls towards the front.  A double knit does not roll.  You want to take advantage of the fabric's natural inclination to roll.

On this sweatshirt I used this binding on the neckline, but you can use it anywhere.  For example, a sleeve, hem, or pocket.

Step 1:  Cut a strip of your single knit about 2 1/8" wide and longer than you need.  (It can be wider and you can cut it down later.)  In my photo, the strip is on the left and the "garment" is represented by the larger piece of fabric on the right:

Step 2:  Sew the right side of the strip to the wrong side of the garment with 1/2" seam allowance (S/A).  If you are navigating around curves, such as on a neckline, you will want to gently stretch the binding as you go.

 Step 3: Wrap the binding around to the front of the garment.

Step 4:  Pin in place.

Step 5:  From the wrong side of the garment, stitch in the ditch.  As you sew, make sure that the raw edge of the binding (underneath) remains flat and does not get caught.

The finished edge will naturally roll towards the padded binding.

I'd love to see your applications of this technique.  :)