Thursday, July 28, 2011

Kwik Sew 3299

I'm still working on copying the seam finish on Mitch's fancy running shirts. I made him another, this one with an entirely new technique.
This time, the seam is serged in the typical fashion (right sides together) so that the seam allowance is on the inside of the garment, then the seam allowance is coverstitched down from the wrong side, allowing the loopers to show on the garment right side. The needle stitching flattens the serged seam on the inside without adding too much bulk. I used matching red thread in the serger and coverstitch needles, and black thread in the coverstitch looper. Mitch likes a decorative stitch on the outside, and that seems to be the way most RTW running shirts are done.
I also hemmed with the coverstitch loopers on the right side. I'm not sure I love that. This fabric is a wicking polyester jersey from Seattle Fabrics. It's nice and light and feels very breathable, but it was the devil to sew. It was slippery and strtechy and generally did not want to behave.
My coverstitch machine particularly disliked it. The feed dogs had a hard time gripping the fabric, so the stitch length was all over the place. She also skipped stitches every time a seam crossed, which you can see at the sleeve/shoulder intersection above. I'm not sure how well this will hold up over time. So far, it is the closest appearing approximation to the RTW shirt, but I'm not sure it will end up being as sturdy, since I had so much trouble getting even stitches. I think I'll take a little break before sewing more of these, to see which finish Mitch likes best over time. In a few months, he'll probably be needing something with long sleeves. That'll be novel!


  1. Katie, I've been wanting to make myself some exercise tops also. I wonder if starching the fabric will make it easier to sew? I tend to shy away when someone says the fabric gave them agita...

  2. That looks great! I've had similar troubles with coverstitching. The only things that have sort of helped me were using stretch needles and inserting a jig beneath the foot when going over seams. If you figure out how to get more reliable results, I'll be all ears! Were you using wooly nylon?

  3. I find wicking polyester a nightmare to sew. I always put in new stretch needles (for each garment, how extravagent!), and although this reduces the skipping, I can see the (worsening) difference in the stitches by the last seam or two of the garment. I will be very pleased to see any good tricks you develop. Your technical athletic gear looks great. Lucky Mitch.

  4. Thanks guys! I'm not very good about changing the needles in my CS machine, and I bet that was part of the problem!
    Amy, I didn't use wooly nylon here, mostly for aesthetic reasons. I would usually put it in the looper of the CS machine, but it looks fuzzy and the looper showed. It's still quite stretchy without.

  5. I like the effect! The neck binding, in particular, looks very professional.

  6. Change to stretch needles in all machines you'll have better luck. I've been using a coverstitch machine for about 4 years now and you get better over time with crossing seams. I go slow and very very gently pull or maybe guide along both sides of the seam with my hands to keep the material feeding evenly. It works for me anyway. It looks wonderful.