Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Tank Top Top (part 3)

If you're just now joining in, start with Part 1 and Part 2.  If you've already completed the steps in parts 1 and 2, then you're ready to finish today!  Hooray!

Part 3-- Today in Part 3 we will cover: sewing your gathered skirt to your tank top and tacking down seam allowances.

Sewing Your Gathered Skirt to Your Tank Top

Now that you've gathered and pinned together your skirt and tank top, you're ready to sew these pieces together.  (Woot!  Woot!)

Position the part you'll be sewing under your presser foot, with the cotton underneath.  This will help your sewing machine move the fabric along underneath as usual and keep things from stretching or bunching with the knit fabric of the tank top.  Begin sewing just after your side seam on the back section of your top.  Sew a straight stitch at 5/8" all the way around your opening, making sure to back-stitch as you begin and end. 

Keep the pins at your side seams in place and very carefully sew over them instead of removing them as the needle approaches like you would usually would.  In order to be careful and make sure you don't break your sewing machine needle, it may be necessary to stop and use your hand wheel as you go over the pin at each side seam.  (Keeping these pins in place as you sew over them will ensure that your gathers stay where you want them to.  Taking out these pins before you finish sewing the entire seam may result in uneven gathers.)

As you're sewing your seam, if your tank top begins to bunch (like mine did), stop sewing.  Turn your hand wheel until your needle is all the way down into the fabric.  Lift up your presser foot.  The fabric should smooth out on its own simply by lifting up your presser foot, but if it still has some wrinkles you may need to smooth things out using your finger.

Now, turn your top right side out.  You will be able to see the gathering stitches you did at 3/4" showing just below your seam.

Use a seam ripper to carefully remove those stitches.

You'll be able to see your 1/4" and 1/2" rows of gathering stitches on your seam allowance inside your top, but you can leave those in place since they won't be seen.

Turn your top inside out again.  Use your fingers to press your seam open.

Then, using just the tip of your iron, press your seam open.  Be careful not to press with the entire iron since doing so would turn your pretty gathers into messy-looking pleats.  And we don't want that. 

Using a zigzag stitch, sew the edges of your seam allowance together to keep everything nice and tidy (and durable!).

Tacking Down Your Seam Allowances
 You're almost done!

Grab a needle and some thread.  A single arm's length of thread should be plenty.  Thread your needle and tie both thread ends together, giving you a double strand to work with.

We'll start by tacking down the seam allowance next to the hem.

Your tank top should still be inside out.  Starting from the surface of your seam allowance, sew through the very tip of the bottom corner of your seam allowance.

Now, fold your corner in to meet the seam.

Sew through all layers...

...and come out at the seam on the right side of your fabric.

Stitch back down into your seam, going through all layers of your folded corner.

Fold down the other corner and make a stitch straight across and into the other corner.  Repeat steps for this corner.  Tie your knot on the inside of your top. 

Do this for the bottom corners of your seam allowance on the opposite side seam.

Now, take a look at your seam connecting your tank top to your skirt.  See how the seam allowance is flipped up like that?

Use your finger to hold down that naughty seam allowance and stitch ONLY THROUGH SEAM ALLOWANCES to tack it down.

I took some pictures of how to do this, but they were more confusing than helpful.  Suffice it to say that, when you're done tacking your seam allowances down, they will look about like this.  See that tiny little stitch?  That's really about all you need.  Do it on both sides of the seam, and for both side seams.

And guess what?

You're finished!

Can you believe you went from this... this?!

You sewed your very own Tank Top Top! 

Please let me know if you make one!  I'd be delighted to see yours!

And since you've been hard at work making such a cute top, come back tomorrow and reward yourself with a special little surprise from one of our sponsors.  :)  See you then!


Polly @ Pieces by Polly said...

Great job with the tutorial and very clear pictures!

Kathy Haynie said...

I like it a lot! Good job, Katie.