Black is such a hard colour to photograph which is a shame because I am so proud of this top.
I am afraid you’ll have to put up with Scarlett wearing this man-sized and man-shaped top. I refer to my hubby by many names: Nerdy Hubby, Geologist Hubby, Once-again-in-the-good-books Hubby…but he refuses to be Model Hubby – even with a promise of cutting off his head (in the photo frame I mean!) but I don’t blame him really, this top is pretty much skin tight. Comfortable, but very fitted.
Let’s rewind a bit:
Sometimes in Wellington it gets a little windy (hah!) and polypropylene is an essential staple in any Wellingtonian’s wardrobe. Ridiculous coloured stripey arms sticking out from under tee-shirts are very trendy. Or at least they used to be, I’m not exactly up with the current trends.
About 3 months ago Mountain Biking Hubby decided he wanted another polypropylene to wear under his riding clothes. His favourite one (both fit and colour) was black, its tag long lost after far too many washes.
He went out shopping for another rtw one and was so disgusted at both the price and quality of polypropylene and wool versions that he gave up.
Fast forward to another tag-along fabric shopping trip where merino and merino-blends were heavily discounted at an end-of-season sale. While my back was turned checking out the new spring-cottons nerdy husband was quietly digging through the merino bolts with gears quickly turning inside his head.
This is becoming a common occurrence isn’t it?
1.5m of black merino-nylon blend came home with us ($9.95/meter), as well as some marbled grey and dark grey merino for me. We chose the 80/20 merino-nylon blend in the hopes of slightly better durability and it also seemed to have better recovery than the straight merino.
I began by printing off the Pete T-shirt from BurdayStyle but after a quick comparison to the original black polypropylene it wasn’t going to work at all. Picky Hubby was quite adamant that the new merino top should be the same IN EVERY WAY as the original.
Sigh. The Pete pattern was too short, too slim, too high-necked. The original also had a long raglan sleeve and the T-Shirt pattern did not. So I pushed it aside and decided to try this new thing everyone is talking about, a rub-off.
I’m not going to show you my method because the true pattern drafters amongst you would be truly appalled. I don’t have a big enough pinning surface so I prodded and stretched and sketched and fudged.
The important thing is that it worked! Better yet, Nerdy Hubby loves it, and has already requested another. It’s a good thing then, that it only took me a couple of hours to put together, almost 100% on the trusty 4-threads-of-amazingness-overlocker.
Fashionable Hubby requested coverstitch detail on the sleeve attachment:
“I don’t have a coverstitch machine honey”
“But you have so many machines, one of them must do this” * pointing at cover stitch
“Umm, I only have two machines (that go)…and no”
“…but that big white one with all the extra threads..?”
“I might be able to fake it”
“Hmm, ok, but only if it looks like this” * more pointing at cover stitch
“I’ll see what I can do”
I know I can do a kind of faux coverstitch on the overlocker, the Bernina lady showed me at my free lesson…that was almost 2 years ago!
But this was not the time for random experimentation, so the Elna got threaded up black, dial up stitch number 18 please!
I created my faux coverstitch by first overlocking the sleeve seam, pressing the overlocking to one side and stitching it down using the faux overlock stitch on my Elna. It’s a slow stitch but it looks pretty good I think.
Edit to add: I might not have explained that very well – the real 4-thread overlocked seam is on the inside, the faux overlock stitch (#18) is on the outside which you can see here.
Nerdy Hubby couldn’t tell the difference, “It looks so professional! You should do this on my rugby jersey too”
In all seriousness trusty #18 is a “super stretch” stitch and perfect for this application.
Here is another close up, you can see the wide cuff on the sleeve too:
I gave myself 3cm hem allowance at the bottom which I turned under twice and stitched down with the faux-overlock stitch too.
I don’t know what is going on with my hand in this pic, it looks so wrinkly!
The only hiccup was that I got a bit confused when I was attaching the neck band and put it on backwards. When Nerdy Hubby tried it on he asked why the join was at the front. Try as I might I couldn’t convince him that it was a design feature 😉 He’s a smart cookie that one. So I had to carefully unpick a 4-thread overlock stitch and then re-attach. Lucky merino doesn’t really fray so it went back on without a hitch.
So, great success! Except that now Nerdy Hubby is asking about his rugby jersey! 😉