The Every Woman Top

I waited for months for the weather to change, and then when it finally did I realized I had quite a shortage of professional, casual clothes for cooler temperatures. You know the category – not jeans and hoodies, and also not dress slacks and blazers. These are the clothes I need to wear to my teaching job every weekday morning. So I choose to make this long sleeve, knit, wrap top for Fresh Make #21, not to wow you with my sewing skills (which I confess is sometimes how choose my makes), but because it is a garment that I truly need.DSC_0496DSC_0497

The neckband lays beautifully in the back. The gathers formed by the side shirring are more successful in the back because of the single layer of fabric.

The neckband lays beautifully in the back. The gathers formed by the side shirring are more successful in the back because of the single layer of fabric.

The pattern I choose is Vogue 8151. I bought it on sale at JoAnn’s for $4.99. I’ve been trying to make a commitment to making my own basics. I was attracted to this pattern because the wrap front offers a nice variation on a basic knit top. I was also curious about “Today’s Fit” by Sandra Betzina. The sizing on “Today’s Fit” patterns have a bust/waist/hip ratio more in line with the measurements of real women. I noticed that it was copywrited in 2005, so this pattern has some staying power in the Vogue book. I named it The Every Woman Top because it was designed for all of us. DSC_0510I originally purchased this fabric with the intention of making an easy wearing, short sleeved dress. But the weather turned cooler, and another warm weather dress was not what I needed at the moment. I bought this fabric because I was anxious to try an Amy Butler knit as I know hers is a name I could trust for quality fabrics. There are a lot of bad knits out there. This cotton interlock is Cross Roads in Citrus from Amy Butler’s Glow collection. The weight is substantial and it feels as soft as a favorite pair of PJs. I purchased it from my favorite online fabric store, Hawthorne Threads. I purchase 2 yards at $14.50 per yard, plus tax and shipping. Not cheap but well worth it, I think.
I love the neckline on this top. I usually do not look good in a wrap neckline because of my small bust, but this it cut just right for me.

I love the neckline on this top. I usually do not look good in a wrap neckline because of my small bust, but this it cut just right for me.

Inside peek!

Inside peek!

DSC_0518I used clear elastic for the shirring on the sides. I first used this elastic on my Moneta Dress.

LET’S BE HONEST:
1. I cut a size C. The sizes range from A to J. The measurements on size C are: bust – 36″, waist – 28 1/2″, hips – 38 1/2.” I still have a pear shape even with these adjusted ratios. The pattern offered simple adjustment instructions for different body types. I followed the small bust adjustment and folded out 1/2″ through the middle of the dart to reduce dart width.

2. I followed the instructions by looking at the illustrations (which is what I usually do, unless the picture is confusing, then I read.) When I did my first try on, it felt a little too roomy, and I honestly felt I cut the right size for me. So I did a gradual take in on the sides from the armhole through the bust and waist and gradually came back out near the hip. Just today, when I glanced over the pattern, before writing this post, I noticed the instructions says to sew a 1″ seam down the sleeve and sides, then adjust if necessary depending on the stretch of your knit. Ah, that’s why it was big, I had stitched a standard 5/8″ seam! Oh well, next time.

3. You can’t really tell exactly how it’s going to look and fit until the elastic is sewed into the side seams to create the shirring. After I had done that, I wasn’t compelled to remove it to adjust the side seams. (Maybe I shouldn’t have been so lazy.)

3. While I love this fabric, I don’t think it’s a perfect choice for this pattern. Aside from the fact that the top should just fit me more snugly, I think the shirring at the bottom would form nicer folds with a thinner fabric such as a single jersey knit.

4. I shortened the sleeve by 1″ before cutting.

Despite not achieving the fit I envisioned based on the photo on the front of the envelope, I still like this top and I have something new to grab in my closet. I am actually very anxious to make this pattern again with a single knit and a more snug fit. I think it has the potential to be very flattering. Thanks for reading this post. I welcome your comments! Cheers, Lori

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The Global Warming Jacket

Can a gal have too many cardigans? Maybe, maybe not. But I do get tired of grabbing one day after day, especially when that’s all we to need to keep ourselves warm for most of our fall and winter days in here in inland SoCal. As an alternative to a cardie, I made a lightweight, unlined jacket for Fresh Make #20.DSC_0598DSC_0576DSC_0590 The pattern I used is Butterick 5617. I bought it several months ago at JoAnn’s on sale for $1.40. I was drawn to this pattern because of it’s loose fit and hip length, a style that is usually flattering on me. I named it the Global Warming Jacket because, like I already mentioned, cold days here in Southern California seem to be getting fewer and farther between. The El Ninos they kept predicting never come. If I spend my time making a jacket, I want to actually get lots of wear out of it.

I made view C/D.

I made view C/D so I can wear the sleeves long or rolled up.

I purchased the fabric at The Fabric Store on La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles. It is a medium weight twill linen, and unbeknownst to me when I bought it, it’s stretchy – quite stretchy, in fact. I have never encountered linen with Lycra. The pattern required 1 3/4 yards. I thought I was paying $12 per yard, but when the sales clerk rang me up, the total including tax came to $13.73. It turns out the fabric was 40% off that day! This was one inexpensive linen jacket. At my own risk, I pre-washed the fabric in the washing machine in cold water and hung dry.

I love to dye fabrics as much as I love to sew. I couldn't resist putting some hand-dyed covered buttons on this jacket.

I love to dye fabrics as much as I love to sew. I couldn’t resist putting some hand-dyed covered buttons on this jacket.

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The back has four separate pieces which create a nice fit and style.

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The collar consists of an under-collar piece and a separate band.

The collar consists of an under-collar piece and a separate band.

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LET’S BE HONEST:
1. I cut out size 12 with no alterations. I was more concerned that it fit well on top than it being a little snug through the hips. I imagine it being worn unbuttoned most of the time anyway. (If you’ve read my previous posts, you know that I’m a 16/18 on my bottom half.)

2. This stretchy Lycra is interesting to work with. It can stretch out while sewing, but just as easily steams back into shape. I had to hand baste close to where I was going to machine top stitch to prevent the top layer of fabric from pulling and creating puckers. Also, the fabric snagged fairly easily.

3. The illustrations of the collar on views B,C and D are inaccurate. The corners are rounded, and it is attached to a neckband. If you look closely, the line illustration at the beginning of the instructions shows this more accurately. I actually love the rounded collar, so I’m not complaining.

4. Twice I sewed the top of the pockets on the wrong place on the front panels. I didn’t match the correct snips together. I was worried there would be permanent marks on the fabric where I took the stitches out. Luckily where weren’t.

I love this jacket. The stretch in the linen makes it as comfortable as any cardie. There will be lots of days this fall, winter and spring that I will be wearing it!

Thanks for reading this post. As always, I welcome your comments. Any plans for making some outerwear this fall or winter? Cheers, Lori