The Flora blouse is a breeze to sew together. The most involved step is the neckline, and even then, not so much. You can totally make an internal tunnel and thread elastic through. However, that usually does not end well on my end as I am impatient and hate fussy work. My method of choice involves never leaving the sewing machine. I don't have any fancy attachments that do gathering stuff. Just a plain-Jane machine. If you are like me, read on!
Start by dividing the neckline into four sections- right shoulder, left shoulder and center back.
(Sorry couldn't resist a foot shot as fuchsia was having a moment. Unplanned, I swear).
Cut your elastic to the length indicated in the sewing directions (by the sizing chart). Overlap the ends and sew together. The overlap should be about 1/2" (1.2cm). I like to secure with a few stitches as parallel vertical lines on each end of the overlap to make sure it won't come apart.
Divide the elastic into 4 sections. I find marking with straight pins is convenient because you can attach it directly to the body for the next step.
On outside of garment, pin the elastic to the 4 dividing points of the body.
Still on outside of garment, prepare to join the elastic to the body by stitching with elastic relaxed for a couple of stitches to secure. The stitching on the elastic needs to be as close to the outer edge as possible. Try to keep the internal edge of the elastic as close to the neckline edge as possible, at the same time.
Find your first dividing marker and pull towards you until the fabric is smooth. Stitch the elastic.
Tip: it is important to pull from dividing points only. If you pull at smaller increments, the neck gathers will become uneven.
Once you have sewn the elastic around the neck in it's entirety, you will have something that should look like this.
I find it helpful to give the gathers a little light steam at the point to reduce some of the puffiness, which will make it easier to handle.
The idea is to not have to do this because you were diligent about aligning the elastic to the edge. But let's face it, S*@! happens. So, if this is you, then trim off the excess that is extending past the elastic.
Tip: You may hate me for this, but if you get extra that extends past the elastic by more than 1/8" (3mm) then you may want to consider taking the elastic out and trying again. The reason is that this starts to mess with your hem and can result in unevenness.
Re-mark the dividing points (If you mark on the elastic with chalk for the next step, you may not be able to see it. I would recommend pins) Roll the elastic to the inside of the garment until it is fully encased (2 turns). Repeat steps 5 & 6. Please remember to only stretch at the dividing marks.
Admire your work. Sometimes the edge of the elastic peeks on the inside a bit. I'm ok with this, because it does take a little practice to get this technique perfect. See my attempt below. This was my first trial of doing this in probably a year and it's a little wavy and not as even as I would like (trying to pull elastic and photograph the sewing at the same time does not yield perfection). But I still wore my top out for dinner the same night and no one even noticed ;) Social acceptance still maintained.
Tip: Give it another light steam to smooth the gathers around the neck.
How did your Flora neckline turn out? Are you team tunnel or team turn back? Or maybe you have another method that we should all know about....
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