Hi everyone! It’s Beth and I’m ready to hit the sewing machine with you today! If you are just joining our Fiddlehead Flutter Top-to-Dress Sew Along then a great big welcome to you! You will want to take a look at Day 1 to get everything cut out and catch up.
Today we are going to work on Stabilizing our Seams and Neckline.
Since I first created the Fiddlehead Flutter Top pattern, I have discovered that I get better results if I take the time to stabilize the knit around the armholes, especially when making the sleeveless version. The weight of those beautiful flutters tends to pull the armhole a bit out of shape and can make the armhole appear to be too large. While I am all about the shortest, fastest way to the end result I do know that some of those seemingly minor details, like seam stabilizing, can really make a huge difference in the end result. I am updating the tutorial with this bit of info but, in the meantime, I will pass it on to you right now. I’m sure some of you will be thinking…duh…of course, you need to stabilize those seams and have already been doing it. I hope so and yes, it’s okay to laugh at me for taking so long to embrace it. You may be like I was and think…aw…stabilize the seams? Yeah, I know, I know but it looks fine without it. Well, to you I say…try it…you’ll wonder why you hadn’t done it before. It’s a subtle but major difference and I don’t have to freak out every time I see my 4 year old putting the neckline in her mouth. It will bounce back to shape…well, mostly. Whew.
I love knit fusible stay tape and always use it to stabilize my knit bodices when adding skirts to them. It can certainly be used as the stabilizer for the armholes and neckline for the Fiddlehead, too. If you don’t have any then you can create it by cutting 1/2″ strips of fusible knit interfacing. I’ve mostly turned my nose up at the thought of clear elastic and mostly because it required an extra step. You can’t just iron it in! But with the sleeveless Fiddlehead I did not want the stay tape to show. You get a little glimpse of the inside on the sleeveless and I wanted it to look as neat as possible so I pulled out that unused roll of 3/8″ clear elastic and gave it a shot and I loved the result.
So let’s get to sewing! Go ahead and get those shoulder seams together per the tutorial so we can finish the neckline. I don’t know about you but it would make me INSANE if I used a different stabilizer on the neckline than the armholes. You do whatever you can live with but for me, if I am going to use it on the armholes it HAS to be on the neckline, too, so clear elastic it is. I just cut a piece a couple of inches longer than the neckline and lined it up along the edge on the wrong side of the fabric. I left a bit of a tail on either end just to be safe and stitched it on with, what should have been, a wide zig zag stitch right along the edge (I forgot to switch from my narrow setting!). Do not stretch the elastic as you sew it on and do not stretch the neckline. As I sew, I focus on keeping the neckline from stretching while keeping the elastic straight and taut but not stretching it. Also, clear elastic comes in different widths. I can line mine up with the edge because it is the same width as the seam allowance. If you are using a narrower width you may need to move it in a bit from the edge so that it will be caught in the stitch line when we begin putting all the pieces together.
If you are using a serger, then go ahead and serge all the way around the edge of the elastic right on top of the zig zag stitch. You may even decide that you find it easier to skip the zig zag stitch first and go straight to serger to sew it on. That’s fine, too. You may even have a nice fancy foot for applying it…if so, even better! I played it safe and got that elastic in place on the sewing machine first, though, and then ran my serger around on top.
What I really love about using this on a simple turned neckline is that it makes it so much easier to turn the edge over evenly. Just fold it over using the edge of the elastic as your guide and stitch into place! Easy Peasy!
The one thing you have to know about clear elastic, though, is that it can MELT! Do not iron directly on it. I kept my iron on the opposite side of the fabric when pressing.
Now it’s time to add it to the armholes as well.
Open up the armhole and place the clear elastic (or stay tape/interfacing) all along the edge on the wrong side of the fabric. Fuse the stay tape or sew on the clear elastic with a wide zig zag stitch just like we did with the neckline. Remember, don’t stretch the armhole or the elastic as you sew it on and be sure and leave a bit of a tail on the ends before you start sewing. No need to serge until we add the flutter ruffles tomorrow. For now, just having the stabilizer in place is enough.
The last place to stabilize is all around the very bottom of the bodice where the waistband and skirt will be attached later in the week. When that is complete you’re done for today!
Tomorrow we add those fabulous flutters!