Sewing with knit fabrics, making t-shirts and tank tops is not terribly difficult. I have made a number of them. However I am usually less than satisfied with the finished look, especially the hem and the neckline. The other day I was reading a post by Leanne at Devoted Quilter and she shared a pretty blue t-shirt she made. By using a double needle (or twin needle) she was able to achieve a nice finish at the hem and neckline.
Some time back, I purchased a double needle, fully intending to try this. But for whatever reason, the needle landed in the drawer with lots of other needles and was forgotten. Leanne’s success gave me just the push I needed to give it a try. I looked on-line to see if there was anything special about threading my machine (Janome 6500) for this needle. My machine has two posts for thread which is mandatory. But threading it was nearly the same as using only one spool of thread. I didn’t want to buy two spools of the same color thread since this isn’t a color I will use often. Instead, I wound an extra bobbin and used it on the second post. This worked just fine.
Sewing with a twin needle is interesting in that you must stitch from the right (or the top) side of the garment. The twin stitching shows on top and the bottom stitching has an interesting zig zag pattern achieved from the use on two needles on top and only one bobbin on the bottom.
This is the part I think is so magical. When I first tried using the needle and a a few scraps, I wasn’t at all sure what the bottom would look like as I didn’t really understand how one bobbin would deal with two threads.
Ok, here are a few details about this project. Using McCall’s M6957 and my thrifted stretch knit fabric, I made a very simple t-shirt dress. I cut the top at a size 12 and graded the waist and hip area to a 14 so it wouldn’t hug at the belly (because that isn’t a look I need to share with the world). 😉 The cut of this simple dress is really comfortable and the fact there are only three pieces to the pattern makes it a very easy project to put together.
I have had this green knit fabric in the drawer for about a year now. I picked it up at a garage sale from someone who was clearing out a lot of fabric. (That was a great sale and I was fortunate to purchase a large stack of knit fabric in good condition). I thought I would use this piece of fabric because if the fit wasn’t good there wasn’t a big loss since there was only a few dollars investment.
I got lucky though and the fit is great. I don’t have a picture of it on me because as I write this, I don’t have anyone to take a photo. Selfies are not my forte so I am not going to bother. Maybe I will post one later on. For now, you get the boring picture of it hanging from the door.
In my opinion the double needle makes all the difference. The hemline, hem of the sleeves and the topstitching of the neckline look so clean. It really elevates the finish of this dress. One thing to note, the pattern instructions told me to just fold the neckline in toward the wrong side and topstitch. I don’t like that method as it usually makes a wavy neckline and it allows too much stretch.
Instead, I attached single fold bias tape and then folded that to the inside and topstitched it. This way, I have a cotton strip creating shape to the neckline. It lays flat and looks really nice. I also reinforced the shoulder seams with bias tape so they wouldn’t stretch. After sewing the shoulder seams and checking the fit, I took a small piece of bias tape, laid it over the seam line and stitched it down. A very easy task and it will prevent the seams from stretching.
Now that I feel confident about the fit and look of this pattern, I want to make another one. I have lots of nice knits and look forward to using them. I think I will make a sleeveless version since we have such warm summers.
Hoping all of you enjoy the weekend. We will likely have a fairly quiet weekend. Julia is studying for finals. My husband wrenched his back and is limping around trying to let it heal. No big plans for the Kringel’s this weekend!
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