When I was looking for inspiration for a Christmas party outfit a few months ago, I ran across a neon pink velvet camisole on the J.Crew website. The fabric was so beautiful! I really wanted some fabric with that level of color. It was amazing! I ended up making a top in chartreuse silk for the party, but I couldn’t get that fabric out of my mind. I finally found some neon pink stretch velvet on Amazon and put it on my personal wish list, not knowing quite what I would make from it. I was torn between two patterns, so I put a note with the yardage I would need for each pattern, saying that I would love either amount. One of my friends got me some for my birthday, and that decided it–the amount she got me was perfect for another version of New Look 6560, View A, the same pattern I used to make my silk party shirt.
This pattern is meant for wovens, but I wanted to try it in this knit because I thought it would make a really fun shirt. There were a few ups and downs, but in the end, I arrived at a top that I’m happy with. And I was right about the fabric–it really is fun.
The fabric I used is 90% polyester, 10% spandex, and was surprisingly easy to sew. Thankfully, I remembered to cut it with the nap running down. Sometimes I just completely forget to pay attention to things like nap or pattern matching! I used a regular zigzag stitch with a width of 2.5 and a length of 1.0, my lightest presser foot pressure, normal tension, and a 75/11 stretch needle. I skipped interfacing the facings. I used all-purpose Dual Duty Coats & Clark 100% polyester thread in the needle and woolly/bulky nylon in my bobbin. I’ve been using woolly nylon a lot in my bobbin on knits, something I do when sewing bathing suits, and it has worked out really well, giving my seams a little extra stretch.
I put everything together, but didn’t bother to finish many seams because they won’t fray. I love that about knits. It saves so much time! I sewed for most (ok, pretty much all) of the afternoon one Saturday and got the shirt done before bed time! Then I tried it on…and it looked like crap. Granted, I was trying it on over another shirt I was wearing, but it didn’t seem like a win.
I spent some time thinking about what I could do. I had completely forgotten to stabilize the shoulders, so I went back and did that by sewing clear elastic to the seam allowances and then stitching the seam allowances down with some topstitching. The facings kept flipping out, so I tacked those down (and then went back and tacked down the facings on my chartreuse version as well). Now what?
The back, the belt, and the sleeves seemed good. The front was the problem. I thought about putting in a center front seam and making it a nice-looking v-neck. I realized after posting that idea to Instagram that people thought I was going to leave the excess fabric in front, which was an idea I actually hadn’t considered, although it did look interesting.
I also posted a picture of it as the original wrap, and it looked better than I remembered (first picture after the pattern pictures). Maybe I shouldn’t have evaluated it while wearing it over top of another shirt like I did right after finishing it. 😉 So, I decided I would keep it as the original wrap after all, and I wore it to church, but kept feeling like I had to arrange and rearrange the front (luckily I was wearing a camisole under it). What if I just sewed the wrap shut? It’s stretchy enough that I can pull it on over my head, so I don’t need it to actually wrap. It seemed worth a try, so I sewed the top layer shut and tacked the bottom layer down.
I tied it shut inside, leaving everything intact in case I wanted to undo the stitching. I wore the shirt to work this week, and it was so much easier and more pleasant to wear when I didn’t have to constantly rearrange the front! I think this is the way to go. It’s definitely not my best or most beautiful sewing–there are still some wonky parts, but I’m happy with it, and I have found that the sleeves are nicer in this knit than the silk, since they stay at my wrist bones, due to the heavier weight of the knit. On the silk, they work their way up above my wrist bones throughout the day, which I don’t love.
I wanted this shirt to be one that I reached for because it felt good to wear, not one that was just fun because the fabric was interesting. Now that I don’t have to constantly fix it while I’m wearing it, I think that my goal has been achieved. Hooray!