Monday, March 23, 2009

The Best Band Ever

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.

22 comments:

Dei said...

Awesome, makes perfect sense!

Lindsay T said...

I seem to recall learning this trick at a Stretch & Sew class I took as a teen in the '70s. Thanks for reminding me about it.

Sewfast said...

That's a beautiful neckline! I'll have to try it the next T-shirt I do! I did see those jeans he made...those were amazing!!! Thanks for sharing.

AllisonC said...

Well this seems incredibly obvious, but it never occurred to me either. Thank you for showing the tip on your blog.

Tracy said...

Great job, I'll have to try this too.

Little Hunting Creek said...

Thank you for explaining so clearly. Now I have to try it out

luckylibbet said...

That's how they do it in RTW. Looks really nice, n'est-ce-pas? That is one gorgeous knit.

I'll have to look up Rocketboy's reviews - my eyeballs nearly fell out of my head on the bikini review and I thought he was pulling our collective legs. Apparently not.

Cennetta said...

Bravo! That is one beautiful band.

gwensews said...

The T looks very nice. The neckband is an old Stretch and Sew
technique. There are some used S&S books around, with some good ideas for sewing knits.

Preferred Guest said...

I would love to take full credit for this technique but as has already been mentioned it was around since before my time. Where I've most recently seen it is in the book. "Sew U Home Stretch" by Wendy Mullin. She actually details quite a few different techniques to achieve similar looks based on difficulty. A good read. -Rocketboy

Rose said...

I'm on my way to Pattern Review to check out Rocketboy. Your neckband looks nice. I've done it before, but kinda forgot. It's so easy to get caught up by following the instructions in patterns. Shame on me and thanks for the reminder.

Dana said...

That's one great looking neck band. I'll be using that method in the near future. Thanks!

Faye Lewis said...

Now that is a super idea, thanks for sharing!

Faye Lewis said...

I am a big lover or knits and of t-shirts. This technique is such a great idea. THANKS

Nancy K said...

My next t shirt is being done this way. Fantastic results.

Natalia said...

Hi Karen, I recently started to read your blog and I just love it.
Can you please tell what type of machine do you use when you working on tshirts? did you use serger to attach the neckband?
what model of coverstich do you have? do you use wooly nylon threads or some other kind threads when you work with stretching fabric?
I am trying to learn how to work with stretching fabric. I use Juki MO-735 (it is serger and coverstich machine). This machine does a good job on woven fabric but I am not happy with stretching fabric results.
so, I was just wondering what type of equpment do you use to get that perfect look? Please share if you don't mind. Thank you! Natalia

elbereth said...

genius! thanks for pointing it out as i had missed it on pr.

Tany said...

Great technique, thanks for sharing! Kudos to Rocketboy!

Ann's Fashion Studio said...

Great looking t-shirt and neckline!
My most favoraite method is Sarah Veblem. Her technique also always works .....every time :)

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1911416549?bclid=0&bctid=1917486352

Ann's Fashion Studio said...

...I meant Sarah Veblen..:)

Toni said...

Thanks for sharing this!

Your t-ship neckline looks awesome!

Toni said...

Ooopss... You know what I meant... (LOL)... T-SHIRT! LOL!