I received the ‘Gertie Sews Vintage Casual‘ book for Christmas and have to say it is fantastic! I spent ages just reading through it and making notes of additional bits and pieces I wanted to buy. I do love to have an excuse to buy new sewing supplies.
I quite fancied the idea of sewing one of the knit tops but considering I’d never sewn with a knit fabric before I was a little nervous. Then I saw that Evie from Pendlestitches was offering a few metres of a navy and white striped knit fabric for sale. I took this as a sign that I should take the plunge and have a go, so bought the fabric and away I went.
I also decided to invest in a walking foot for my machine and taking Gerties advice, bought some ballpoint needles and a Twin needle too.
After I had read and re-read the sewing instructions I started by tracing and cutting the pattern pieces. Only 4 pieces, a front, a back and two sleeves how difficult could this be??
There were a few adjustments to be made to the pattern pieces – I should mention that I was making the Boat Neck Top. The patterns that come with Gerties book are all adaptable according to which garment you are making, so for the Boat Neck Top I used the pieces for the Knit Sweetheart Top but using different sleeves and adjusting the neckline. I had to raise the front neckline and redraw the back neckline to match.
I cut the pieces out with a cutting wheel and actually remembered to try to match the position of the stripes.
Unusual for me because I usually go at these things like a bull in a china shop – too keen to get things done that I don’t stop to think long enough!
I did spend a bit of time playing around with the walking foot and some spare fabric before I got started. Having never used one before it seemed a bit ‘clumsy’ and tricky to manoeuvre. It was fine on the straight but I did struggle a bit with corners. If anyone has any tips to pass on I’m all ears!
I didn’t have to worry about corners to begin with since the first step was to stitch the shoulder seams. They were very short seams too so that broke me in gently.
Gertie recommends stabilising the shoulder seams with clear elastic (which I’d bought) but since these shoulder seams were so short I didn’t think it was worth bothering with.
Once the shoulder seams were done it was just a matter of stitching the sleeves in, and then sewing the front to the back and continuing along the sleeve.
It was all pretty straightforward and I think the walking foot made a difference.
I don’t have an overlocker so I finished my seams with an overcast stitch which seemed to look OK.
The last bit was the most difficult for me.
Gertie says to use a ‘serged and turned’ finish for the neckline which I did struggle with. I used my overcast stitch to finish the edge and tried to turn a hem which sort of worked after a fashion. I ended up with a bit of a birds nest of thread which took a bit of neatening up. I think my problems were mainly to do with the angle of the neck at the shoulder seams. I was also still using my walking foot which I found difficult to manoeuvre around the tight edges.
The sleeves weren’t too difficult and my first attempt at twin needling were quite good if I say so myself.
All in all I think it all turned out pretty well.
One major problem was that I cut the wrong size for me. I discovered I need an 8 rather than a 6 in these patterns, but luckily it fits my daughter really nicely.
I’ll leave you with some pictures of her wearing it.
Although I haven’t made anything else from the book yet I think it’s great value. I’ve already eyed up several more pieces I’d like to make, which I’m sure will be quite quick to knock up. I particularly like the idea of being able to make up a few T shirts and tops for the summer.