Thursday, 29 January 2015

Muscle back singlets

For the concert in 2013 I didn't need to make too many costumes. Miss Lisa has quite a stock of them and so we can often re-use ones from previous concerts.

For this one though, for the Finale item, Miss Lisa wanted everyone in black. Black muscle back tops, tee-shirts, 3/4 pants, shorts, leggings for the girls and pants for the guys. It depended on their age what they wore.

As we wanted plain black muscle back tops that we could print the studio logo on Miss Lisa asked me to make them. They needed to be in a child's size 8 to an adult Medium.  

I used the pattern below for the younger girls as it comes in sizes 2 - 14. It comes crop top length, as seen here, and also as a longer top. They're also known as racer backs.


For the older girls with busts I used the Kwik Sew 2723 pattern below. 


Back view


First of all I cut the strips I would use to bind the neck edges and armholes.  As the fabric is 150cm wide I folded it four layers thick. The photo below is a bit fuzzy but you can see the four layers there.

Then I used my wonderful rotary ruler. Sometimes it would take a few passes but it gives a lovely clean edge and takes a lot less time than scissors. Lined up ready to cut.

One of the cut strips.

A whole pile of the strips ready for binding.

Here I'm once again adjusting a pattern since we wanted it a bit looser fitting than the pattern was.

With the older girls pattern I wanted the back to look more like the younger girls one. You can see from the picture below that the original line (squiggly) is closer to the centre back and a sharper curve. I softened the line and brought it out a bit. Partly this was to make it easier to bind as well. At the top of the photo are the different sizes I would eventually use.

Then I changed it a bit more!

Finally I was ready to start cutting out. The reason I use stiff or heavyweight interfacing for my master patterns is that I can re-use it time and again and it holds up well to the task. Since it was black cotton lycra I was able to draw around the pattern with tailor's chalk. I always mark the sizes - this is 12 for the size and B since it is the back piece. The tailor's chalk just brushes off later.  :)

These tops I make up by sewing together one shoulder seam. Then they are bound before the side seams and 2nd shoulder are joined. Below is the binding attachment I use. Although you can buy generic ones I decided to get the one that goes with my Janome CoverPro 1000. They are expensive but I wanted to be sure it would fit the machine properly. I bought the 8mm one years ago soon after I got the CoverPro.

For these tops I wanted the wider 12mm one below, which I've wanted to get for a few years, so this gave me a good excuse.  :D  They can be a bit tricky to get the hang of but with practice and taking your time the knack soon comes. It does come in several bits you have to put together. The screwhole at the back is what attaches it to the machine bed.

Here you can see it in action. The strip of binding goes through and gets folded then stitched.

This is just a closer view so you can see how the fabric comes out of the binder and gets stitched down. I bought a clear foot for my cover stitch too which makes it a lot easier to see where the stitching is going. The machine comes with a metal foot.

 Here you can see the stitched binding. A lovely neat job. I've turned it around as you can see. I used two needles but you could use three, or one. Two is my preferred look for these.

Stitching together the second shoulder seam on the overlocker.

Another close up to show the neat job the cover stitch does on the inside.

Here's a photo of the muscle backs in action. I also made the 3/4 pants the girls are wearing.

Photo credit Ross McMillan

Another successful job completed  :) 

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