Monday, 14 April 2014

Mandy pattern hack - curved split hem

It's ridiculous how excited I am about this make! I think half the reason I'm so excited is that it took me about 3 seconds to notice the inspiration, lock it into my brain, and then after half an hour of thinking time on the cross trainer at the gym I was able to nut it out and it turned out JUST AS I IMAGINED. Such a sewing dork.

Anyway, I give you my new favourite little pattern hack, the curved split knit hem:




I was at the Preston Market on Saturday and for just an instant of a second a girl in a striped top caught my eye (stripes - of course - I just can't resist) and all I registered was a slightly cropped shape with split side seams gently curved into the hem. But how to copy? How? 


I started with the Tessuti Mandy Boat Tee (free, here) which I've made twice already (once blogged here, the other as yet unblogged) and knew it had the boxy shape I wanted with plenty of excess hem. I had this very cheap and nasty bit of stripe printed synthetic something in my stash so I wasn't risking ruining something nice (and it was good to use a stripe like my inspiration top). After a bit of faffing around I came up with a nice neat method, that I think could be adapted for any knit top pattern.  

So if you'd like to give it a crack here's how to do it:

Pick your pattern - I'd suggest a knit pattern you've already made because you'll need to decide on the finished length before you cut it out. 

Lay out your pattern and decide where you want the finished centre front/back to fall and how high up you'd like your side splits. I just used the pattern length for my first draft - I knew I'd chopped off a heap of length in version 1. The reason you decide all this before cutting your fabric is the depth of your split will be equal to the depth of your hem. If you want a nice deep split without sacrificing the length of your top you'll need to add extra fabric to your hem. 

Ensure that the bottom corners of the front of your top are at right angles. This means you might have to square off your pattern (or fabric after cutting it out). If you add a bit of length to your pattern then just extend it down parallel to the centre front fold, so it's square. 

Make up your top as instructed, including the sleeve and side seams, but stop sewing the side seams a couple of inches away from where you want your split to start (you'll go back later and stitch them up). You'll need to press the side seams open later on, so bear that in mind if you want to use an overlocker.....It might work with just pressing the seams to one side but I'm not sure.....



Make sure your front and back lengths are equal, then on one side turn up your front hem the distance you want your finished split and pin BUT turn it up so the right sides are together. Pin along the side seam and do the same with the back. Make sure the sides of your top are still the same total length.



Grab something round - I used my french curve, and mark a nice curved stitching line tapering to nothing at both the bottom hem and the side seam. Stitch with a straight stitch, about stitch length 2. You can use a straight stitch because it doesn't need to stretch, and the smaller stitch creates a smoother curve.  Mark the same curve on the back piece and stitch it too. Trim the corner off about 1/8 inch/ 4mm from the stitching line.




Turn the corners back out the right way and give them a good press so they're nice and crisp and flat. Try to press it so the seam rolls into the wrong side. Mind kind of did it naturally, but a good press helps.


Now finish stitching up the side seams incorporating the first little bit of your curved seam (maybe 1cm) so all the raw edges are inside. I made sure that my last couple of stitches were very short, so that the last bit of the split doesn't separate. A bit like a bar tack I suppose.



Press the seam allowances open and flat. Repeat the above steps for the other side. Fold up the rest of the hem to the finished length, pin and top stitch along the hem, following the curves, across the side seams and back down the other side using whatever method floats your boat. I just did a straight stitch because the Mandy top is pretty wide on me and doesn't need to stretch open. If the top was more fitted then use a stretchy hem stitch - twin needle or zigzag or cover stitch if you're super fancy!



Nice and carefully trim away the excess seam allowance close to your stitching line.



Another good press and voila! Curvy tidy little side splits!




So what's the verdict? Do you adore it like I do or am I just a total sewing nerd to be this excited? It'd be a cute detail on a sleeve too! Or a skirt! If you give it a try let me know so I can check it out! Now I've just got to find some more nice stripe to replace this nasty stuff! 


16 comments:

  1. OOOOOH, I love this shape...I've made two Mandy Boat Tee's thus far (snap) and I love the idea of the curved hem.

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    1. Thanks Melanie! Your birdie Mandy is great!

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  2. Hey - you are on a sewing roll right now. A great little pattern-hack-invention!

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    1. Thanks Caroline - can't wait to use it on pretty much everything now!

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  3. I am a huge fan of curved hems in general - so flattering - and your tee looks awesome! I'm also guilty of staring at people's clothing in public and wondering how to make my own version...

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    1. Thanks Morgan - sometimes I forget how much inspiration there can be in RTW - I'm always looking at other sewists things but have started looking more and more at what I can rip off RTW ;)

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  4. I love that hem! And I really like that method of doing it. I'm definitely going to have to invest in a french curve...

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    1. Thanks Danielle - I've just sent you some photos of mine!

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  5. Lovely top Sarah, and thanks so much for going to great lengths to show us how you did the split hem. I'm bookmarking this post for future reference.

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    1. Thanks Andrea! I was just so excited that it worked, I didn't want to forget how I did it!

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  6. This is a lovely hack. It's a really nice detail and a really clever way of making it work! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks Helen! I am very happy to share! :)

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  7. If that excitement makes you a nerd, then hell I am too! Great to see someone without a serger (like me) get such an amazing result on a tee - I have my new Bernina (cue nerdy glee) so I think it needs it's maiden outing on some knits!

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    1. Oh that's fabulous - how truly exciting for you! Good luck and happy experimenting :)

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  8. Cute detail and I like your method!

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    1. Thanks Suzanne! Thanks for coming by :)

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