Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Two layer Renfrew

This project was growing in my head as I reflected on the clothing that I like to wear, rather than following the knee-jerk impulse to make another pretty dress.  The only problem with this plan is that the silk-viscose was originally going to be a Plaintain and a pair of ooh la leggings.  Once I cut out the leggings, I was working with scant fabric to make a double layered shirt.  I got everything done...except the sleeves.  And Mood was out of the original fabric.  Ugh.  So I went back and found a stretch silk for the sleeves that was a similar colour but I had to wait for it to come in the mail.  It is a more expensive blend with a dry harsh feel, whereas the body of the shirt is a soft and cheap viscose that I think has only a bit of silk in it.  

My adjustments for size were to shorten the waist 1".  The longer layer on the 2-layer tee was about an inch longer than that but of course didn't have the waistband on it.  I didn't do the shoulder widening that I have done in the past because I really like the fit of my first Renfrew (where I shortened it 2" and didn't widen the shoulders.)  I cut a size 4. 

This required a bit of puzzling out as I did it.  When I got to the underarm seam (which is after sewing the sleeve in the flat) I realised it had to be contiguous with the outer layer of the shirt.  So I cut the underlayer seam allowance out of the way and sewed the outer layer first.  I then sewed the underlayer and used a zig zag finish that I continued up into the sleeve a bit.  The result of this was that the under arm area is tighter than I would like.  Probably I should have used a 3/8 seam allowance to be safer (it always seems really wasteful to use a 5/8" allowance on knits!!)  That viscose of the sleeves is not as stretchy and also makes the arms a bit tighter than my other versions.

And I didn't think ahead...I made notches in the bottom front and back of the shirt!  Um, design feature!   But the biggest "design feature" deserves some mention.  I have been noticing lately how knits respond differently to different sewing machines.  My cheap machine in Switzerland wouldn't even sew a straight line in a tissue-paper fine knit.  My current cheap machine hashes my zig zag seam allowances but I just assume that's extra stability...with the fine viscose of the shirt, it had trouble sewing straight on only two layers.  So, no problem with the neckband, 4 layers, or sleevebands (as the sleeve fabric was heavier)  but a bigger issue on the sides.  I didn't pull any tension on the sides as I sewed.  I had loosened the tension previously from my usual.  Of note, this Necchi is totally messed up and I sew everything with a stitch length of 4 because anything smaller than that creates micro stitches and thread birdsnests.

So - ruching!  And it looks great!  Hurrah for unplanned improvements! (The ruching settled down a bit after washing, too - on my instagram you can see how much more there was on the side seams right after I made it.) 

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