Pig-headed: adjective, stupidly stubborn

Jersey Top

The grey one. Dark grey. No, grey. THE GREY ONE!

This was me, jabbing a finger at the brown and white polka dot jersey. A clever salesperson is one who doesn’t point out that the customer is a colour-blind idiot. And Goldhawk Road is full of clever salespeople.

So, this is my latest attempt to get to grips with knit fabrics. Long-term readers will know that me and knit fabrics aren’t a good combination. I just can’t seem to make them work for me!

This wasn’t so bad, though. I had to add a couple of (mismatched) darts at the neckline as it was gaping. Why, why, why?! This made me furious at the time, though now I could pretty much care less. Well, until next time.

I worked from the What A Waist pattern from Sew U Home Stretch, adding a couple of inches to the length and omitting the elasticated waist. I made ruched sleeves, following the tutorial from All Style And All Substance. These take a bit of head-scratching, I’m not gonna deny it, but I love the effect.

Sleeve detail

I do want to feel comfortable sewing jersey, as this item is an undoubted workhorse. I also need to break out of my continuing reluctance to make FBAs. Why, why, why?! It adds, at most, 30 minutes to the process.

Readers, why am I so pig-headed? Do you have a stubborn streak or blind spot in your sewing?

Sew U Home Stretch top

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64 Responses to Pig-headed: adjective, stupidly stubborn

  1. ooobop! says:

    Oh wow. This is such a gorgeous top on you. You have made stretch jersey into something far more glamorous! And I love those sleeves. I have battles with myself in my head all the time!

  2. I can be the same way, skipping steps I know I should do because I think I’m smart and can save a few steps. By the way, I think that top looks fabulous anyway.

  3. Laura Cahill says:

    The sleeves are just gorgeous! Lovely top!

  4. Becky says:

    Well, I don’t know what your problems have been in the past, but this certainly works for you. Great top, and yes, I skip steps all the time with things, and then I wonder why I am so stupid when I have messed it up. Human nature, I suppose.

  5. Rachel says:

    That is definitely grey!

  6. Bec Stitches says:

    You look gorgeous in this top!:)

  7. Katie M says:

    I too really want to be able to sew with knits, but I have no idea at all. I think I need to find a good class in London to get me started. I don’t suppose anyone has suggestions for a class (preferably in North London)? It’s a really pretty top, and I love the sleeves. By the way, what are “FBAs”?

  8. Isn’t ‘The customer is always right’ coming into play here? I too love the sleeves – they elevate a classic t into something special.
    To Katie M – it is in South London but I can’t recommend Morley College highly enough. I travelled from Worcestershire to do their Pattern Magic courses!

  9. mreesy says:

    Love the top and it looks lovely on you

  10. lisa g says:

    this is a great top! love those polka dots, and the sleeve detail keeps it interesting. yeah there’s always little things i’m pig-headed about… for me it’s basting. i hate doing it and always try to avoid! some times it’s okay… sometimes not so much…

  11. Clio says:

    Here’s a great vid from Sarah Veblen on binding knit necklines so that they do not gape: http://www.threadsmagazine.com/item/3839/video-a-neckline-binding-for-knits

  12. Tamsin W-P says:

    Your top looks fabulous and the sleeves work really well – a great detail. I think the darts make the sleeve look a bit like a raglan sleeve….

  13. joanfrankham says:

    I love the sleeves, very different.

  14. oonaballoona says:

    lady, you keep this up and you’re going to get a modeling contract.

  15. Julie Cruickshank says:

    Love this top! Especially the sleeves. What a clever lady! I still have a dress to hem made three weeks ago in the last warm spell. It keeps looking at me and all I see is my grandma’s wrap around pinny! Suppose my stubborn streak is not finishing something I’m not happy with…..then I think of the waste of money and feel guilty!

    • Anne-Marie says:

      Finish it, put it on – if you are still not happy with it take it to the nearest Salvation Army or other charity shop and consider it your good deed for the week!

  16. EmSewCrazy says:

    Those sleeves are the best! I really want to try them on some of my fall shirts. Super cute fabric too, whatever color it is. There are some things I don’t make or put off making because they will be “hard” Maybe if I spent more time reading the directions…

  17. Cool sleeves Karen. I love that top. To me it’s chocolate brown 😉 I never measure the flat pattern and the wonder why I need to make adjustments!

  18. Zoe says:

    Stunning sleeves!!!! Umm, my only thoughts on the neckline issue, are you making sure your neck binding strips is shorter than the neck hole measurement? Or are you careful not to stretch out the raw edged neck hole before it gets bound? Sorry I’m not sure I can help. I think you really need to persevere with knits though coz this is a FAB garment! xxx

  19. Joanne says:

    I love this top, the sleeves take it from great casual wardrobe staple to post work cocktails – they are fabulous and so very graceful. Very flattering altogether – you look wonderful!

  20. the polka top looks great! I have a blind spot when it comes to jersey and I am so critical about my own sewing. I’m planning on going to a class on jersey to see if I can concor my fear.

  21. Dalila says:

    Thanks for the tutorial! I’ll try that soon : )

    About knits… Patience! I was exactly like you, and ruined a couple of fabrics in the process, but after a few tweaks now I have a pattern that I can trust. Now I just play with neclines, lenght of sleeves and details. Since I already have the pattern, it doesn’t take longer than 1 hour from cutting to finishing a tee.

    By the way, I used the tee pattern of that same book you’re using. One of the tweaks I made was to take in more less 2cm in the waist, otherwise the result is too boxy and not flattering.

  22. sewexhausted says:

    Love the ruched sleeves. And the polka dots… I think it looks great. And I find that I am always harder on my own garments than those around me. Probably because every mistake I make SHOUTS at me no matter how tiny it is! ~Laurie

  23. I bought Sew U Home Stretch in Feb 2010. Still haven’t tried using stretch, but feel encouraged and somewhat challenged now! The sleeves look great, as do the spots. Have you tried shopping for stretch on-line at Tissu? http://tissufabrics.co.uk/fabric-store/ I have bought fleece from them a couple of times, the prices are reasonable, and they sell a lot of stretch – including polka dots in many colours!

  24. Lovely. Doesn’t look brown on my screen either! Check out katie kadiddlehopper’s blog as she does a cheater knit fba that I know a few others have used and had success with

  25. Stephanie says:

    Hmm.. my vote is that this is taupe! Love the ruching you achieved on the sleeve – very elegant!

  26. Maryann says:

    Love, love, LOVE the ruched sleeves.

  27. Julie says:

    Grey is really your colour! I avoid stretch like the plague, yet in doing so I know I will never learn how to sew it.

  28. Ha you make me laugh girl. Yes I’m equally as pig headed. Others would have given up sewing yrs ago but I persist. When I see you’ve made something like this though I wonder if I will ever improve. Love, love, love those sleeves. Very clever. I did that FBA a couple of times but found cutting a 14 from sleeve up & 18 from bottom of sleeve worked prob because my tummy is full too! I’m a hopelessly lazy sewist.

  29. Catherine says:

    yes, Jersey is a big no for me. A stable knit like ponte de roma i love but not slinky fabrics that move too much. If i got a hold of a serger, i might try knits, but they aren’t really my style. too drapy and saggy and bleh

  30. Jeanette says:

    Oh I love those sleeves! And yes, I am too so pig headed about certain things, FBA’s included…and I don’t know why either!

  31. sewamysew says:

    That shoulder detail is gorgeous and so flattering. Grey, brown, charcoal? Maybe I’m colour blind too!

  32. I’m a little bit dotty about spots at the moment. Not making anything yet, but scheming spotty fabric purchases. I did my first FBA this week and the first toile was amazing, I just needed to drop the darts. Which begs the question, do you lower the darts and then do the FBA, or FBA away and deal with the dart placement at the end?

  33. Philippa says:

    I never want to do FBA either (see my latest post where front ended up completely diffent size to back!). I think it’s because it’s the sewing I enjoy. I have no interest in manipulating bits of tissue!

  34. ZoSews says:

    That looks fantastic on you!!

  35. Do you know what the key to knits is? The ironing of the seams ie the first time you put the iron anywhere near it, as you are sewing. It is absolutely foolproof and the necks won’t gape. But this looks lovely on you and the sleeves look great.

  36. Jean says:

    Very flattering top. Love the sleeve detail and that necklace you are wearing is just gorgeous.

  37. yosami says:

    Beautiful top and I love the sleeves! I’m not happy sewing knits either.

  38. Meagan says:

    Love, Love, Love the sleeves. Why don’t my knit tops look that trendy and great!

  39. Shelly says:

    What a great top; the sleeves are beautiful! I can’t see why you have a problem with knits, it looks fantastic to me 🙂

  40. Tiffany says:

    Nice top, I love the sleeve detail and your accessories. I’m new to sewing and found your blog this week. Your projects give me hope for the future. (sigh)

  41. Ayana says:

    This is really beautiful–I love the way the ruched sleeves make a knit fabric look almost like chiffon in its drapey-ness. I thought this was grey too…but what a great story!

  42. liza jane says:

    I would call that color “mink.” Halfway between grey and brown. Love those ruched sleeves. This top was worth the headache!

  43. Into your head: knits are EASY. Lightly hold the knit on both sides of the needle as it feeds through the machine, barely, just barely, stretching as you sew. No seam finishing! No hems if you want it that way! FBA: Palmer/Plesch or Sure Fit Designs. That said, you ended with an absolutely fabulous top, so see? It pays to persevere.

  44. Trixie Lixie says:

    I bought the sewing with knits tutorial from craftsy, it is excellent!

  45. Melizza says:

    I’m late to this party but I just wanted to chime in and say how gorgeous this top it. You look so darn lovely in it!

  46. edj3 says:

    Are we sisters separated by the ocean? I hate, hate, HATE sewing with knits but I am determined to master the dang things. And I know I need to master FBAs (narrow back, large chest = fitting woes) but I cannot make myself do that just yet.

    Here’s a thought: You master those FBAs and write out the steps in even more excruciating details than the one series you did. Then I’ll learn 😉

  47. Kathleen says:

    The top is lovely. If you ever do a FBA on a knit, would you mind posting about it? It seems to be the bane of my existence. I’ve read some of the other sewing blogs but it seems I need something explained to me 10 times in 10 different ways before it clicks. 🙂

  48. Louise says:

    Those sleeves are great. I haven’t tried sewing with stretch jersey yet far too much of a beginner for that. But I love your posts they are so funny, and I feel encourage to buy a small amount of jersey and have a play now.

  49. Lovely top. I love the sleeves, it makes the top more dressy. Am tempted to get Sew U Home Stretch. I bought some red polka dot jersey from Stones and am waiting for the right project.

  50. Ripleygirl says:

    Having just made my 3rd woven top in a row that pulls too tightly across the madams, I’m with edj3 here (3 comments up). Perhaps we should challenge you to run an FBA sew-along Karen…?!

  51. Sarah Liz says:

    I made my first knit garment recently (it’s on my blog sewstyle.wordpress.com) and I think that the feel and technique is so different from sewing wovens that it seems difficult sewing with knits – plus the edges curl up, which is annoying. But you really can’t go wrong with them – they are very forgiving as well.

  52. I’m stubborn (and ADHD). choose to not pin the pieces together frequently to save time… this is a dangerous step to skip, I know. I’m an amateur, what can I say. Love your blog. I hope you don’t mind if I add it to my “inspiration” list.

  53. boldlygold says:

    Hello! I just wanted to let you know that I’ve nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award 🙂 You’re doing a fantastic job! Here is a link to all of the instructions:http://boldlygold.com/2013/09/25/versatile-blogger-award/

    Amy x

  54. Jen M says:

    I don’t know about you, but the reason *I* resist doing proper FBAs is that it always seems like after it is done, the top is then too big everywhere else. Like, all I need is a little extra room in the bust, but I end up with a bust that fits, and the rest of the piece no longer does. So I buy the multi-cup-size patterns, or princess seam patterns, which are easier to just add a little bit in the strategic locations. Like a previous commenter said, I like to sew, not to futz around with tissue 😉

  55. quiltyknitwit says:

    Really cute top – in fact I could see myself wearing it! I hate sewing knits so I don’t. Maybe someday someone can teach me how to do it without stretching the fabric like mad.

  56. mary says:

    Gorgeous ruched sleeves! Have you tried knits from http://www.organiccottonplus.com, they are great to work with and environmentally friendly too!

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