Monday, August 26, 2013

Sewing: Boiled Wool Bateau Neck Top with Ball Monogram (Tutorial)

I have been eagerly anticipating the Back-to-School Bateaux pattern tour for the chance to share this boiled wool Bateau Neck Top with you! I think it may be my favorite sewing project ever!

I love wool, and boiled wool is high on the wool list. I posted about some blue boiled wool Bateau Neck Tops I made this Spring, but this red one was actually the first I made when I was working out this pattern. Well over a year ago!

I took these photos then too. Makes me feel a bit sentimental. This was likely the only time I got Audrey to wear a skirt to school! (Remember this gingham skirt post?) 

And she didn't wear this monogrammed top often enough. It was sized a bit small so it was awkward for her to get on and off (the final pattern specifies going up one size when using boiled wool or other thicker/less-stretchy knits) and she is all about comfort. One day we'll have a good laugh about all the things horribly uncomfortable things I've worn because I thought they looked good!

I have thought about taking off this felted ball "A" monogram and making an "S" for Scarlett to wear. Scarlett actually says she wants to wear the "A." How cute is that? She wants to be just like her sister. And I can't quite bring myself to snip the threads, so it's hanging in the closet, where it occasionally gets admired. Maybe I'll have Scarlett wear it. That ought to confuse people!

I really should just make some more. This felted ball monogram is really simple to do. And so cute and dimensional. Not to mention fun to wear, fun to touch, etc.. Like I said, the combination of Bateau Neck Top and this monogram may be my favorite!

This felted ball monogram is just one of the ways you can get creative with a Bateau Neck Top (stay tuned to the tour for more ideas). I've got a simple tutorial here so you can make one too. I used the "Classic" version of my Bateau Neck Top pattern in boiled wool purchased here (sadly the red has been out of stock for some time but you could find some from other sources) but you could use any simple top in a heavier weight knit--sweatshirts or sweaters would be great too.

Click to view the tutorial.


You'll Need:
  • A heavier weight, simple, knit top such as a Bateau Neck Top in boiled wool, fleece or sweatshirt knit.
  • 12-20 20mm felted wool balls in your choice of colors (I purchased mine here)
  • Embroidery needle and thread

Start by considering your layout. Select wool balls in colors that appeal to you and arrange them on your Bateau Neck Top in the shape of your monogram letter.

Once you have the arrangement you like, you will string together the felted balls in the order you arranged them. This will make it easier to attach them to your top (help you remember what you just arranged if nothing else!) and lessen the chance of losing one if some of the other stitching fails. Thread your needle double, with a strong knot at the end, and string the balls one at a time passing the needle through the center of each ball. But, with the first and last balls in your letter-chain make more of a 45-degree angle so that once sewn on, the knotted thread doesn't show on the ends.

You will also need to maneuver the needles a bit for angles in your letter, such as the top of my "A". (I used something close to another 45-degree angle here.) Curves should work just fine without fancy threading. Note that I didn't string the two balls forming the bridge in the "A" at this point but filled them in later.

Once you have all the balls in your monogram arrangement threaded, you can begin to stitch them to your Bateau Neck Top. Do this with a knotted length of thread (thread it double again) and start from the wrong side of the Bateau Neck Top, pushing through the boiled wool fabric, catching the underside of the felted wool ball, and going back down through the boiled wool to the wrong side again. 

Repeat this for each ball in your monogram. In the photo above you can see what this stitching looks like from the side. I used one or two stitches per felted ball. I didn't use anything to hold the monogram in place while I was stitching but instead frequently checked the placement.

After stitching down the legs of my "A" I then filled in the bridge formed of my fuchsia and green balls as shown above. I did this by starting the needle on the wrong side of the fabric, and pushing up through an adjacent ball in the leg, then stringing through the centers of the felted balls on the bridge, going back down through the opposite adjacent ball, and then forming the stitches on the underside of these two felted balls.

Here is what this stitching looks like on the wrong side of the fabric. Not too pretty, but it works! I'll have to work on my technique. I love it when the "wrong" side of a garment is beautiful too...

There you have it: a monogram made of felted wool balls. Who doesn't love working with those? I hope you make something fun with this.


Julie said...

I found your learn to crochet series through Pinterest and really enjoy your blog. I just made arrangements to buy a used sewing machine and will soon be learning that skill as well. Thanks for the inspiration!

Unknown said...

Love the colorful, dimensional monogram!! I linked to your tutorial over at Craft Gossip:

Odile said...

she is so pretty ! thanks for all your ideas ! it's a pleasure to read your blog !

Craft It Up said...

Brilliant! Such a clever way to use felt balls!

Danielle said...

LOVE this. Such a clever way to incorporate some fun elements into the top!

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