There's a fairly new reviewer over on Patternreview - Rocketboy - who does some seriously good work. The man makes a killer pair of jeans, and his underwear review has to be seen to be believed, but what really got me the other day was his tshirt review.
I've made plenty of tshirts, both for me and for Mario. I've made plenty of knit tops, period. I've always done the neckband the way they tell you in the instructions, marking at the center front and shoulder points, sewing it in in the round. Sometimes the band stretches out in the front, showing a little too much of me, or in the case of my recent blue tshirt, it doesn't lie quite flat in the back. Sometimes this is because of the fabric - my blue cotton jersey was more ribbed and stretchy than the other cotton jerseys purchased in that batch, and should have been treated differently. This will no longer be a problem.
Why did it never occur to me that there was another way? I read his review, where he mentioned sewing the neckband in flat by leaving one shoulder seam open and a very large light bulb went on in my head. I couldn't get into the sewing room until Sunday afternoon, but all day Friday and Saturday, I was imagining it over and over, and getting more and more excited by the idea.
Yesterday I finally got into the workroom to cut out yet another KS 3338 tshirt for myself from a cream cotton jersey. I'd already made one for Mario out of this, but there was enough left over for a top for me.
I stabilized both shoulders on the back piece with Fusi-knit, and sewed one shoulder seam. Using the standard pattern piece for a neckband, I folded it in half right side out, and pressed it flat. Then, starting at the open shoulder seam, I started pinning the band, stretching slightly, all the way around. I ended up with more than an inch of band left over, but when I folded the band inward, it seemed right, so I trusted it and went ahead and sewed. When I turned the band inside and pressed it flat, it looked good, so I sewed up the remaining shoulder seam.
I tried it on Evelyn, and it laid perfectly flat, no pulling or gapping anywhere. I topstitched the band down and continued on my merry way, sewing the sleeves in flat, sewing the side seams, using the coverstitch for the hems. When I tried on the finished shirt, I realized that I had the best neckband ever, and a whole new way to do something that I've been doing for years.
Goes to show that you're never too old to learn a new trick.