12 May 2015

Butterick 6183: project-delay and setting sleeves for beginners

This top could have been finished by now if I only had a machine foot to sew in a regular zipper. The problem: I hadn't. Somehow I've never realized the quiet absence of this accessory for my sewing machine. Thinking back I've only used blind zippers for years, and have never missed a regular zipper foot. I probably assumed it is a sort of standard accessory which comes with every sewing machine. Apparently mine came without...
Visited all sewing machine shops in town but none of them had one, so I had to turn to internet shopping once more. While waiting for the zipper foot to arrive I show you how I set in the sleeves. It is a sort of beginner tutorial, I guess besides setting in zippers this is the hardest thing to sew.
Back in my first sewing years I used to sew the sleevecaps to the armholes flat, before finishing the underarm and side seams. It was not an elegant method.
After a while I tried to set in sleeves like the pro's do and often ended up with a sleeve with the wrong side out.
Nowadays I do stitch the sleeve but set it into the armhole in two parts.

1. Ease sleevecap: sew between the dot markings
I usually sew 2 rows, sometimes 3 with a long stitch length.
Adjust the upper pressure of your machine (I normally use 4, now turn the button to 2) By doing this the machine won't pull the bobbin thread up. This allows you to gather the fabric by pulling the bobbin threads.

2. Stitch underarm seam, press and turn the sleeve right side out:

3. Put the sleeve into the armhole, with sleevecap on the outside. This way you put the right sides together. Look at the matching notches to see which sleeve goes which side (usually one notch marks the front and two the back)

4. match and pin notches and small dots
important: don't forget to adjust the upper pressure back to normal!

5. sew the lower half of the armhole seam between the small dots, from the eased part down

6. align the big circle on the sleeve (which marks the center line) with the shoulder seam and pin (I find it easier to put pins at the small dots as well, but you don't need it if you use a contrasting color for the ease stitches)

7. pull the double (or triple) bobbin thread you used to build in ease

8. distribute wrinkles between center circle and small dots and pin. Use as many pins as you want. I use a lot!
Sew upper part of armhole seam between the small dots from the sleeve side.
Overlap a bit with the previous seam you made on the lower part of the armhole.

9. cut and finish seam allowance (I used a second row of straight stitches and finished with a zigzag.

10. press!

1 May 2015

raglan sleeve baby cardigan pattern - EU size 56-62

What I like about this pattern I made up is that you can add any pattern, from fair isle to combination of stitches or just simple stripes. You can use the moss-stitch border, a garter stitch border or just ribbing.
It fits sizes 56-62 (tested!) The cardigan is knitted from the bottom up, front, back and sleeves separately, then all the pieces are joined to knit the raglan yoke all in one piece again. You only need to seam the sleeves and sides at the end.

material & sizing:
I used a baby-weight yarn, drops baby merino which I knit with metric size 3 needles. The tension is 26 sts to 10 cm.
Finished measurements (European size 62)
  • width measured between underarms: 23 cm (=9 in)
  • length from the shoulder down: 24 cm (=9.5 in)
  • underarm length: 14 cm (=5.5 in)

You can adjust the size by casting on more rows and adding length before starting the raglan yoke. In that case you need to widen the neck as well.
Of course, using a heavier wool and larger needles is the easiest way to size up!

my basic raglan pattern:
front (make 2):
- cast on for cardigan 37 sts (each half front includes a border of 4 sts!)
- Row 1-6: Work in the border stitch of your choice for 6 rows (ribbing, moss-stitch or garter-stitch) adding the first buttonhole in the 3rd row.
- buttonhole: knit 2, cast off 2. In next row in border cast on 2 stitches and knit 2.
- Row 7-57: continue in stocking-stitch (alternating 1 row knit and 1 row purl) while keeping the first 4 sts (right front) an last 4 stitches (left front) of each row in moss-stitch or garter-stitch.
- add buttonholes in 23-43-53th row as desired (left front border for boys or right front border for girls )
- Row 58: cast off 2 sts opposite to borders for underarms
- Put stitches on holder

- cast on 68 sts
- Row 1-6: Work in the border stitch of your choice for 6 rows (ribbing, moss-stitch or garter-stitch)
- Row 7-56: continue in stocking-stitch (alternating 1 row knit and 1 row purl)
- row 57 + 58: cast off 2 sts at beginning of row for underarms
- Put stitches on holder

- cast on 37 sts in main color
- Row 1-6: Work in the border stitch of your choice for 6 rows (ribbing, moss-stitch or garter-stitch)
- Row 7-50: continue in stocking stitch (alternating 1 row knit and 1 row purl)
- increase 1 st on both ends in row 16 (=39 sts)
- inc. 1 st at both ends of 22nd row (=41 sts)
- inc. 1 st at both ends of 28th row (=43 sts)
- inc. 1 st at both ends of 44th row (=45 sts),
- inc. 1 st at both ends of 46th row  (=47 sts)
- 51 + 52th row cast off 2 sts at begin of row. (fronts: 35 sts, back 64 sts remain)

- Continue front and back with sleeves altogether, place stitchmarkers. For each stitch marker on the right side of work:
- last 3 sts before stitchmarker: slip one, knit one, pass slipped stitch over and knit one.
- first 3 stitches after stitch markers: knit one, knit 2 together
- Purl alternating rows.
Continue until the 84th row (before the 5th buttonhole is made)
shape neck: 
- knit 4 sts of border and put these stitches on holder for neckband
- continue in stocking stitch, decrease at raglan every alternate row as before, at the same time decrease 1 st at neck edge every row until 9 sts remain after knitting right side row.
- put stitches on holder, break wool.

Pick up 3 sts, transfer another stitches on needle, pick up 3 sts in front and transfer the last 6 stitches.

neck band:
- Knit 6 rows in the border stitch of your choice
- in first row (wrong side) decrease once more at stitch markers as described above
- 7th row: cast off

29 Apr 2015

Butterick 6183 top: cutting!

Finally cutting out the pattern pieces!
While watching Project Runway season 11 love that each season has a few designers who are really strong in constructing and draping and come up with the most amazing garments in just a day or two.
The fabric I use is a thin jeans-type fabric with little bows... (the color is darker, it's like in the picture above) The pattern is not really regular or symmetric, so I don't have to match the pieces.

28 Apr 2015

Butterick 6183 pattern adjustments: sleeve + back pieces

Here are the sleeve patterns: original one (on top) and the adjusted one. I have used Nancy Zieman's method to make this adjustment and wrote about it in this blogpost. The nice thing is that both the sleeve hem and the sleevecap remains unchanged while you add width and more room for movement at the armpits.

The back has princess seams. Below are the adjustments I made to the back side pieces. There is a central panel which I simply shortened by cutting at the shorten/lengthen line for the swayback adjustment.
In the pics below you see the back side panel adjustments.
left: I added width at the hem: 1/2 of the seam adjustment below the waistline, tapering to nothing at the waistline. (I did the same at the sides of the center panel as well)
right: finished the swayback adjustment by taking out (1cm) at the center side tapering to nothing to the side seam of the side back panel.

I still need to add extra length at the hem since the pattern length is going to be the finished length of the top.
Haven't decided on the fabric yet, I need to dig into my stash I guess...