Hey sew folk,
I hope you are all doing splendidly and moving into autumn with warm drinks and warm socks.
All is well here at FOB HQ, after a week of having Brother FOB and then Mother FOB coming to stay. I love the autumn, so am enjoying the turn of the seasons and taking it as time to sort and contemplate. The contemplation is a doubled edged sword to be honest, but at least the leaves crunch under foot whilst the brain crunches under thought… the sorting however is going swimmingly.
I have started used using Trello to get my sewing shit under control. I have amassed enough sewing paraphernalia that it deserved to be controlled and I use a similar system at work, so Trello wasn’t a great leap for me. Several sewers have done post about Trello (it’s free BTW) so I’ll leave them to explain, but in short I have now got travelling records of all my patterns, fabric and projects underway, so can fabric shop with more focus and avoid buying another length of black denim. I have been spending about twenty minutes a day getting it all set up and that in itself has been an enjoyable task and only made me more excited about my sew list ahead.
My work wear is pretty casual, but when the weather starts to turn chillier, I can fall into a pretty scruffy uniform of jumpers and jeans, so when I saw the Chestnut Sweater and top from CocoWawa Crafts, I thought this could help add a snazziness to the snuggliness. I had seen beautiful versions from Emily and Marie, so bought the pdf, bought the fabric and it jumped straight to the top of the queue.
I chose to make version B of the top, as I really like swing shapes to wear with skinny jeans- I also cut a generous size as I like the oversized look too. I bought some nice heavy striped ponte from eBay (and yes there is room for new breton incarnations) and some black velvet ribbon for the ties…THIS IS WHERE THE EASY ROAD ENDED.
This was one of those makes that should have been quick and dreamy and a perfect autumnal weekend make, but I had a total fucking mare.
I thought this would be a great project for me to learn how to use a twin needle, I really wanted that nice professional looking finish rather than finishing with a zig-zag stitch.
Do you have any techniques that you are trying to master for your garments to look more professional?
The bulk of the work for this pattern can be done on your overlocker and mine was delighted to have the sturdy ponte and behaved well, but my regular machine was staging some kind of political protest, so for me, trying to use a twin needle was an absolute fucking nightmare…but back to the pattern. The instructions are pretty clear, but you do have to watch out you are following the right directions for the version you are making- sweater or top, version A/B/C- but this project became a bit of a rage snowball for me.
I was new to using a twin needle, so when one of the upper threads kept breaking, I was happy to google around a find some possible causes, incase my technique was wrong. After a few adjustments it was working OK, but still not perfectly, but I trooped on with the twin needle- I just about finished topstitching the back facings and the neckline, but by the time it came to finishing the sleeves and hem, I had reverted to trusty zig-zag stitch.
If anyone has a trouble shooter for twin needles I’d LOVE to see it.I tried having the threads spin different directions, put the two threads different side of the tension discs and leaving the right thread out of the last thread guide before the needle and other tension and feeding fiddles too. As mentioned, I’d get little bit of good stitching, but then either there’d be skipped stitches or or the thread would break again.
…then my bobbin wanted to join the protest too and munched some of my fabric. Annoyingly this happened as I was trying to topstitch the side vents, so they are aren’t as square and neat as I’d hoped. CocoWawas instructions here are OK, but I think I the explanation method used on the Named Inari Tee dress is better.
I had to thread and re-thread my machine so many times and by this point, small mistakes that wouldn’t usually bother me resulted in some pretty loud cursing. I went off, had a stomp, played some loud music and then came back to finish.
For the ties, I chose some pretty black velvet ribbon, I had to double check my pinning as now not only my fabric but also my ribbon had a right side and wrong side. All in all I do like the finished top, but here are some notes from me…
- the top ribbon tie isn’t right at the top, on the sweater version the bottom waist band holds things together but I didn’t like this gape, so I put a bar tack at the very top, I might also add a holding stitch to the bows.
- I know I cut a large size but the sleeves are pretty wide, I am going to live with then for a while first, but might slim them down a bit.
- The neckline is finished by just turning in, but if I were to make again, I might finish with fold over elastic or stretch binding instead.
- There is a ‘tip’ to finish the side vents in a different way that will ‘have a cleaner look’, I think this should be the definitive way, as if the vent sits ‘off’, you can throw the line of the whole garment off.
Anyway, here she is, looks who’s laughing now Twin needle.
I am thinking about trying view A of the sweater in grey french terry, with a colourful ribbon, to offer a pretty alternative to what otherwise can be a utility garment. The pattern is great to have in the stash to give a cute twist to basics, I’m trying to not let my tricky experience, cloud my judgement too much. CocoWawa has a great eye for adding smart details to simple garments and this is no exception.