Sewing interesting knit tops is regularly on our agenda. This winter, in preparation for my OSQE Embellishing Knits class I have been playing with some new three-dimensional knit decorating techniques.
As with any embellishment project, you need all the right materials, ample time to place the embellishments artfully and then time to secure them by hand or machine. I love the hand work that often accompanies traditional embellishments but knits benefit from machine finishes to maintain their fabulous stretch. It is pretty quick work resulting in plenty of visual punch. What’s not to love?
This project, like last weeks knit design post, was inspired by my Sewing with Knits Pinterest board. There was a cute top with ruffly but compact flowers that caught my eye every time I visited the board. Style wise, it was not for me, but I envisioned these flowers on my Tabula Rasa Tee and was anxious to get started. I made a photocopy of the Pinterest image so it would be close at hand as I began to work.
My wardrobe was lacking an ivory tee and the fabric was in the studio. This seemed like the perfect convergence; I needed a top and wanted a project to embellish! I used the Ballet Neckline and Curved Hem from the Wide Necklines Variation Pattern with my Tabula Rasa Knit Tee patterns.
One showy day in January I had tested the embellishment technique in a sample size. For this top I followed the order of construction that had worked on the sample except I made more flowers:
- Cut a 5/8” to 3/4” wide strip of knit fabric. I just cut a bunch since I was not sure how many I wanted and where they would be placed The strips should be twice as long as the finished flower.
- Stitch a row of gathering stitches up the center of each strip.
- Gently gather each strip to form a 3-dimensional ruffle with a curved flower at the top.
- Place the flowers as desired. I positioned them on one shoulder and at the opposite hemline to decorate the tee.
- Use plenty of pins to secure the flowers in the desired place.
- Machine stitch the ruffle to the tee stretching a little as you sew.
My sample was made with a contrasting color flower on a different fabric. It had a lot of pop. On this top I used the same fabric for the tee and the decoration. It is a softer look.
The photocopy image was my guide but I made a few changes. I switched the shoulder embellishment from the left side to the right side of the top because I carry bags on my let shoulder. I extended the decoration from the front around to the back to give a balanced look in front and back. Most of the embellishment was stitched in place on the partially constructed so the top would sit flat on the sewing machine table.
Now I am adding a few beads. This detail from the Pinterest top was optional, in my mind, so I waited till I had finished the top to decide about the beads. In the solid color the beads really add a nice finish.
Will you be at the OSQE in Atlanta next week? Come by the booth to see this top, the top from last week’s design post and all of our new samples. Better yet, sign up for the knit Embellishments class so you can see and touch the samples of all my three-dimensional flowers, painted details and other structural decorations.
Have you embellished any knit garments? What were your challenges and successes? It is very satisfying to #sewsuccessfully these incredibly comfortable wardrobe essentials elevated to wearable art status with little fabric flourishes.
Happy Sewing, RAE