OK, so yesterday I played hooky, did nothing useful during the day...I suppose I needed the time to chill. I'm well on my way to doing the same thing today, in spite of my project deadline. I just need some more "me" time. Hopefully doing this for myself will lead me to a more productive week at the office. I already know there will be long hours ahead, regardless.
This morning I was up early because DF had to be at work by 7:30 a.m., so I faced down the Evolve and rethreaded it for coverstitching. It's really not hard to make the switch from serger to coverstitch, but it is yet another excuse for procrastination.
Much as I love the look of poly/lycra knits, they can sometimes be a bear to sew because of their stretchiness. The one I used for this project was no exception. Because it had been a while since I had used this particular version of the pattern, I used Sandra Betzina's "fit insurance" for the side seams. She recommends adding 1" to the side seams, "just in case." I think for this fabric, it made the difference between hootchie and wearable, because I ended up adding 1/4" to each side seam, a total of 1" extra ease. Even though this is a TNT pattern, every knit is different, and this one needed some additional room to look decent.
In addition to fitting issues, the needle threads kept breaking on my coverstitch samples until I loosened the tension more than recommended by the manual. Must keep this in mind for the future because I have several yards of it in different prints, and I'm a knitwear girl. I wear t-shirts for casual, and if the garment is nice enough, for work too. A high end looking t-shirt looks great under an otherwise staid dark colored suit.
Another improvement was switching to a clear foot. I had bought it when Ann Silva was having an open house, almost on a whim. Am I glad I did! This puppy will probably stay on the Evolve all the time, I like it that much. FYI, I'm referring to the Babylock Evolve, which is a TOL serger/coverstitch machine with a huge presser foot. What's so nice about the clear foot vs. the metal foot is you can actually tell what's going on with the fabric as it's sewn.
"Anonymous" asked if I used a serger to sew this t-shirt. Yes, this one was sewn primarily with my Babylock Evolve serger/coverstitch machine. I used a conventional sewing machine to sew the seams (0.5 wide x 3.0 long zigzag) for the first pass, then used a 3 thread serge for finishing. This was done mainly because I was experimenting with the pattern draft I was using and didn't want to trim the fabric edges with the serger until I was sure of the fit. Next time, I won't need to do the conventional stitching and can go directly to the serger.
If you don't have a serger, you can still sew knits! Just use only the narrow zigzag as described in the previous paragraph. For hemming you can use a twin needle with wooly nylon in the bobbin.