I'm slightly obsessed by two things at the moment (well, two things sewing related anyway - I'm actually obsessed by several non-sewing relating things too!); the Named Patterns Lexi dress/top and free motion embroidery. In the last few months I've made two Lexi dresses, and three tops based on the pattern. One dress and two of the tops are yet to be blogged; I need to do a mammoth photo session first.
This latest project combines my two obsessions. It's a free motion embroidered sweatshirt based on the Lexi top pattern.
First things first, the fabric. It's gorgeous, so soft, so cosy. It's this Marl Grey Soft Jersey from Fabric HQ. The front side is a lightish marl grey jersey similar to sweatshirting and the back is the softest off-white fleece. It seriously is incredibly nice to wear.
The embroidery was based on an illustration from a greetings card, and I did this before I'd sewn the top together.
I love the way the thicker fabric scrunches up a little bit with the stitching so that it looks really textural. I applied the fabric parts first and stitched them, then traced the drawing onto thin tissue paper and stitched through this for the areas that don't have fabric in them. I'll do a tutorial on how I did this soon if anyone is interested.
I made several changes to the pattern for this top. The original pattern includes long front darts from the hem up to just below the bust. I omitted these, basically taking enough off each side seam so the front hem was the same width as the back hem, tapering a wedge up to the armhole. This gives the finished top a lovely, swingy slightly A-line shape.
The other major change I made was to cut the back as two pieces. I did this for two reasons, firstly to save on fabric and secondly in case I needed to add a little bit of shaping into the back by curving the seam. I actually didn't need to do this, so the back seam is purely decorative. I added a line of topstitching to one side of the seam to make it look intentional and to keep the seam allowance in place and lying flat. I also did this on the shoulder seams.
When it came to finishing the neck and hem I didn't want anything too thick. I decided that a neck band and/or hem band wasn't what I wanted, and I didn't want to use a facing on the neckline. I came up with the idea of binding both neck and hem with bias binding, and was lucky enough to get hold of some Liberty bias binding that was the same print as the fabric I used on the girls top in the embroidery. I'm pretty pleased with how this worked out.
Construction wise this was a really easy project. The majority was made on my overlocker, with just the neck and hem finished on my regular sewing machine. For the sleeve hems, I just turned under approximately 1.5cm and stitched it with a zigzag stitch on my regular machine. I'm really pleased I managed to make the sleeves plenty long enough, I have a habit of making them just a tiny bit too short!
I didn't use the bias binding on the sleeve hems for two reasons; one I wanted them to be able to stretch so I can push the sleeves up if I want to, and two, I didn't have enough bias binding left. I could have done one sleeve but not the other.
All in all, I'm really pleased with this top. It's turned out exactly as I imagined (which doesn't always happen, as we know!) and it is so comfortable.