Wednesday, August 29, 2018

An inadvertent hiatus

Sorry for not posting for awhile, but I was on vacation last week. Spicy and I spent a few days in Lake Placid with family and then I spent the rest of the time at home. I finally broke down and bought a Juki coverstitch machine. I've wanted one forever because I've never been happy with my knit garment finishes on my regular sewing machine. But it felt like an extravagant expense because it basically only does knit hems. I know you can use it on wovens but I'll probably primarily use it just for knits. Ebay had a rare 15% off everything coupon code and sewing machines almost never go on sale, so I took the plunge.

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I've spent quite a bit of time since then sewing knits like mad, getting used to my coverstitch and improving my technique. I found the machine tricky to thread at first and had to watch the YouTube video several times to get it down. But overall it's much simpler to thread than my serger. It's a very powerful machine and goes over thick seams with ease. I've only had a few issues with skipped stitches so far on a really stretchy fabric, but I'm sure there are probably adjustments that can be made that I just don't know about yet. I did find it very hard at first to control the speed. My Janome Horizon has a speed control where you can set the maximum speed and I wish more sewing machines had this feature. It felt like I was barely touching the foot pedal and the coverstitch was totally out of control. But I'm slowly getting more used to it now and I've been able to slow down around curves a bit easier.

So far I've done 3-thread narrow and wide coverstitch and 4-thread triple stitch on a pair of leggings. they've all worked well. I'm not sure if I'm doing anything wrong on this part, but when I release the tension and pull the fabric from the machine, most of my threads end up on the top so I have to take a sharp needle and transfer them all to the back before tying them off. that part is kind of annoying but I think I'm probably missing a step because I know there is supposed to be a way that you can pull the threads to the back initially when you take it off the machine. It's also nice that it's pretty easy to rip out stitches if you mess up (unlike a serger). Though I think I have wasted a ton of thread so far.

To begin with, I cut out a Hemlock Tee and a Mandy Boat Tee. They are similar free tee patterns that come in only one size. I wanted to compare the two to see which I liked better as well as get some experience on the coverstitch.

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My Hemlock is made from leftover white cotton/poly interlock from Joanns. I bought a bunch of this years ago. it's a heavier weight so it's good for fall/winter tees. I did not like the pattern at all. it's just too large for me allover. The neckline wants to fall off my shoulder (which I hate) and the body and sleeves are less casually oversized and more sloppy looking. I haven't thrown this tee away yet thinking I'd wear it to sleep in but honestly I will probably just throw it away. This was also my very first neckline on the coverstitch. I tried it several times but i wasn't able at that time to get the machine to slow down enough so it's very wavy and crappy looking. my hems fared a bit better.

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I don't like the Mandy Boat Tee either, because I don't like boatnecks. Why did I make a boatneck tee when I don't like boatnecks? good question. I think i wanted to try the pattern and if I liked it, I would plan to modify the neckline on subsequent versions. I used another leftover fabric. I think this one is a slinky rayon jersey from joanns. it actually turned out ok but I did have to cut 3 inches off the sleeves before hemming them. It's possible that I might use this pattern again in the future, but in addition to shortening the sleeves, I would remove about 1.5" of ease from the body and change the neckline to a scoop, v-neck, or funnel/mock neck. I thought the fit was more modern than the Hemlock with the slightly tighter sleeves but overall it was still a little too big for me.

August 24

So yeah, in the end I found a drop shoulder pattern that I like much better and I'll talk about it more in the next few days. These were both duds and I'm unlikely to sew either again, but it was a good basically no-cost way to get some experience using the coverstitch and it led down a rabbit hole of many more knits that I still haven't climbed out of.

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