Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Completed: Another MN Ruched Maternity Tee

This make is so hot off the press, I literally just finished them hem, pressed it, took some photos and then immediately sat down to blog it!

I am not winking here - the light from the window is reflecting on my glasses! :)
I LIKE being on maternity leave!

I finished up work last Thursday. I am actually officially on holiday just now, as I have about 3 weeks of annual leave before the Mat leave kicks in. I'm finding it a bit strange. I knew I wanted to finish up about 4 weeks before I was due, as I just needed some time to wind down, get organised, and spend some quality time by myself and with my Small Boy. I have spent the last month or so waiting on this very week and now that I'm here I'm finding it a bit of an anti-climax. I had promised myself Friday to literally do nothing. To relax without feeling guilty. No housework, no worrying about anything, no sewing, no cooking. Nothing. I got to about 1.30 before the sewing machine was out. Lying about is all very well in principal but by lunchtime I'd caught up with my bloglovin unread list, I'd spent time browsing Pinterest and I'd read all my emails. And I had a sore back from sitting on the sofa.

So Friday afternoon saw me retracing this pattern, cutting out the fabric and then sewing it together. This morning I finished the neckline, sleeve and hem.

After the sleeve issues of my last version of this top, I decided to do something much simpler this time, and I simply added kimono sleeves instead. I also raised the neckline to a bateau shape. For both the sleeves and the neckline, I used the Maria Denmark Kimono Tee pattern. The rest of the pattern is the Megan Nielsen Ruched Maternity Tee. This mash up of patterns worked perfectly and I am much happier with this version. The first version is OK, and I have worn it quite a bit, but the neckline is too low and I am forever tugging at it to ensure no one gets an eyeful. I'm also not keen on the sleeves. But it is wearable - albeit it did tend to get worn more for work than casual. This version is 100% casual-tastic and I'm really happy with it. Plus, only 2 pattern pieces when you get rid of the sleeves!

The fabric is this merino jersey from Fabric Godmother, which is 100% viscose. I had originally ordered a swatch of the tangerine, which was a gorgeous dark orangey colour but unfortunately Josie advised that not only has she stocked out, but that the manufacturer was no longer producing the colour. Why? Don't they know how "trendy" orange is this summer? (I am seriously lusting after orange lipstick after having seen it in quite a few magazines). Anyway, the royal blue is an absolutely beautiful rich colour, so a good substitute. The fabric is lovely. Very drapey, with a good amount of stretch which is required for this pattern. The handle is lovely and although it can be a bit slippery to cut and sew, it presses and hangs beautifully. I would definitely use this again. Somewhat annoyingly between ordering the swatch and ordering the fabric, Josie also put her prices up, but I guess that's just a sign of the times these days! And the fabric is still very affordable at £10 per metre. I bought 1.5m but was able to make the kimono sleeve version in less than a metre.

Other than the alterations to the neckline and sleeves, the other changes this time were as follows:- I made it 100% on my sewing machine using my stretch stitch; I used Stitch Witchery on the neckline; and I used a twin stretch needle on neckline, sleeve and hem. This was my first time using Stitch Witchery, which was recommended for the neckline in the pattern. I found it a bit faffy to apply to a curved neckline. I managed to weld a good amount of it directly to my iron. But it did work well, once I worked out a system for applying it. It's stiffer than I expected but on the neckline that's fine. I bought the Stitch Witchery from here.

A nice even Stitch Witcheried and twin needle stitched neckline. I am so proud of this.
It was also my first attempt at a twin needle and honestly I have no idea why I was so scared! It worked perfectly first time. I do have some ever-so-slight tunnelling but nothing major, and it's not too noticeable. I was worried about sewing from the right side, but I devised a system to get round this: I turned up and pressed a 1/2 inch seam allowance, then sewed it at a bit less, lining the edge of my presser foot up with the turned hem. I then trimmed away the excess seam allowance on the inside once done. This is probably not what you are meant to do, but it worked well for me!

Twin needled hem from the right side ( bit wobbly there, whoops!)

And from the inside, where I've trimmed any excess seam allowance away
In case you haven't used a twin needle before, here is how it works on my machine (Brother Innovis 10). You thread the machine as normal, threading the left needle manually (the needle threader doesn't work with this needle). The machine comes with an extra "spool pin", which you attach to the bobbin winder on the top of the machine. You put your second thread spool (as you can see I actually just used a bobbin, which worked fine) here, thread the machine as normal excluding the needle bar thread guide (labelled 6 on my particular machine), and manually thread the right needle. Load up your bobbin and you are ready to go! I used the straight stitch, and set it slightly longer - 3.5 versus the default stitch length of 2.5. And that was it! Easy peasy!

My second thread sitting on top of the spare thread pin on top of the bobbin winder.

The view from above - 2 threads.
You can just see here that the left needle thread goes through the thread bar whereas the right needle thread does not.
I bought a Schmetz 2.5 stretch twin needle from here. I had no idea that there were different widths of twin needle until I looked online; the width refers to the gap between the needles. I had no idea what size to go for, so went for the 2.5. It's fine, but comparing it to some RTW items, their twin stitching (which no doubt will have been done by coverstitch) is much wider spaced. I might buy a wider one in future, but I suspect my barely there tunnelling is probably down to having the 2 needles very close together. If anyone knows of the benefits of a narrower or wider needle, please let me know in the comments below! Or if you have any comments about using a twin needle in general, please let me know!

Now, I wonder what I'll do this afternoon, while I count down the hours to the Sewing Bee final!??!

Edit - since writing this post originally, Colette posted about twin needle use, and then I came across this link, which is even better I think. Both are definitely worth checking out!


  1. That neckline is amazing! It looks so professional. And THANK YOU for the twin needle info - I have a free day today (and it's raining, so a guilt-free indoor day) and I'm going to put it all into practice immediately.
    I love what you've done with the kimono sleeves, they look great! And that colour is glorious :) Hope you get much wear out of it as you enjoy your time off

    1. Thanks, and glad you've found this useful! I always assume that everyone else knows this kind of stuff already so nice to know I'm not alone! :)

  2. Wow, it looks beautifully made and I love that colour (wearing it too right now). I have the same problem with my twin needle - that I get slight tunneling. Its not too bad but it's put me off using twin needles so now I just finish everything with a stretch stitch. I'd be interested to know if find any tips tho!!

  3. I've never used a twin needle, stitch witchery, OR done anything really with stretch fabric. I sew but I also don't know a ton about it - I guess I thought you had to have a serger to sew anything stretchy. The neckline came out beautifully!
    Miche from Buttons and Birdcages

  4. Fab neckline. Enjoy your Mat leave.

  5. To avoid tunnelling lower the tension on your machine from 5 to about 2. It really helps! You are looking fab!

  6. You top looks great! So glad you found my twin needle articles helpful!


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