I’m making good progress with the denim shirt. So far the topstitching has been a success. It definitely pays to do a bit of research rather than just jumping in and wondering why it’s not working properly.
Of all the topstitching tips from ‘yes I like that’ the ones that stuck in my mind were:-
Use a proper topstitching needle
Use standard sewing thread in the bobbin
Use the hand wheel where necessary
It took a while to get the tension right. The top thread was showing on the bottom. Normally I have the tension wheel at 4 (on a scale of 1-8). So I started at 4 and stitched a sample moving up half a number at a time until the tension was perfect at just over 7. I had the foresight to make a note of this and the stitch size that I was using.
I started with the back yoke seam, I had stitched ¾ of the way when the needle jammed and bent. Luckily there 5 needles in the pack, two size 11 and 3 size 14. I had started with size 11 so I replaced with a size 14 and unpicked and stitched again. Second time it was fine.
The only tricky bit was the collar points. I unpicked the first attempt then I used the hand wheel to slowly go into the point, same with the curved shaping at the front edges of the collar stand. It’s also a good tip to use the hand wheel when sewing over thicker areas like the seam allowance of the back yoke when top stitching the sleeve head. You can go as slow as you like and have a bit more control.
I haven’t put the pocket flaps on yet as they need a buttonhole. The shirt needs 15 in total and I plan to stitch them all in one go.
After the first post I was asked about getting the pockets such a good shape. To make sure I folded and pressed under exactly 1.5cm seam allowance I stitched a line and used this line as a guide. With the fabric being 100% cotton it presses well. To get a good point when bagging out the pocket flaps and the collar I followed the advice of when stitching into a point, take a stitch ACROSS the point, don’t just stitch into the point then out again. It must have worked as I am happy with the way the points are looking.
Next step is the underarm / side seams which I’m planning to flat fell from cuff to body hem in one go. I’m a bit unsure of how this is going to work out with the narrowness of the sleeve and the curve of the waist shaping but I think it can be done.