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Vogue 8536 – It’s a Wadder!

January 29th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Oh, dear. Knits and I are just not getting along. Today’s failure is this top from Vogue Basic Design:


I made view D (the vee-neck), with the 3/4ths sleeve length from view B. In theory, this shirt is almost exactly what I’d choose for everyday wear. But alas, it was not to be. It’s mostly my fault, too, though, although I really, really do not like the neck band.


It’s too narrow, and makes me think of neck trim on cheap clothing. (And it doesn’t help that I muffed my stitching slightly in front, either!)

The sides end in slits, which I thought I’d like, but seem sort of bleah to me now that I’ve made the top. If I try this again, I’ll just sew the seams all the way to the hem.


Although the shoulders seemed to be fine on my dummy, they’re not right on me at all. (I know I’m overdue for replacing my dummy; those duct tape shells don’t last forever, and mine is definitely showing signs of disfigurement, not to mention that I’m a bit re-configured myself!) I need to take the shoulders in by a full half inch on each side to get the fit I want.

On the plus side, the body is cut nicely, and I love the extra ease at the side bust, which don’t show, but acknowledge that a little more accommodation is needed in that area. I think may be what Betzina calls “today’s fit”. I’m guessing that “today” means “you don’t have the bust you did when you were 20!”)

Which brings us to my nemesis: hemming knits. After considerable experimentation, including using iron-ons for support, varying stitch lengths, fiddling with basting methods, etc., I tried two other methods for this top. They worked great on my sample pieces; on my top, not so much.

For the sleeve hems, I used twill tape under the cut edge of the fabric, basting it in place to keep the knit from stretching. (How desperate can you get??) Then I used a 6.0 double needle for the stitching. That worked pretty well, but not perfectly. I ended up with a slight tunneling effect that I wasn’t able to get rid of while still keeping enough tension in the thread.


It looks a little like trapunto, and I kind of like it. After experimenting some more, I did the hem without the twill tape, but with careful basting. All looked well under the machine foot, but I noticed that I was getting a few skipped stitches. My new needle wasn’t the cause, so, on a whim, I slowed the speed of my machine down to nothing, and that solved that problem.

Stretched out on my dummy, the hem doesn’t look awful (if you don’t mind that trapunto effect), but lying flat, the hem bubbles. It’s just not right. Mr. Noile suggested that I get a very long strip of knit remnant and then keep trying until I solve this vexing problem; I’m going to do it. Next try: bias iron interfacing with single rows of topstitching. What have I got to lose?

Good thing this was a muslin. Grrrr.

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  1. January 31st, 2009 at 18:19 | #1

    Thanks for your comments, QB and Pat. QB, I haven’t had much luck with Steam-a-Seam 2, but I’ll look for the Wonder Tape — maybe that will do the trick! It hadn’t occurred to me to try a longer stitch length, too, so I’ll give that a shot. Thanks for the suggestions!

    Pat, I’m really intrigued by your suggestion about using buttonhole twist for the top stitching. I think that could look really nice (maybe even change my mind about that neck binding!). I like your suggestion about lengthening the top to feature the slits better; I bet that would work well.

    I wasn’t able to successfully change my tension settings while using the double needle (hence the trapunto effect), but I’m going to do some serious experimentation, including going back to single-needle stitching, in search of a better result. Next trip to JoAnn’s I’ll pick up some buttonhole twist, and also the Wonder Tape QB recommended. It’s a challenge, right? Must win challenge!!!

    Oh, about my dummy — my old faithful is in serious need of replacement. Marking the shoulders is a great idea for the new one — and while I’m at it, I think I’ll do the waist, CB and CF, too. It’s time to get serious!

  2. QB
    January 30th, 2009 at 17:23 | #2

    In my experience, Lite Steam-a-Seam 2 and Wash-away Wonder Tape both do a pretty good job of preventing (or at least seriously reducing) stretched-out knit hems. Longer stitch length and/or lower foot pressure may also help.

  3. January 30th, 2009 at 14:33 | #3

    Hi Noile,
    I really enjoyed your comments on Pattern Review and was delighted to see you also have a blog. I have some comments which may be helpful or probably worthless:

    1. I don’t agree the neck trim looks cheap. We all have crazy ticks…I think low necks are cheap looking; others think they’re hot. Back to your top, though. I’ve seen many knit tops by hot designers both here and Europe with those same narrow trims. I, myself, prefer to cut a wider facing, topstitching by machine or backstitching by hand with buttonhole floss at both top and bottom of edges of facing. Of course, if sewing by hand I always add knit interfacing to facing.

    My own personal preference regarding slits at side is to lengthen body of shirt just a bit, maybe as little as one to two inches, so the slits are highlighted.

    Have you tried marking the shoulder lines with chalk, pencil or ink to remind you where they’re located on your dummy…or make a muslin to cover her???

    I’ve never had the problem of a trapunto look with the double-needle hem, but I would guess it looks good. Can you decrease the tensions of the bobbin and presser foot on your sewing machine? This might do the trick! I’m just guessing here. I know that presser foot and bobbin tensions can cause problems when working with knits.

    These are the things I would try for the problems you’ve encountered with this top. Maybe they’ll all work…or none of them …

    Happy sewing!!!
    Pat (Shastakatt)

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