Welcome to day 1 of the Nikko Top and Dress Sewalong. Today we will be sewing up the shoulders and also attaching the neckband. These steps are for all views. Before starting you need to decide how you will be sewing up your garment. For the steps today I will be using a serger, but you could just as easily use a stretch stitch or an elongated zigzag stitch on your regular sewing machine. If using an elongated stretch stitch, I recommend the settings of 2.5 length and 1 width, but you should practice on your fabric to see what works best for you. Also, be sure to use a ballpoint needle to protect your fabric from damage.
Step 1 – With right sides touching, pin the front to the back at the shoulder seams.
To prevent the shoulder seams from stretching, cut two pieces of 1/4” (6 mm) clear elastic to the length of each shoulder seam. If you can’t find clear elastic you can use regular elastic or even selvage in a pinch. This is important in stretchy fabrics to not only protect the shoulder seams from stretching out over time, but also to make sure it doesn’t stretch when sewing it. If you cut the pieces to the correct length before sewing, you know that you have not stretched out the seam during construction.
Align the long edge of the elastic with the shoulder seam (centered over the stitching line, not the raw edge), pinning to secure. With the elastic facing up, sew the shoulder seams through all layers using a stretch stitch. (NOTE: the elastic should be caught in the seam.) Do not stretch the elastic as you sew the seam. Press seam allowances towards the back of the garment.
Step 2 – With right sides touching, sew the short ends of the neckband together along the center back seam.
Press seam allowances open if on your regular machine, or to one side if you are serging like me. With wrong sides touching, fold the neckband in half, aligning the raw edges, and matching up the center back seam. Press. If you want to you can baste the bottom together at this point to make attaching the neckband to the top a bit easier. I usually don’t though.
Step 3 – Divide the neckband into quarters by first placing pins at center front and center back along the lower raw edge. I know it is hard to see my pins because they are white, but if you look closely you should be able to make them out.
Then fold the neckband in half by bringing the center front pin to the center back seam and pin. Place a pin at each fold along the lower raw edge. Your neckband should now be divided into four equal sections along the bottom.
Step 4 – Using the same technique from step 3, divide the garment neckline into quarters. First, place pins at center front and center back.
Then bring center front to match up with center back, and place pins at the folds. Because the front neckline is longer than the back neckline, these pins should land about 1/2″ away from the shoulder seam inside of the front neckline.
Step 5 – With the garment still inside out, insert the neckband into the neck opening so that the right sides of the neckband and garment are touching. Line up the quarter pin markings of the neckband with those of the neckline, being extra careful that the center back, center front, and side markings are all coordinating. Note that the neckband is slightly smaller than the garment neckline so it will pull a bit. Feel free to add in extra pins to make it easier to sew in the next step.
Step 6 – Sew the neckline seam using a stretch stitch or a serger, stretching the slightly smaller neckband evenly between matchpoints to fit into the garment neckline. It is very important that this stitch has good stretch so that it can fit over your head.
Press the neckband up and the seam allowances down towards the garment.
And that is it for today! Easy right? I feel like sewing a turtleneck is like sewing up a tshirt without the hard neckline. Tomorrow we will tackle side seams and armbands for the sleeveless version.