November 06, 2009
Something that really stuck from early sewing lessons, was my teacher explaining that round adds pounds. The round she refered to, was the shape of a neckline. Now personally I think its chocolate that adds the pounds, but I have indeed found that a V-neck is a little more flattering to my ... ahem ... "shapely" shape.
So when I picked up this cute little sleeveless tee (shell) for $5 at the op (thrift/charity) shop recently, I knew the shallow scoop neckline was probably going to be all wrong for me. The knit fabric was lovely and I really liked the applique, but a couple of wears really confirmed that I might look more stylish in a flour sack.
So I got brave and decided to change the neckline. The binding around the neckline was a knit fabric too and I could tell it had a fair bit of stretch in it. I realised I could probably stretch it a little to fit a new shape.
I took out my fabric shears and stitch unpicker and got to work. First, I unpicked part of the top-most part of the applique, to make way for the new neckline.
Then using a very fine stitch unpicker, I very carefully undid all the stitching from the front of the neckline. The binding was separated from the garment from shoulder seam to shoulder seam. I tried to take care not to snag the knit fabric with the unpicker.
Next I folded the front of the top in half. I carefully matched seams and stripes as accurately as I could, to find the centre front. This way I could cut the V on the fold.
Once I found the centre front, I used tailor's chalk and a ruler to mark up where I wanted the new neckline to be. I knew I couldn't afford to make the neckline too deep or I would run out of binding!
Then I took a deep breath and went snip-snip and cut a V.
Next I pinned the binding back in place. This involved carefully easing the binding out to fit the new deeper neckline. It only just matched. If the V had been any deeper, I would really have needed to unpick all the binding and put a new piece on.
Using a three-step zigzag stitch I secured the binding in place. (The three step zigzag stitch is good for stretch fabric as it has some give in it.) The most difficult part, was making sure I didn't stretch the binding and fabric as I sewed, otherwise this would warp the neckline and make it sit out from my neck. The neckline looked a little wobbly when I finished so I gave it a little press.
Finally I stitched the last piece of applique back in place at the bottom of the motif. Et voila! A more flattering top. Better than a flour sack anyway!