Pleated Back Flowy Tee

In early September, one of our local sewing machine dealers had a two-day event with Pamela Leggett, creator of Pamela’s Patterns.

Day one, part one was an overview of her background (which was extremely interesting) and discussion of techniques to improve sewing skills.  Description:  Are you ready to make the perfect garment?  The difference between “just OK” and “fabulous” are often simple techniques in stitching, pressing and notions.  This class will show you many unique was to make your garments look professional.

Some of these tips are in her Craftsy class, Fashion Sewing and Serging Techniques.  She is an excellent instructor and I highly recommend the Craftsy class. (Craftsy classes are also available on bluprint.com, which is a streaming site with a monthly subscription fee).

Day one, part two was about upcycling oversized t-shirts, ill-fitting sweaters, polo shirts, etc and re-making them to fit.  Description from her website:  Do you have collections of those oversized T-shirts from vacations, school activities, concerts, etc? Thanks to Pamela’s Patterns, you can take those big T-shirts and turn them into fitted and stylish tops you’ll be proud to wear anywhere! The technique is simple and fast. In no time you could have a whole new wardrobe of cute tops.

Pamela has a pattern for the upcycling with instructions for the process.  She showed us a variety of logo t-shirts that she downsized to fit, along with some very cool sweaters and cardigans.  These garments came from discount or thrift stores, in large sizes so she could customize them.  Her advice was to look at these garments as fabric.  She has a pattern that is drafted specifically for the makeover process.

Tshirt Makeover patternAt the end of Day 1, Pamela measured everyone who was attending Day 2 (The Perfect T-shirt) so we could get started right away with pattern adjustments and cutting fabric.

Pamela also has a number of You-Tube videos for her patterns.

Day 2 was Pamela’s Perfect T-Shirt class.  Description:  A T-Shirt can be more than a comfy top you throw on to do housework. A nice-fitting T-shirt can be the most versatile top in your wardrobe. This selection from Pamela’s Patterns addresses all the fitting issues women face (rounded shoulders and back, full bust, hip room, etc.), and gives you a T-shirt you’ll be proud to wear anywhere! Make it casual, dressy, or anything in-between. 

Pamela also includes a darted front pattern piece (to be used for a C cup or higher), along with a non-darted front (A & B cup users).

Perfect T-Shirt

I have made this ‘T-Shirt’ a few times, so I wore one of them to the first day of class.  Based on the t-shirt I wore, Pamela had suggestions for alterations I needed to make to the pattern.  And since I had already made this I wanted to use a different pattern.  One of the good things about her pattern line is all the garments are for knits.  And the changes you make to one top or dress pattern, would be made to all the patterns.  Necklines and sleeves are also interchangeable, so if you have a few patterns, you can make a variety of garments pretty quickly.  This is, of course, unless you are like me and make everything more complicated than it needs to be.  (You will see that next).

I decided to make the “Pleated Back Flowy Tee”.

Pattern photo

We adjusted the pattern (reduced the shoulder length, and the width across the upper front and I used the darted front).  That was it!

Pamela spent time in the class evaluating everyone’s fabric to make sure it was suitable (and worth your time to make the top). “Suitable” fabric is good quality, has good recovery & drapes well.  The recovery property is key.  A few people brought unsuitable fabric, so were able to purchase fabric from her.

I chose an ITY knit I purchased from FabricMart fabrics about a year ago.  It has a striped effect, and I wanted the stripes vertical, so I needed to cut the pattern out on the cross-grain.  The colors are black, beige and purple.  IRL, the purple is darker – more like a burgundy-purple (I call that raisin) and the portion that looks white is really a beige.  But you can see the stripe effect in the photo.

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The front of the T-Shirt:

Front

And here is where it gets complicated.  I was placing the upper back pattern piece on the fabric when I realized I would need to MATCH STRIPES!  You see, there is a horizontal seam in the back that creates the “flowy back”.  And it is curved.

Line Drawing

Oh my…so I looked around the room and found someone who had black fabric.  She graciously gave me her leftover piece.  I decided to cut a strip for the back as a separation so stripes would not have to be matched.  Since the seam was curved, the piece I added needed to be curved.  I cut a piece of black that was 3 1/2 inches high and the length of the seam.  That allowed for seam allowances to sew the strip to the upper and lower back pieces and have the small separation.  I then adjusted the upper and lower back fabric pieces to accommodate the strip.   I also cut a strip of the black so I could use black to bind the neckline.

All those changes added enough time to my work that I did not finish the top in class.  My final changes were to remove 2 inches from the shirt length, and 3 inches from the sleeve length.  With my busy fabric print, you can’t see the pleat in the lower back, but it lays nicely. Pamela wore this top in a solid color sweater knit in class, and it looked nice in that fabric as well.

Back

Several people did finish their “Perfect T-Shirt” in class and all of them looked wonderful.  And they all fit very well too.  Everyone was very happy with their creations.

Throughout the day, Pamela demonstrated a variety of techniques mentioned in the pattern, to ensure everyone understood them and could try them.  The class was paced perfectly and Pamela is a patient instructor.

On to the next project – a woven blouse is in process.

 

Just “Another” Pinch

JAP Front

I completed another Just A Pinch vest. This one made from a lightweight cotton/linen blend fabric purchased at Hancock’s (Boo Hoo to the loss of Hancocks – we are all still in mourning).

No changes to this from the previous vest.  I had added a bust dart, along with center back seam for my round back adjustment.

JAP 1Indoor picture because it has been too hot and humid here to be posing outside.  I also made the t-shirt underneath.  I used V1363 again, and did an experiment.  I removed the bust and back shoulder darts.  Because the knit is so lightweight, I thought darts would be too noticeable.  I am happy with the result.

V1363
V1363

This fabric for this vest is a very neutral beige color and needed something to amp it up.  The t-shirt fabric is a rayon spandex I picked up at Joann on sale.  It is very soft and I like the print and soft colors.  The knit was easy to sew too – it doesn’t curl on the cut edges.
JAP stitchingClose-up of the top-stitching I did.  This is on the collar; I used a rayon embroidery thread and the built-in Sashiko stitch on my sewing machine.  It is very subtle, but since topstitching was needed, might as well let it stand out a little more than matching thread would.

 

Side view:

JAP side

Next post will be for another Cutting Line Designs pattern…stay tuned.

 

The Contest Entry

Sandra Betzina, designer of Today’s Fit patterns for Vogue recently held a contest.  Sandra also has a website, Power Sewing.  The contest was called “Inspire and Layer Yourself”.  Here is a description of the contest and prize.

ENJOY! IT’S WINTERTIME OR GET A JUMP ON SPRING
Because there are so many creative people using Today’s Fit patterns, Power Sewing would like you to share your creativity with us. Since this season is all about warm, fun and classic layering, Power Sewing is having a contest. Make one of the 4 Today’s Fit Patterns (V1574, V1569, V1564, V1540) and send us photos of anything you would like to enter.

The coat/jacket/topper/tabard will be judged on (1) overall impression, (2) creativity, (3) use of fabric and detailing, (4) execution.

And the prizes for the winner:

1 Lucky winner will receive the grand prize of:
1 signed copy of Sandra Betzina’s All New Fabric Savvy book
• 1 Ron Collins Vogue Men’s Pattern, V9290
• 2 Power Sewing Skill Series DVDs: DVD#6-Pocket Particulars and DVD#3 Pillows With A Punch
• 1 Fast Fit book by Sandra Betzina
• 2 Mystery Sandra Betzina Out-of-Print patterns
• Nifty Notions Brass Seam Ripper
• Collins Wash Away Wonder Tape
• Trio of Schmetz needles
• Buttons from Sandra’s special stash
• Mystery bag of sewing notions
• 1 copy of book 111 Places in San Francisco That You Must Not Miss
                         Grand Prize Valued at $250

So, I entered my latest version of Vogue 1540.

 

Vogue 15410 on form

The main fabric is from a gray, quilted polyester knit fabric. The quilting was done with silver metallic threads. I did not quilt the fabric; this was in my resource center and has aged quite well. The reverse of this fabric is black with silver thread stripes – quite gaudy for me. The solid is a lightweight rayon/spandex gray knit that matches exactly.  I applied a whisper weight interfacing to the band to make it have the same body as the quilted fabric.  I did not make any fitting changes to this version, but I did shorten the front pattern piece and band about 3 inches.  I am happier with this length than the front length of my previous version.  The trim was purchased from JoAnn Fabrics with the help of my hubby.  It is a polyester organza fabric sewn to a piece of mesh in such a way that it looks like fur.  Here is a close-up on the jacket.

trim close_up

And the backside of the trim so you can see how it is sewn to the mesh.

back of trim

I did not have enough quilted fabric for the sleeves, so I got creative.  There is an insert in the sleeve, so I decided to cut the insert and the top portion of the sleeve (just above where the insert ends) from the quilted fabric; and cut the rest of the sleeve from the solid fabric.  I did not interface the solid fabric on the sleeve.  Hard to describe but here is how the sleeve looks.

Jarvis Details

So, how did I do in the contest?  I received a honorable mention!  This was really the first contest I entered, so it was exciting.  Sandra sent a very kind email to me complimenting my work and creativity.   She also sent a small gift; one of her patterns and a piece of trim.  I have been thinking about making that coat, so now that I have the pattern I will add it to my very long list of things I want to make.

Contest gift

Update:  A post is on Sandra Betzina’s blog showing the winner and honorable mentions.

As Sandra’s note said ..”Happy Sewing”!

See you next time.

Catching up – part two

Catching up on a few items from 2017.

There were a couple of other items I completed in 2017.  The first item I mentioned in the last post – a top that I wore during the holidays.  This was the 4th version I made from this pattern.  The pattern is a download from Lekala Patterns.    I made  pattern number 4284.  Here is a picture of it.

Lekala 4284

This is a knits-only pattern and is definitely a “business in the front, party in the back” top.  You can create a bow effect with the back yoke.  I have made 2 versions like that, and 2 versions with the back closed up.

You can order ‘made to measure’ patterns from Lekala.  You enter your measurements on the site and you can also add optional measurements or body type items (high bust, narrow shoulders, etc) to get a better fit.  It takes a couple of trials so they do offer a few free patterns.  You can do a test with the free one; it helps you to know how the software calculates.  I have gotten a pretty good fit from these.  The only caveat is ease.  Their patterns don’t have a lot of ease, and their knit patterns have negative ease (meaning the pattern will be smaller than your measurements).  I have increased my tummy and hip measurement to get more ease there.

The reason I like this pattern is because of the set-in sleeve.  Most patterns for knits with a front yoke have a cut-on or dolman sleeve.  I have tried that look and I don’t like it on me.  A set-in sleeve is a much better look for me.

My latest version was made with a sequin fabric for the front and back yokes, and sleeves.  I used a lighter weight ponte for the lower front and back.

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Back of top, with the yoke attached to the lower back.

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Lekala sparkly top

My first version was from a denim knit and a navy cotton knit fabric.  (Sorry for the wrinkles; the top was in summer storage and I brought it out for these photos).  The front:

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The back

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My second was a ‘winter version’.  I used a sweater knit remnant given to me by a friend for the yokes.  I used a ponte knit for the lower front, back and sleeves.  The back is not ‘open’ since this a cooler weather version.  Not sure why the color is off – the lower front, back and sleeves are a caramel color.

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My third version has the open back and I used a poly spandex knit (with glued-on sequins) I picked up at a sewing retreat for the front and back yokes, and sleeves.  I used the black ponte for the lower front and back.

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(I know…black is not my color).

These tops are pretty easy and once you have made one, they can be made up quickly.

Second Catch-up Item:

When I was at the Mulberry Silks retreat with Sandra Betzina, I did a muslin for Vogue 1385.

V1385

Line Drawing:

V1385 Line Drawing

I had a couple of reasons for making this. I like the neckline and I wanted to test out the raglan sleeve.  I have had good luck with Today’s Fit patterns so was hoping the raglan would work and it did.  Adjustments were minimal.  Normal round back adjustment and that was it.  This is a comfortable shirt.  I tested it with a quilting cotton so this is definitely a wearable muslin. I did wash the fabric in advance and it is very soft and comfortable.  I plan to make at least one more of these.  Then I might try to figure out how to use the raglan feature but change the neckline.  But that won’t be for a while I’m sure.

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Lastly, we went to a New Year’s Eve neighborhood party.  I love making dessert and when I saw these on line, I had to have them.

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Candy cups you can fill with stuff, that are wearing tuxedos!  How cute is that?  So here is what I made.

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I made red velvet mousse and cheesecake mousse.  I used a pastry bag with tip and piped in the red velvet mousse first, then topped it with the cheesecake mousse and some graham cracker crumbs.  Everyone loved them and I had fun making them.

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This is the last of the 2017 items.

 

 

 

Vogue 1540

Still catching up on blogging items previously made.  Earlier this year I made Vogue 1540.  Another Sandra Betzina Vogue pattern.  This one was quite easy.  I did not make any changes, other than my usual size at the shoulders, then gradually moving 1 size larger at bust and hips.  I made the shorter version.

Pattern photo and line drawing:

V1540 line drawing

I used a burgundy wool double knit and a floral print acrylic sweater knit  from my resource center.  I did not add any piping as mentioned in the pattern and did not add pockets.

On me, worn with a brown t-shirt and brown ponte skinny pants (both purchased).  Picture was take in the early spring.

Vogue 1540

My critique:  When I first put this one, it felt like I was wearing a bathrobe.  That isn’t all bad because it is comfortable.  However, I wasn’t sure if it looked like I was wearing a bathrobe.  It is a new style for me and takes getting used to.

Will I make this again?  Yes.  Will I make changes?  Yes.  I plan to take about 4 inches off the length in front, tapering to 0 at the side seam.  I may not do the sleeve insert in the next one either – that will depend on fabric.  I may also make the smaller size in the whole garment to remove some of the volume.  That will also depend on fabric choice.