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Monday, March 16, 2009

Knit top directions

Ok, here are directions on how I made my knit top (please ignore the stoned look - working with a timer!). 
First, I cut six 1/2 inch wide strips from selvage to selvage (60" wide fabric means 60" strips).  I just eyeballed this as I cut.  The fabric rolled so much, measuring the strips would have driven me nuts!
Next, I braided these into two long braids, knotting the ends.  I didn't finish the edges at all.  The fabric curls, so it was like braiding tubes.  I tried to keep the cut edges to the back of the braid but didn't stress too much about it.  I used heavy sewing scissors to hold down the braid as I worked.
Ok, actually I first made one braid that was too narrow for my liking.  You can see the first one at the top, compared to the bottom two, which I used.
Then, I cut out two identical pieces for the front and back.  Here's a little schematic of the measurements I used.  It's basically a T-shape with the underarms rounded off.  For reference, I have a 36" bust and was easily able to get these pieces and the braid strips out of one yard of fabric.  There's not much leftover, though.  :-) 
Finally, the construction:
1.  sewed the side and underarm seams on sewing machine.
2.  tacked top of sleeve ends together and the areas on the shoulders that I wanted joined (leaving slits open over the edge of the shoulders and upper arms).  I tried the top on and pinned to decide where to sew the top of the shoulders together.  Clear as mud?
3.  hand sewed the braid on, one braid on front and one braid on back.  They turned out to be the perfect length (lucky!).  The braids join at the under-side of the sleeves.  I machine-sewed the ends of the braid to the shirt under the sleeves and cut off the knots.  I sewed both edges of the braid down to the shirt to make sure it lays flat, and where the shirt front and back are sewn together on the machine, I hand sewed the two sides of braid together over the shirt seam as well.
4.  hand sewed the hem.  If you have a coverstitch machine or are less neurotic than me, there's no reason you'd have to hand-sew this part.  :-)

Here is the final top, laid flat to see the shape.
If anyone actually makes a version of this, let me know!  


BeeBee said...

Thanks for the tutorial, Jenny. Gotta say it's a great knock off for a $350 (!!) top! I'm about your size (um, without the belly) so this could be really easy. If I get around to doing it, I'll let you know how it turns out. It looks much harder and upscale than the construction would lead you to believe.

BeeBee said...

Back to ask "how wide from edge of sleeve to edge of sleeve?"

Alicia said...

A little late, but I instantly recognized the shirt you're copying because I absolutely adored the braid detail on it. You did a fantastic job and I hope to borrow the idea from you this summer. :) Thanks for posting how you did it!

Alicia (kitnrose on SG)