While I was looking for the least-intimidating, first time knit project to start I stumbled across Fancy Tiger Craft’s One Hour Top. It’s a free, two-piece pattern so I thought it would be worth a shot. It was! I can see how this pattern will be super handy in the future! It has larger, dolman-style sleeves and simple twin needle finishes on the neck and sleeves.
I did do some rogue pattern altering because my hips were outside of the XL/XXL finished size of 47 inches. I just cut down the middle line on the pattern and worked it until there were 14 inches across at the bottom of both the front and the back pieces. That way the hips would end up at about 55 inches after sewing. I had already purchased some black ITY knit with a 40% stretch in one direction and 20% stretch in the other. I made sure to set my pattern pieces where the 40% stretch went across the hips. In hindsight I could have made the sleeves a little larger for the dolman look.
The directions recommend that you begin by serging the shoulders. I don’t own a serger but I have been reading about sewing with knits. For testing I started with a stretch needle, polyester thread and zigzag stitch. After sewing the shoulders I stretched the fabric as far as I could, waiting for the tell-tale snapping of a popped thread. But it never came. Success!
After sewing the shoulder and side seams, you almost have a shirt! Now comes new skill time. Twin needle sewing and it is surprisingly not-scary! I found my second spool holder and popped it into the second holder spot on top of the machine. (If I didn’t have one I was prepared to use a coffee mug.) Then it was just a matter of threading the machine normally and making sure the left thread went through the guide above the needle and the right thread went through every guide but that last one. Boom! Finished sleeves and neck!
This thing is almost a shirt, now to finish the bottom! The instructions make lengthening and shortening really simple. You can just add more paper or subtract as much as you like from the bottom of the pattern pieces. Except, I was over-eager and had already completed all of the steps shown above and I knew it was going to be too short. Learning!
After trying on I decided to add about 3 inches to the length. Remnants to the rescue! I went back to my fabric and cut a 6.25 inch wide band that was twice the width of the bottom of the shirt. Then I sewed the ends together so it formed a circle. Next I folded the fabric band in half with the right side of the fabric out so it was 3.25 inches wide. With the shirt right side out I slid the band around the bottom of the shirt with the fold towards the neck and the raw ends even with the unfinished hem at the bottom. I attached the the two raw ends of the band to the raw end of the shirt with the zigzag stitch and the stretch needle. When you flip the band down it looks like the picture below! There is a really great step-by-step tutorial here at Make It & Love It!