Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Perfect Puzzle Sew-A-Long: Finishing the Top

Today is July 22!  That means we get to attach our sleeves, sew the neck binding on, and complete the top of our garment completely!

Grab the piece you cut for your neck binding, fold it in half as shown with right sides together.  Stitch together where the raw edges meet to form a circle.

Now, fold in half with right sides facing out, and match up the seam you just made and pin it right at the seam.

Then, pin the rest of your neck binding in quarters.  You should have 4 pins in all but I forgot to take a picture of that so just pretend I have four, evenly spaced pins in my neck binding at this point (instead of just two).

Now, you want to take your shirt piece and fold the back panel in half to find the center of the neckline. Mark that place with a pin.

Then, just as we did with the neck binding, mark your shirt into quarters and place pins in all those spots like in my picture here.

Match the four pins on your neck binding with your four pins on your shirt.

Remove one set of 4 pins as you pin the binding to the shirt.  You want the binding to be on the RIGHT side of your shirt with all the raw edges matching.  You will be sewing through three layers.  I find it easier if I put the neck inside the shirt like this.

You'll notice that the neck binding is smaller than the opening in your shirt.  GREAT!  It's supposed to be that way, that means you cut everything right. Now, take everything over to your machine and stitch the neck on. You're going to need to stretch the neck ONLY to make it fit the bigger circle in your shirt.  Just sew in quarters and remove your pins as you come to them.  I always sew with my neck binding on top and the shirt layer underneath.

Once your neck is securely on, we'll need to take care of that serger tail.

There are a couple ways to finish the tails of your serger (and a quick Google/YouTube search will give you some great tutorials), but I'll just quickly share how I hide mine.

I use a big needle.  It's about 2.5 inches long with a semi-big eye on it.  I thread the serger tail through that needle (which is easy because the eye is so big).

Then, I thread the tail right backwards, right through the stitches from where it came.

Then I pull the whole thing through, and un-thread the needle.

Then, grab your scissors, and snip the remaining tail off.  (Be careful not to snip any of the stitches that are holding your neck binding in place.)

When you're done, your neck binding should look nice and neat like mine!  It's super easy and quick.  Now, would be a good time to press your neck binding and topstitch it if you're one of those people that do those sorts of things. I'm usually not, so I'll just keep going.  haha

Now, sleeve time.  Grab your sleeves you made last time, fold in half to find the center and mark with a pin.

Line up the center point on your sleeve with the shoulder seam in your shirt, and pin it together, right sides togehter.

If you're a beginner with knits, you'll want to start at the center and work your way out to one side, placing pins along the way.  Match the curve in the shirt with the curve in the sleeve and place as many pins as you need.  Then, do the same on the other side.  For me, I've been sewing with knits for a long time and I just use the one center pin and line everything up as I serge.  Just do what feels comfortable for you.

Once you're done sewing your sleeve on, repeat the steps for the other sleeve.

Your top will look like this with both sleeves sewn on, and the neck binding sewn on as well.  Feel free to press and/or top stitch your sleeves right now if you feel like you need to do that).

Flip your top inside out so that right sides are facing.  Match up the sleeve binding seams, and the bodice seams on one side and pin.

Then, sew your side seams (right sides together) in an 'L' shape to catch the sleeves and the side seams all in one shot.  You'll be sewing where my red arrows are in the next picture.

Now, go ahead and take care of those tails that are sticking out from the sleeves, just like we did on the neck band.

Then, we're done!  Sit back and admire that neck band and sleeves you just put on and get ready for the skirt next!

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