Seamingly Smitten Lesley Flutter Top for Women Sew Along Day 5

Welcome to day 5 of our sew along!  Today's focus: neckline.  If you are using bias tape that you made yourself you should have that done from yesterday.  Well, at least that was the original plan on the schedule.  But you see, I just realized I completely forgot to add that in on yesterday's post!  Oops...bad sew along hostess...hangs head in shame!  So, if you are going to make your own bias tape, go ahead and get that prepared first.  If you are using store bought bias tape, unpackage it and get it ready to go.  Not using bias tape?  Well then you are up.  We are going to get started while the bias tape users get their tape ready.

For those hemming, you are continuing on with step #7 in the pattern.  You are going to take one piece of your shirt over to the ironing board with wrong side facing up.  Fold that neckline down 1/4" to the wrong side and press.  

fold towards wrong side 1/4" and press

Now, depending on what type of fabric you are using it is quite possible your friendly neighborhood sailor could enter the room here.  If you have no idea what I am talking about then I bow to you, you are a better woman than me!  If you know exactly what I'm talking about, then I hold my glass of wine up and toast to you...know that you are not alone! Knits can be...trying...with hems at times, especially thin ones that love to roll. There are a couple of things you can do here to help yourself out and attempt to keep that sailor out of the sewing room. First is starch...starch like there is no tomorrow.  This will help to firm up the fabric some and make it easier to create that small hem.  Here's what I have:

 I picked this up in bulk at my local Sam's Club.

I picked this up in bulk at my local Sam's Club.

The other is using a little bit of knit interfacing.  No matter the way you choose to go, just go slow, pressing well as you go through the curve.  Once you get that first fold done, then you are going to fold over another 1/4".  This one will likely prove a little more difficult than the first so take your time...have a sip of wine (sewing in the morning or during the day?  That's's 5 o'clock somewhere...and I won't tell!)..and just ease your way around that curve pressing really well as you go.  

turned under 1/4" and then another 1/4"

Once you get that done it's time to step over to the machine and stitch that hem down.  Now the pattern calls for you to pin that neckline hem and then sew and that's great if that works for you.  I don't love using pins if I can avoid them and really prefer not to use them on knits.  Instead I love my Clover Wonder clips.  They are a little pricey, but were well worth it to me.  With the clips I don't have to worry about having special pins for knits to prevent making holes in my fabric and they work much better in my opinion on holding those small hems like we are working with here.  Don't know what I'm talking about, here's a few pics:

This is the box of 50 Clover Wonder Clips.  I got mine on Amazon for about $20.00.

top view

side view.  see how the bottom is flat so everything still lays well with the clips on.

So once you have that first neckline done you are going to repeat with the other piece of your top.

Okay, it's time to welcome back those that are using bias tape on their neckline.  So we are at step #10 in the pattern.  We will be joining the front and back of our shirt together.  This applies to those that hemmed as well as those using bias tape.  Go ahead and place the front and back pieces of your top with right sides facing.  Pin (or clip) the shoulders and take over to the machine and sew together with a 3/8" SA.  

right sides together, clip/pin at shoulders, sew with 3/8"SA

Then seam finish those raw edges however you prefer...or leave them as is if you are using knit since it won't fray.  It's totally up to you.  Sometimes I serge my raw edges with knit, sometimes I don't.  Once you have your front and back sewn together at the shoulders, if you hemmed your neckline you are done for today.  WAHOO!!  If you are using bias tape on that neckline, you are up!

For our bias tape users you will be looking at steps #12-14 in the pattern.  The pattern calls for double fold bias tape.  You will be sandwiching that neckline in between the bias tape.  Start at one shoulder seam and work your way around pinning (or clipping) in place.  When you get back around to where you started, overlap your bias tape about a 1/2".  You are ready to head over to the machine and stitch in place.  Stitch close to the fold of the bias tape but be sure you are catching all the fabric layers so take your time.  Once you have this sewn down in order to hide the bias tape you will fold it to the inside and stitch around the neckline one last time.

Those are the instructions from the pattern, but I have to admit, here's a spot where I don't do exactly what the directions say.  Here's what I do.  I head on over to my machine with my top and my bias tape.  I get my neckline sandwiched in between the bias tape and about 1" from the shoulder seam I begin sewing it on to my shirt.  I still make sure that I have extra at this end of the bias tape though.  So when I am sandwiching it all together, I make sure the end of my bias tape goes past the shoulder seam at least a 1/2" because remember, we need to have overlap at the ends of the bias tape where they meet.  

make sure you leave that overhang at the shoulder seam

Okay, so I am faking it here in that picture for you since I didn't use bias tape, but just pretend I actually have two pieces sewn together at the shoulder here.  I start sewing about 1" below the seam (below the black arrow on the picture).

I go nice and slow making sure to keep a nice even stitch line as well as making sure my sandwich stays in place and all layers of fabric are being caught as I sew.  When I make it back around to the shoulder seam where I started, I will stop about 1" away from the seam.  (I DO backstitch at the beginning and end here because you will need to remove your top from the machine and re-position for this next step.)  At this point I take my two overlapping ends and I make a mark where they meet at that shoulder seam.  

ends of bias tape overlapping.  your stitching would stop about 1' away from the shoulder seam on both sides.

open up bias tape strip on top and mark

open up bias tape strip on bottom and mark

Once I have the pieces marked, I open up the bias tape pieces, flip them right sides together and sew them at the spot I marked where they met at the shoulder seam line.  I trim that SA down to about 1/4", press the seam out, fold my bias tape back, sandwich in the last bit of my neckline and finish attaching the rest of the bias tape.  Then as the directions state, I fold that to the inside and stitch in place.

again, I'm faking it so pretend those strips are sewn together!

This gives you nice matching seam lines.  This is perfect for when you don't want to hide your bias tape.

That's it ladies.  You are done for today.  Necklines can be tricky.  Give yourself a pat on the back and admire your pretty neckline.

See you back here tomorrow!
Up tomorrow: Contrasting band (for those that chose this option), hemming armholes, joining the sides and checking for fit.