Oh, cripes! Stripes!

So, I decided to make a mariner top. Black with white stripes. I had been looking for a Saint James stripe knit, but was wary of ordering online, due to ridiculous exchange rates. Happily, I found such a knit at Downtown Fabrics, here in Toronto. It’s a rayon knit, which is lovely to wear, albeit a bit temperamental to work with. I decided to use a recent pattern download, the Maritime knit top from Liesl & Co. It is a straight forward pattern, but oh, the stripes abused me! I was fine with very carefully aligning the stripes whilst cutting, but had little guidance on how to match the stripes when sewing the garment. Until this:

Threads sewing guide.

Threads sewing guide.

The Threads Sewing Guide is not my go to reference, I must admit. Much of it seems to be a rehash of the articles in the magazine. However, it was the only guide (I checked Readers Digest New Complete Guide to Sewing and Vogue-Butterick Step by Step Guide to Sewing Techniques, both of which I own) that had any advice about sewing stripes. I found the tidbit on the very last page in the index about stripes (page 325, if you are looking!).

Finally! Information on sewing stripes! From the Threads sewing guide. And the last page mentioned in the index on stripes, I might add.

Finally! Information on sewing stripes! From the Threads sewing guide. And the last page mentioned in the index on stripes, I might add.

It tells the seamstress to fold back the seam allowance of one piece and slipstitch to match the stripe (or plaid), before seaming the pieces together. Slipstitch a rayon jersey? Are the editors of Threads quite mad?!? However, I did it.

The orange threads are my slipstitching.

The orange threads are my slipstitching.

I always use silk thread for any basting. I like to be able to see what I need to remove, and I like to be able to remove basting easily. After eight attempts at matching stripes with pin basting, the slip stitching was a success!

Matching stripes!

Matching stripes!

Excusing the shadow from the seam, I did pretty well, I think! The sleeves were a little tricky, as the stripes align as a chevron.

More slip stitching to match the sleeve stripes.

More slip stitching to match the sleeve stripes.

These are the sleeve stripes, which match in a chevron.

These are the sleeve stripes, which match in a chevron.

I obviously had not yet removed the basting threads. However, I am more equipped to deal with stripes, something which I had avoided until now. I recognized the thought involved in cutting the pieces, but no one had mentioned the nightmare of actually sewing them. Especially on a jersey! Shifty, shifty! However, all is well and I have a mariner top.

Front.

Front.

Back.

Back.

This particular top is quite long on me. I should probably have removed a bit of length. I am also not thrilled with the side splits, as I find them a bit short.

The side splits are awfully short when worn.

The side splits are awfully short when worn.

However, I decided to make the top again, in a shorter length. I shortened the pattern by 5cm (2″). I also decided to use a fabric without so much matching.

Front on my second version.

Front on my second version.

Back in a print that I did not need to obsessively match!

Back in a print that I did not need to obsessively match!

I made the pattern too short, and had to reduce the hem by half. The resulting effect was to make the side splits longer, which I prefer.

I actually prefer these side splits as they are a bit longer.

I actually prefer these side splits as they are a bit longer.

Both of these jerseys, the rayon and the cotton of the slightly wilder print, would not consent to being hemmed by machine. As a result, the tops took longer than I thought they would, or should. Even so, I happily hemmed them, by hand. Honestly, not so happily. I hate hemming as much as I hate cleaning floors. I would much more happily take all of my hemming to my delightful dry cleaner who does a beautiful job on my ready-to-wear pants and jeans. I have long considered taking my me-mades to her for hemming, as it is my least liked part of the process. Pattern work? Fine! Construction? Yes please! Hems? No thank you!

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2 thoughts on “Oh, cripes! Stripes!

  1. Take your hemming in, for crying out loud, why do it if you hate it!? Life is too short, go for it! TFS, Annette (LOL)

    • Thanks for the enabling, Annette! I actually only hate machine hemming as it is so easy for it to end in disaster! Still, I did leave a dress on the dress form for a year because I didn’t want to do the hemming…;)

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