Saturday, March 26, 2016

Basic T-Shirts and Tips for using a Twin Needle in your Sewing Machine

It has been a while since I posted. Not due to lack of sewing content to post, but due to lack of time. Spring is almost here, which means lot's of spring sewing. T-shirts, short-sleeve dresses, shorts and swimsuits are all on my "to-sew" list in the coming weeks.
I have also received beautiful fabrics -some I styled and had printed myself, some from custom fabric groups and some bright,beautiful solid jersey knits to complement pinted fabrics.
Some of my favorites this week:

White Stars on Charcoal Background - great neutral fabric for both boys and gilrs
Tiny Pink flowers - to be used as an accent in spring dresses
Soccer Ball print Jersey - for my boys
Lace print on lilac Jersey - custom printed for me.
More about stuff made from these fabrics later this week.

What have I been sewing / making /crafting lately?

First of all, I've been lucky to test Pickle Toes T-Shirt Pattern. What's sets this T pattern aside? Sizing! Available in regular and slim, this is definitely one of the most comprehensively sized T-shirt's I have tested. Included are sizes 2-18 in tunic or shirt length with optional hood .
One thing I was truly impressed about - is the designer's desire to get the sizing "just right". We had to give feedback on shoulder width, neck width and length, etc., etc. and quite a few adjustments were made to the pattern over the testing period. This a loose fitting T-shirt, perfect for spring and summer if made in lighter weight cotton jersey or interlock.
My teen approved (you know, as much as a teen approves of anything mommy made).

I used lightweight camo print ponte fabric for the body and Olive Cotton/Lycra jersey for the neck.

Another new to me pattern I used this week was the Pretty Panel Dress from A Sparkle Baby Designs, purchased during the last sale and never got around to using it.
While I like the ease of traditional garment construction, I am always on a lookout for something new and fund, and this dress was both!
What a great design to use those custom fabric panels I am  hoarding (admit it, I am not the only one!) For this dress, I used 2 fun cotton prints and no panel, but I already have another one cut out in size 6, ready to go.

This one is heading out to my Etsy and Zibbet Stores ;)

And this brings me to few tips on using a twin needle on your sewing machine.
All vertical seams on the dress above as well as neckline were topstitched using a twin (double needle). I used to hate using a double needle for many, many years, until, I was able to come up with combination of "tricks" which help create the best seam every time.
Top-stitching with a double needle gives you handmade garments this " finished" look.

  • Use the right needle for the job! This is the most important rule of all, in my opinion. The needles are available in ballpoint, jersey, regular and in numerous size to correspond to the type of fabric you are using. Choose the correct needle. I use ballpoint for cotton jersey, interlock and ponte and universal for cotton twill, lightweight denim and quilting cotton.

  • Thread your sewing machine using both threads as one, as you normally do, up to the thread guide immediately preceding the needle.The last guide will separate the 2 threads, preventing the twisting and tangling in the sewing needles.
  •  Use Wooly Nylon Thread in the bobbin if you are sewing stretch, jersey, lycra, interlock, etc. fabrics. This sounds odd to some, but Wooly Nylon provides great coverage on the wrong side of the seam, without compromising seam structure and stretch. To wind the bobbin, use your machine, but guide the tension with your hand and not through tensions disk, as you want to have a little slack in the thread for extra coverage.

Right Side - Contrasting Thread Top-stitching
Wrong Side - lighter color is Wooly Nylon

  • Lower top thread tension - just a notch or two - you will need to experiment here
  • Lengthen your stitch - I use 3.2-3.6 for most projects with twin (double) needle

  • If you do not have an additional thread post (the "stick" that holds the spool you can use the same one, by winding matching thread on a spare bobbin and placing both the bobbin and spool on the same post, making sure they unwind in different directions.
  • Read your sewing machine manual! This should be top tip, but I assumed that you already did this. In any case, your manual will explain in short how to use and thread your machine for double needle use.
  • For top-stitching denim - use a heavy needle, denim thread and regular thread in the bobbin. I always get a little "worming" on the wrong side due to thread weight difference, but since the stitching is purely decorative, I consider it acceptable.

 Enjoy! I hope these tips will help you in achieving this "special something" to take your garments from "homemade" to "handcrafted".
Have more tips? Please add them in comments below and I will update the post (with reference to your comment, of course)

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