As I continue to expand my sewing skills, one of the goals I have is to try out different kinds of fabric. One type of fabric that I would really like to try out is merino wool knit. It tends to be prohibitively expensive for me, so I haven’t tried it yet, but I thought that trying out another wool knit would be a good start. Before Christmas, Fabric Mart had a wool/Lycra jersey from an activewear manufacturer as one of their daily deals. In the interest of helping my wonderful husband with his Christmas shopping, I tipped him off to this and–surprise!–it showed up for me on Christmas! (He’s the best!) 😉
Because of the truly awesome deal that this was, I got a good amount of yardage (4 yards), and made plans to make it into both an activewear top and a t-shirt at some point. Today’s project is my activewear top–McCall’s 7261, View B.
I started with this because I knew I could wear it over another shirt in case it was itchy, and I often want a light long-sleeved layer to wear over my sleeveless workout top until I get warmed up. Also, in all honesty, I was hoping that by sewing more activewear I would be more motivated to get to the gym. I’ve been doing a lot of walking outside, but I would also like to do some strength training…it’s just so hard to go in when it’s sunny and not bitterly cold out…or you’re busy…and stuff.
So, enough talking–on to the project.
I’m really happy with this one. The only adjustment I had to make was to grade out from a 16 at the bust to an 18 at the waist and hips. The fit is good, but with enough ease to be comfortable and to easily fit over another shirt. The good news about the fabric is that it isn’t itchy. When you touch it with your hand, you think it will be, but when you wear it, it isn’t. Surprises me every time. 🙂
The shirt has raglan sleeves and princess seams as well as a drapey cowl neck that crosses over in the front. The cuffs are extra long and have thumb holes. The front hem is also higher than the back.
The thumb holes are probably the only part I would adjust if I made this again. I think they need to be a little bit larger, have a stretch stitch around them (which may or may not be necessary if the thumb holes are larger), and maybe be repositioned a bit. The sleeves twist a little when I use them as they’re positioned now. I do love having them however, and these adjustments are minor in the grand scheme of things. When I’m not using the thumb holes, I fold the cuffs over on themselves.
For my hem and around the join of the cowl and the neck, I used a twin needle to add stretch and look professional. Also, I’m super excited that I actually know how to use a twin needle on my machine now. It took me forever to figure it out!
I like that the seams are double stitched (the seams are first sewn with a straight stitch and then with a zigzag stitch in the seam allowance). The straight stitch gives a nice clean line at the seams, but the zigzag backs you up when those straight stitches inevitably pop a bit. If you had a serger, these things probably wouldn’t be an issue, but I don’t, and this doesn’t really bother me all that much. In the hopes of maybe giving my seams a little extra stretch, I used woolly nylon thread in my bobbin and normal polyester thread in the top. I also used a jersey needle and a walking foot. This is just me trying out different things, though. I think you would also be fine using regular polyester thread throughout, a jersey or stretch needle, and a normal foot.
And finally, one more thing in the category of…I don’t know…things I’m trying to motivate myself to do, I guess. So, along with getting to the gym, I’ve been having trouble motivating myself to take blog photos. My husband has been taking my pictures a lot lately, but I’m sure becoming my Instagram Husband wasn’t really on his list of life goals (although he is always willing to help out), so I’m trying to motivate myself to take more and better blog photos. It’s a process, people, and I am no model. So, today’s photoshoot is brought to you by the use of props and humor. They came out a little blurry, but I did have fun!
- Traditional folk costumes are fascinating, and I love a good dirndl. Back when Gretchen of Gertie’s Blog for Better Sewing got into them, I vicariously went along for the ride and, thanks to her, discovered Lena Hoschek’s beautiful dirndls. Some women want a chance to make a fancy dress, but I think I really want a reason to make a dirndl. I’m saving up ideas for now over on Pinterest. 😉
- And, since we’re on the subject of folk costumes, I also always wanted to make a costume to go to Tulip Time in Holland, MI. I’ve been to a few tulip time festivals, but I always thought it would be fun to make my own costume. I have to say though, that at this point, the dirndls are a lot more likely to get made. They’re winning in the ‘beauty’ and ‘scope for imagination’ categories. A lot of the American Tulip Time costumes that I’ve seen are a snapshot in time while the German and Austrian dirndls are an ongoing, living tradition. I admit to having no knowledge of tulip festivals in the actual Netherlands.
- Well, since we’re talking folk costumes, we might as well mention Folkwear patterns. Their patterns represent the traditional clothing of different cultures and times in history. I’ve never tried any, but have had fun perusing their offerings. Have you ever sewn with one of these patterns?
- And now for something completely different. This video is a repeat, but every time I wear workout clothes/activewear (especially when I’m not actually exercising), I think of this video. It’s also where I got the title for this post. 😉
Ohh merino wool knit – one day I too will find some of this at a price point I’m willing to pay – I like your idea of trying out your skills on other wool knits first. (and well done to your husband for a great Christmas present). I love the way this top turned out – and your pictures don’t look at all fuzzy to me!
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Great job on the top! Love the action shots. You have worn a Dutch Costume (but were far too young to make it) and have been in Holland, Michigan’s Tulip Time parade. 😎 You were adorable and quite a star!!
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Thanks! I do remember the pictures of me (and you) from then, and I borrowed that costume in Lynden, too. Maybe I’ll make my own someday. 😉
Love the color of this top and thumb holes are my favorite! Your bouncing pics are so cute and fun!!!
I’ll be happy to provide an excuse to make a dirndl. I wear mine at least once a year (international day at my school) and sometimes if we have book character day, I’ll go as Heidi! Could use another one, just sayin!
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Hahahaha! Thanks! You’re a good friend. Unfortunately…I was thinking of making one friend myself… 😉