B5070 Top One More Time

You know how it is.  You get a great pattern.  You just can’t help yourself.  You find yourself going back to this pattern over and over.  Making little changes.  Making it seem fresh, new, different.  The Funnel Neck top from Butterick 5070 is going to be one of those patterns in my collection and my closet.

In my stash, I found the perfect match to the Blue Aqua color 3rd from the right (or left) on the bottom row.

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This time I cut 5070 without center seams (one of the possibilities I proposed at the bottom of this post.)  My fabric is a light-knit remnant found at Hancocks in Sioux Falls SD. I’m not really sure what the fabric content is, but it’s a b*tch to work with.  Even my serger didn’t like it.  I had to change needles twice.  Once when I started the new project and then when the first 10″ of the firstshoulder seam.  Somehow the fabric edge slipped onto my upper looper and stopped the process with an ugly grind.  The kind of grind that has you hoping your machine has not been damaged.  I checked the threading, which seemed fine; so I continued the shoulder seam at a slower pace.  My serger skipped stitches (never does that) and about every 5th stitch made a funny sound.  Since the threading looked good I replaced the most obvious culprit, the needles.  All was well.  The needles, the cheapest thing to fix on a serger, apparently are also the first to be damaged.

I anticipated that the seams might show at the funnel neck due to the way I planned to finish it. I don’t particularly object to the sight of serger seams.  In fact, I think they are quite decorative all on their own.  However, I do want them to behave properly when in public, which means not twisting back and forth. To keep them laying straight, I pressed the serged seam flat, then open on the right side.  From the wrong side I lined up my edge stitch foot (J on the Ruby) and starting stitching.  Well almost. First I tried the stitch on a scrap.  For years with my Bernina, the knit sewing was best if I could introduce just a slight wiggle in the straight stitch.  I keep wanting to to do this at my Ruby and had spent about 5 minutes testing the A11 stitch, reducing tensions, width and length untill it looked satisfactory on the sample.  About 10″ into edge stitching the shoulder seam I stopped to check progress.  Well progress was fine but stitching looked like the straight stitches I accomplished by hand when I was 3. (Yes my mother let me sew at 3, as long as I used a BIG needle and thick thread with a huge knot. )  Not satisfatory. Nope not at all, plus the seam was tunneling on the public side.  So rip it out, which was easier said then done because the fabric also didn’t want to feed evenly.  I would have 10 teeny tiny .1mm stitches and then 3 4mm stitches (4mm being my choice) and the zig zag also seemed to knot. Oh and did I mention that in addition to the perfect color fabric, I had the perfect matching thread thanks to my Gutterman Thread Collection (whose cabinet I’m still waiting to be replaced)?

Although I love the thread, the perfect match was difficult to pick out.  But I got it done.  Wanting to avoid the tunneling, I took the time to press the seams yet again and fuse them into place.  Thank heavens for Steam A Seam.  I started stitching again, but with a straight stitch, set to 3.5, still using my edge stitch foot on the wrong side but making sure that the fabric was lifted so there was no drag to keep it from feeding under the needle.  Now, I’ve done this same procedure thousands of times.  Both on the Bernina and my new Ruby. It works. It just works beautifully and that’s my only excuse for nailing down the serging on both shoulder seams before stopping to check stitch quality.  When I took it out of the machine and flipped to the right side, well I nearly flipped.  Once again the stitch quality was waggling back and forth. Very poor. Very, first Home Ecky. Very… YUK. So another 30 minutes ripping the seams out.  3rd time, I stitched from the top, with my stitch in the ditch foot and offsetting my stitch 3.5 to the right.  This didn’t catch the very edge of the serging, which is my desire, but it did produce a perfect straight row of stitching almost to the edge of the serging.

Now I’m ready for some fun stuff.  I must tell you that I was highly influenced by the Nancy Zieman Jan 28 PBS broadcast which co-starred Linda Lee from the Sewing Workshop (TSW patterns).  Linda demonstrated several unique and attractive edge finishes.  I was so impressed, I’ve ordered the book. (I do order Nancy’s books about once a year).  The finish I picked, because I could remember it, slices 2.5″ cross grain strips from your fabric; folds them in half and then stitches the strips to the public side of the garment at the edge so that the raw edges are all together.

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Because my fabric was so contrary, I fused my strips to sleeve hems.  I also delibertly cut the sleeve strips 1″ shorter in length than the sleeve cuff.  After fusing, I basted (A23- I’m beginning to memorize Ruby’s stitch designations) the strips to the sleeve cuff.  Then I borrowed a technique from my machine ribbon embroidery days, ribbon chain stitch.  Except that I used 2 strands of LYI perele cotton instead of ribbon.  I used a 3.5 length stitch and would take 3 stitches, needle down, cross the perle cotton in front of the neecles, and, repeat. It’s not a fast process, but didn’t take more than few minutes each sleeve.  I then serged the side seams together and repeated the trim on the hem and neckline.  Last step is to trim oh about 1/4″ from the bottom edges using a wavy or serrated rotary cutter.

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The final trim is attractive.  I’m not sure if it will stay flat or curl once it is washed.  Either will be fine with me.

One of my goals this year is to revise and use my own label.  I find labels in the back of many garments to be absolutely essential.  My first try which is hard to see here:

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(I do apologize for picture quality) but it says

“sdBev” (that’s me) “B5070”  The pattern number and underneath

“20110117”  the date finished.

This is really too big.  I think the next one will be

sdBev

B5070

I like having the date, but it makes for a nearly 4″ label.  I’m not quite that ostentatious.  I just want to brag a little and remind myself of the pattern I started with. Oh and this is one of those garments where I can’t tell the front from back until I put it on.  Tag in the back helps me with that.

I do like the final garment. The trim adds enough weight to the bottom of the sleeve and hem to keep these parts hanging correctly during wear without being uncomfortable.  It looks not like a knit T-shirt, but a knit top with bracelet length sleeves.

I’m sure there will be many many WOW entries for the January 2011 Color Challenge.  I don’t expect to compete with them for glory.  For one thing, I’m pretty sure most of them will be doing more artistic type work.  Whereas I’m submitting an outfit, a complete dress-yerself-and-get-up-and-go, using some of the proposed colors. I want this to be wearable in my life, not an artistic garment.  So the trims and shapes will all be toned down compared to what I think the others will submit.  This makes me happy.

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