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Aug 18, 2013

Knits, Pants Fitting, and Food Poisoning



Digging through my fabric stash, I could find only one knit that was appropriate for making a muslin of Simplicity 9993, my vintage men's knit top pattern.



It's a stretchy terrycloth stripe I found at a thrift store in Provincetown, MA, last summer.  I'll probably make the short sleeve version with the neck facing, instead of an exposed collar band.



Speaking of knits, I experimented with the stretch stitches on my Kenmore 158.141 to see if I could come up with a hem finish for knits I'd be satisfied with, in lieu of purchasing a coverstitch machine.  Having read dozens of reviews of the Brother 2340CV, I'm not really inspired to spend $300+ dollars on it.  Too many problems for too many people.

First I tried this double overedge stitch.  I didn't carefully measure the folded-under hem so I didn't catch the hem in the stitches.  Instead, I just trimmed the excess with my shears.  I know this isn't a finish you'll find on most (any?) RTW knits, but I don't think it looks too Shecky-Home-Ecky, do you?  Headache quotient = 0.





Next I tried the honeycomb stitch.  Also quite nice.  Even if I had a coverstitch, I'd still have to carefully measure and press my hem to make sure the raw edge is caught in the stitches (the coverstitch doesn't have a knife to trim -- something I only recently learned).



Somewhere I have a double needle: that's the next experiment.  I think until Queen Coverstitch Debbie Cook is ready to sell me her Baby Lock (when hell freezes over?), I'll bide my time.

UPDATE:  I tried the same stitches with slightly less pressure on the presser foot.  There was still a bit of waviness whether I stitched along the crossgrain or the selvage.  (I didn't press or prep the samples in any way, before or after.  Not sure if it would still look like that after being laundered.)





In other news, I laundered (and machine dried) my new blue cotton twill pants and they shrank nearly 3" in length!  I am very glad I waited to hem them.  After trying them on a dozen times, I decided I wanted the legs to be narrower, so I extended the side seam allowance by an additional 1/2" from the hip (where I need the room) down to mid-calf.  By this point the seam allowance was so wide -- 1 1/2" -- that I serged off half of it.





Finally, both Michael and I came down with a nasty case of food poisoning on Friday night.  We're not entirely sure what caused it.  Initially we thought it was the lunch we'd had out that day with my mother where we'd all either ordered or shared the same food.  (Plus, I'd noted that despite the sign saying "Employees Must Wash Hands," there was no soap to be found in the men's room.)  But my mother had no reaction at all -- thankfully, since it probably could have killed her.  Now we're thinking it was the raw kale chips Michael bought earlier in the week, but we're not 100% sure.

I won't go into the gory details but I have never thrown up so violently or so often as I did Friday night: three times and the third time I thought my stomach was turning inside out; then seconds later after a good hurl it had all passed.  Michael had cramps but no vomiting.

I won't talk about the diarrhea but yes, that too.  I slept the entire day yesterday, I mean, literally I was asleep -- aside from occasional bathroom trip -- the whole day and night.  Today I'm totally fine.  You know those last three pounds you wish you could lose?  I lost them -- there's a bright side to everything!

And on that note: Have a great day, everybody, and don't forget to wash your hands (and your food) before eating!

33 comments:

  1. Peter, I had to stop by to say I love your various hem stitches. Very designer, NOT home-eccy! Those trousers are so professional looking, I dare not show my hubby; he needs better fitting choices but I fear going there!

    Cherie in Phoenix

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  2. I think your hemming looks nice. The tension is perfect and it doesn't appear uneven.

    Wow! Sorry about the food poisoning. I'm glad you and Michael are feeling better.

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  3. Peter, Glad to hear your recovered easily and glad your mother didn't get sick.

    How do you avoid stretching the hem while you are stitching?

    SueC

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    Replies
    1. It is a little bit stretched: I can see some waviness in the fabric sample.

      I'll try lowering the pressure on the presser foot and see if that improves things.

      Delete
  4. You'll never regret a purchase of a BabyLock coverstitch machine. I love mine for knits, but am getting ready to use it to make curtains. It was Debbie Cook who inspired me, too. She is terrific.

    Glad the food poisoning is over!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I usually use a stretch double needle to hem knits...works pretty well. If they want to stretch, I put a strip of water soluble stabilizer underneath. Your samples don't really look stretched. If there's just a LITTLE stretching, a light steaming will probably fix it. By the way, your pants look great!

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  6. Peter, once you find that double needle, here's something I learned-- I've never seen anyone saying to do this, but loosen your top tension. It'll keep you from getting the puffed up pintuck effect, and you'll need to experiment to know exactly how much on your machine.

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  7. I usually use the double needle and lengthen the stitch a bit. I'd love to get a cover stitch. Sorry about your stomach woes. Funny, we've discussed this a lot in my extended family as there has been a number of folks who came down with a stomach virus similar to yours. We even had two co-workers who came down with it after eating at Chipotle. Maybe there is just a particularly virulent strain...either that or we are all eating tainted lettuce.

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  8. Being a beginner to knits, after experimenting with lots of things, I have just been doing a zig zig for the hem. Washing the garment makes it lie flat and with my clothes nobody notices that it is not 'regulation'. But I am going to try that first stitch, it will look good on a tee shirt!!

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  9. Dear Mr. MPB:

    I'm a new follower, and want to say thank you! I love the decorative hem stitches you show here, and the pants look amazing. Glad to hear you're feeling better!

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  10. If you only threw up three times in one night, then it wasn;t the Kale chips from earlier in the week. It was something much more immediate - like in the 24 hours before you were ill. If it were from earlier in the week, it would have been partially digested and a whole lot more serious.

    I love the stitching on the knit. It looks fabulous and the pants are great too.

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  11. ugh - stomach viruses and food poisoning are HORRENDOUS. So glad your mother escaped it. Kind of makes one never want to touch anything again. BTW, have you considered the Janome 1000CPX cover stitch? That's the one I got and I'm pleased!

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  12. Truthfully, most people aren't looking at ANY hem finishes, RTW or Shecky's. It's the overall look/style/fabrication that sends the professional (i.e., store-bought) message. And even then, the masses still aren't consciously thinking store v. homemade ... unless it's a complete hot mess. :-)

    Your pants look great. So do your hems. Stomach bugs are the WORST ... so glad that it passed for both of you. Literally and figuratively.

    Signed,
    The Queen

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  13. Glad you are feeling well today. How did your pants length shrink 3" but the rest of the pants didn't? Is this obvious to everyone but me?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was wondering the same thing.

      Lunch could have been the culprit - yours and Michael's portions may have contained a high bacterial load (enough to make you sick), while your mother's portion didn't. This can happen in the period before bacteria have "properly" spread throughout a dish. It would be worth reporting it (and the lack of soap) to the restaurant. Anyway, glad you've recovered.

      Spud.

      Delete
    2. It has something to do with the warp vs. weft -- don't ask me what!

      I've read that it's usually the warp (the lengthwise grain, parallel to the selvage, and in this case the length of the pants) that DOESN'T shrink as much as the weft (the crossgrain).

      I'm confused...

      Delete
    3. I'm rather confused myself, but it might have something to do with the way a sari I'm using to sew a skirt for my sister ripples and crinkles and stretches on the weft, while the warp remains the same. I.e. there's more give in the weft (possibly because it's not so taut in the loom?).

      Delete
    4. Or maybe in this case, because it's twill (I had to double-check, should do that before posting next time!), it has something to do with the way the warp is woven over more weft threads, so there's more give that way?

      Delete
  14. OMG. So sorry! I am glad your mother was spared. Nice stitching, and the pants look great.

    I'm one of those people who do look at hems :).

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  15. Holy crap (literally) about your food poisoning. Glad everything is back to normal now at Casa de Male Pattern Baldness.

    Ok, so have I mentioned, that lately there seems to be a lot of anti-twin needle sentiments in the sewing community lately? I'm thinking of writing a post entitled "In Defense of the Stretch Twin Needle".

    In the meantime, here are my tips, some are a little out of date but get the job done:
    http://vacuumingthelawn.blogspot.com/2010/04/success-with-twin-needle-stitching.html
    (I happened to have mentioned you in that post, coinquidink).

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  16. I only ever took one sewing lesson and it was more of a question and answer session with a sewist I met at a local fabric store. She sewed a lot of stretch costumes for dance and such and she advised me to use a little piece of cardboard, like what you get with a pack of needles or the cardboard zippers sometimes come with to sit on top of the fabric and under the edge of the foot as the fabric is fed. It is easy cheep and works well!
    Glad you are feeling better!

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  17. Sorry to hear you and Michael have been ill!
    I like twin needle hems on knits even with a slight pintuck effect, but you do need to be careful with fastening off or the first wear will have your lovely hem stitching unravel.

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  18. Have you ever tried sewing with tissue paper? After the stitching just peel away.

    Glad the bug has left your building.

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    Replies
    1. I second this notion. Buy tissue paper at the $ store and have enough for hundreds of seams. It's fussy to remove, but well worth the final effect.

      Delete
  19. Peter, about sewing the coverstitch (or hem stitching) on the cut edge of the hem: I find if I try to do that using my Janome 1000CP, the results are not even. I always allow at least 1/4" wider hem than I want, and trim it off just as you've done here. Much smoother and nicer looking. Your stretch stitch hem looks really good, as well -

    ReplyDelete
  20. The final terrycloth jersey material you're going to use is super! For those of us who don't sew (but admire those who can)- can I ask about how you do sew jersey? It seems like you'd need a combination of 'feel' for the fabric moving through the machine - as well as a tool to control the natural tendency for the fabric to stretch. Is that what the baby-lock thingy does?

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  21. I have yet to master the double-needle hem on my sewing machine. I've tried and it always looks list $h!t. In my last attempt, I hemmed and then had to cut it off because it looked so bad and I really didn't want to deal with unpicking. Thankfully, the dress looks good an inch and a half higher. I'm interested on your hemming process since that it's definitely my achille's heel when it comes to sewing knits.

    Last time I had food poisoning, I remember thinking that it must be like death throws or something. I was delirious in my misery and my have actually claimed to be dying. Glad to hear you all are feeling better!

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  22. Try using a walking foot to help with the waviness.

    For the food poisoning... I once swallowed a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to stop the vomiting. It was super disgusting but it stopped the hurling immediately.

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  23. I love my Janome coverstitch (and not only for knits), but anyway you still have to sew some things with the regular machine even on knits.
    In that case, I use some water-soluble interfacing (I guess its original purpose is to be used for embroidery). I prefer that to tissue paper because I always got some tissue stuck under the thread of zig zags or other more complicated stiches (but here in France tissue paper is not as thin in the US.)

    Great job with the pants, love the fit. I should totally do the same as you (not hemming them before washing), I already lost many pants like that... switched to shorts.

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  24. I second Grace's suggestion to try a walking foot.

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  25. I scrolled through the comments, didn't read them all, so I apologize if someone else wrote this. I put my finger behind the sewing foot as I hem and don't pull much on the front. The finger in back sort of makes the fabric "ruffle" in back, but it helps to keep the knits from stretching as much.

    Just found your blog--love it!

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  26. Have you tried a walking foot? I use one for EVERYTHING, including twin-needle hems on knits. No waviness :D

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