I have already expressed my feelings about those reverse action, back and forth heavy duty and, in my view fabric distorting, stitches manufacturers call stretch stitches.
Don't like them much.
I feel they nearly always exaggerate knit fabric wave tendencies.
There are some alternative stitches that work as well as plain zig zag however, and as slight detour in this series with a shout out to a good pattern, here is a camisole I made.
First the pattern.
I found myself suddenly needing a something to wear underneath garment. It turned out a V neck that I cut stretched about 3" down past expectations, due to the hyper stretchiness of the fabric. (You will all see exactly what I mean soon).
At that moment in time I was not near any camisole pattern. As a result I turned to this racerback tank which was, up to that point, a view I had ignored in this pattern:
I am not a huge fan of the old racerback T as a rule - something about my inability to consider obvious bra strap exposure owing to my birthdate in the last half of the last century.
That said I had nothing else handy and so I made this up, piecing the front top due to lack of fabric. Note that introducing this seam was easy.
Like many of Jalie's recent patterns there is one and the same pattern piece for lower front and back - you just lay the optional front or back upper piece on top of it as you cut. To piece my front I just added a seam allowance at the pattern joining line and made a seam.
I used a nice, but thin cotton knit. Rather than turning and stitching under the neck and armholes I laid narrow stretch lace over the raw edges and zig zagged on, trimming a bit of the excess fabric away from the stitching on the wrong side when I was done.
|Notice the lace has flipped up a the centre front, need to go back and add a couple of stitches there - further evidence of Babs' universal law that if anything will go wrong it will do so at centre front and always in pictures|
As to the tricky part, and in this case that would be the hem on a thin cotton single knit, I decided to go minimalist and use as light a hand with the fabric as I could.
That meant folding the hem over twice - to give some weight to counteract what was lacking this particular fabric - and using a less aggressive form of zig zag, in this case my vintage Bernina's "serpentine" stitch:
No waving at all and I think quite pretty.
I love this stitch and wish it was still to be found on newer machines. It is of course a form of zig zag or more rightly multi-step zig zag. Because it meanders, rather than go back and forth, to my mind this stitch, and those like it, worry the fabric less.
An additional comment about these multi-step or three step zig zag stitches, rather than the two step back and forth ones we think of when we talk zig zag.
Multi-stitch zig zags are really are the top stitch of choice, in my mind, for garments like underwear, swimwear, or children's clothes. Because the long thread of a traditional zig zag is broken up by smaller "multi" stitches there just aren't those long threads to catch on things. This alone makes these stitches really durable. If you default always to a regular zig zag you might want to look at multi-stitch versions too.
Now back to the pattern.
The racerback on this tank is really not very articulated - when I have this little unit on my bra straps don't show at all. I also don't think this is just a tank pattern -in fact it is an ideal undershirt pattern too (singlet if you live in the Southern Hemisphere or the UK).
Which prompts me to ask whatever happened to undershirts?
We always wore them growing up and I put them on all my children too until they were old enough to avoid me.
Undershirts, a body clinging layer next to the parts that shiver, are wonderful.
I completely do not understand why little kids and babies no longer wear them. Why? Kids still get cold.
Maybe this is a Canadian thing, maybe I am revealing my own childhood on the Canadian Prairies where it was -75 F with the wind chill factor and we still walked to school and back again four times a day lunch included. Mothers didn't drive much then in one car families so they just put us in undershirts, wound our heads in scarves, told us to stop fussing and pushed us out the door.
I am quite sure it was the undershirts if not our mothers who kept us alive and warm.
So it is my strongly held opinion that undershirts, like common sense itself, should never have gone out of style. And if you have this pattern you can make your own for yourself or anyone else you can catch.
On that note.
Tomorrow twin needles.