This post is a little long, so I want to note up top that the coveted army-green Porter Bin is back in the shop today as of 9am CT, along with another special treat. And you can also now find the army Porter at these fine stores!
Technically, this is a premature FO post since these two garments aren’t 100% finished yet — they both need their topstitching, and the striped one needs a hem — but I’m so excited about them I couldn’t wait to share. Why?
I serged them!
You may recall I bought a serger in August* of last year and it’s been in the box ever since. In my defense, I hadn’t sewn at all, anything, between last August and the beginning of June. These are two of the four garments I cut out when I had a little cutting party one Sunday a couple of months ago, thinking if there were stuff ready to sew, I might actually sew again. And I did proceed to sew the white linen top that got cut that day, but the other three (all knits) have sat at the end of my ironing board, neatly bundled and so very appealing, but just … waiting. I think the whole reason I wasn’t sewing is I didn’t want to sew stuff — knits especially — on my regular machine when I had a serger, but I didn’t know how to use the serger and didn’t have time to figure it out. So instead of that purchase increasing my sewing productivity, it brought it to a screeching halt.
At long last, this week I scheduled time to go back to Craft South and take the lesson that came with the purchase of the machine. I showed up for my serger lesson on Wednesday without my serger, because that’s the kind of day I was having — the kind of day where I would normally prohibit myself from sewing, because sewing and a foul disposition are the worst possible combination — but I wasn’t letting anything stop me from finally getting that machine out of its box and learning how to use it.
Bob brought the machine to me, Michelle showed me how to thread it and use it and, clumsy and fog-brained, I fumbled my way through the afternoon. And within a couple of hours, bam!, two knit tops with serged seams. Homemade tees and sweatshirts here I come!
. . .
The grey top is a modified Hemlock Tee identical in process to the black wool gauze one I made last year, so all of the pattern modification details are in that post. The only difference (at the moment) is I haven’t decided whether to hem the sleeves like before or leave them rolled like this, but they’ll likely stay as is. The fabric is a dense grey wool knit that I got at Elizabeth Suzann’s fabric sale a couple of years ago; this was a bundle of scrap pieces I paid $10 for and used maybe a little more than half of for this top. It’s a little wonky — I think I even cut the pieces with the grain going different directions — but it’s totally fine and the simple alt-sweatshirt I’ve been needing.
Pattern: Hemlock Tee from Grainline Studio (modified)
Fabric: unknown grey wool knit remnant
Cost: free pattern + about $6 fabric = $6
The striped sleeveless tee is my second Adventure Tank View B, following the black one last year, which was the first (and only) knit thing I’d ever sewn. Having now sewn one on the regular machine and one on the serger, it’s crystal clear how worth it the serger is. This is also the same fabulous organic cotton-hemp as the black one, only in an awesome ivory-and-black stripe, and my gold star moment of the day was that I had cut the front and back with perfectly matched stripes and managed to keep them aligned as I sent them through the serger, breath held, teeth gritted. And look how symmetrical the bands are! (I needed that, since I was definitely not wowing anyone with my mental sharpness or sewing acuity.) The last remaining kit-of-parts from my cutting party is this same tee again but in the grey wool knit above, the rest of that scrap bundle, which will be fantastic for transitional weather and for layering. So that will be my third of these, but definitely not my last — I love this pattern so much.
Pattern: Adventure Tank (View B, muscle tee) from Fancy Tiger Crafts
Fabric: striped hemp jersey bought for $20/yard from Fancy Tiger
Cost: reuse pattern + $20 fabric = $20
. . .
By the way, speaking of sergers, this post on the Grainline blog came at the perfect time! That tip about only buying one cone of the contrasting color is pure genius and will no doubt save me a ton of money. Thanks, Jen!
Happy weekend! What are you up? And don’t forget about the Porter Bin …
*I keep saying I bought it in October for some reason, which might have been me trying to trick myself into thinking it wasn’t as bad as it really was?! It was 11 months ago, wow.
PREVIOUSLY in FOs: The white linen shell
Sergers are the best. Just remember on a 4 thread serger, thread sequence 3-4-1-2.
I’ll thread it however the manual says! It went from right to left is all I know …
Welcome to the world of servers! It took me a while to get there myself but have never looked back. It’s the only way to sew knits as far as I am concerned and wonderful for ravely women’s (linen, denim being my most frequent). Use your little brush frequently – they can build a ton of lint and little fibers in them but are easily cleaned out if you stay on top of it.
I’m not even good at changing the needle very often in my main machine, so I know I really need to up my game overall
I have my sewing machine and serger on opposite ends of my work table, and with an office chair with wheels and a laminate floor, I can whiz between the two as I work. I had sewn for years (and years!) before I got a serger about 7 years ago (and left in the box for another year…) and now that I have it, I’ll never give it up!
Mine are about 6 inches apart! Not sure how that’s going to work … lol
Love both tops. A serger to me has always been one of those mystery machines that I feel like I should have, but don’t know much about. From the looks of your post, it looks a gateway to a whole new world of sewing that I should start exploring. Thanks for the nudge!
And that new bag looks like perfection!!
The reason I put it off for so long is it’s a second machine that only does one thing — but that one thing is so valuable! It sews a seam and trims and finishes the seam allowance all in one swoop. So it’s daunting — instead of feeding your fabric into a needle, you’re feeding it into four needles and a blade! — but the time it saves is astonishing. One and done at every seam you use it on.
If you’re like me and sometimes just really want a French seam or a flat-felled seam or whatever, you’d still use a regular machine for that. But for anything you’re fine with a serged seam allowance on, especially knits, it’s brilliant.
Your tops look great! Thank you for sharing the tips about sergers, makes me want to buy one for myself!!
So cool! Love the tops and am envious that you have a serger and know how to use it. They sure are scary looking contraptions. ;-)
I have a 30 year old Elan Lock serger that just came out of hibernation yesterday to sew up Dress no. 1 from Sonya Philip in linen that ravels like crazy. Can’t figure out why it has spent so many years on the shelf. I’ll be cleaning and oiling it later today and reintroducing it to knit fabric. Thanks for the Summer of Basics motivation. I’ve gotten pants, socks, a dress done and have two tees, leggings, and more pants cut out ready to sew.
Love your tops. I’m glad I’m not the only one who cuts multiple garments, then piles them up, then sews. So efficient of us, don’t you think?
That’s “Elna Lock” tsk, Spellcheck.
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I love the way your stripes are perpendicular on the top. But did the bias binding have stretch?
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