(click the picture to see more photos in my Picasa album)
This is a great knit top pattern, and I highly recommend it! What I love is that those princess seams are not just decorative - they provide a lot of shaping. I made a size down from what I normally sew for knit tops (a size 10, my bust measurement is 36.5" for reference), and I ended up letting out the side seams 1/2" on each side (1" circumference). I would recommend basting before you make anything permanent - there are a lot of seams to play with, so you should be able to get a great fit.
The one thing about this pattern is to ignore the techniques they suggest - Vogue always seems to have weird ideas about how to sew knits. For seams, a small zigzag will work. I used my serger for all the seams, and my new coverstitch machine (a Brother 2340cv) for the hems. A twin needle would work great for the hems also.
Instead of the recommended bias tape for the neckline, I cut a band on the cross grain of the knit 3/4 the length of the neckline (plus seam allowances) and serged that on, which has the added bonus of raising the neckline a bit.
Anyway, I would definitely recommend this pattern and I'll be making it again for sure!
I have been digging the New Look patterns lately - this one is New Look 6813, done in mystery (probably poly/cotton) interlock knit from a thrift shop in salmon, and clearance mystery (again probably poly/cotton) dark brown jersey from Joann's.
This was a very quick top to make, but it didn't turn out quite as I had expected. I expected something a little more close-fitting, and I thought the V-neck would be more modest. It is alright as-is, and I will certainly wear it, but keep in mind if you want a close-fitting top you might have to go down a size or two. This was already a size smaller than my measurements indicated. If I make this one again, I will probably raise the neckline a bit in addition to making the whole thing in a smaller size.
I did most of the construction on my serger, except for the construction of the contrasting neckband and the hem, which is twin-needle stitched on my regular machine. Instead of sewing the neckband to the garment then turning under the edge of the facing and stitching it down, I serged the neckband and facing to the garment in one step. The inside finish is not as nice, but it was a lot faster! I still need to do some practicing with V-necklines on my serger -- this was a little hair raising because I didn't baste first, but it came out ok!
The only real change I made to the design was adding the bands to the sleeves. The sleeves were too big and quite droopy, so I added a band of the brown fabric cut on the crosswise grain, and stretched it quite a bit. This cinched in the sleeves a little and made it a little nicer. I had intended to add the bow at the neckline, but with the overall droopy look of the top, it looked a little silly so I left it off. The bow is just a separate piece that's stitched on at the end, in case you are debating whether that's a good look for you.
Overall, I would recommend this pattern, as long as you pay attention to the sizing and the depth of the neckline. Maybe make a practice version first. I think it might be a little less droopy in a fabric with some spandex - I think my fabric tends to stretch but doesn't have much recovery. I have a lot of other things I want to try, but I might come back to this top again at some point.
This top would be great for beginners! The pattern is New Look 6179, and the fabric is crinkle cotton gauze from Hancock fabrics. Now, on to the pictures:
Note, if you decide to use a crinkle fabric, you can't press it with an iron. Just smooth it out a little with your hands and finger press the seams. You'll want to leave the crinkles in when you cut, otherwise it will shrink up when you wash it and become too small.
Now, about the pattern itself. This one is super easy - the only vaguely tricky part is sewing the notch, and the illustrations show that pretty well. Instead of using bias tape to make a casing, I added 1" to the neckline edge and turned it under.
Be aware when you pick your pattern size that this top has a lot of ease in it. I made a size smaller than what my measurements indicated, and it is still quite loose. The plus side is that since it's loose fitting, you won't have to make a bunch of alterations to get it to fit. The downside is that it might not be the most flattering. I think a row of elastic at the empire waistline would probably make it a bit more flattering, but for now I'm embracing the loose fit. It will comfy to wear on hot days. This top would also make a nice coverup for the beach.
Any questions, comments or suggestions? I'd love to hear from you.
I've been working on this mini-wardrobe for a contest over on patternreview.com: (click for a slightly larger picture) You can look at the individual pictures in my Picasa album here: Mini Wardrobe Album
The challenge for this contest was to make a 4-piece wardrobe in the month of May. I finished yesterday, with 2 days to spare!
Now for a few details on the patterns, if you're interested:
Tops: Simplicity 2936 This pattern is super easy and has some cute options. The raglan sleeves make these especially easy to sew. I cut a size smaller than my measurements indicated, and added 1" to the width and 1/2" to the length in the front in a full bust adjustment. I did this by slashing the front pattern piece at each tuck, adding 1/4" to each, and then increasing the tuck by 1/4" to take out the extra at the waist. I also lengthened 1/2" by slashing horizontally and spreading the pattern, tapering to nothing at the sides.
I made view C with gathered sleeves for the white/blue/green top, which was definitely the fastest and easiest. The yellow top is view D without the collar, and those little ties on the sleeves took a bit of putzing around. A little tricky with narrow seam allowances, and I had to hold my breath turning them right side out because my fabric was so fragile! But, not difficult and worth the extra hour of sewing time (and I'm pretty slow). I heartily recommend this pattern for summer tops!
Bottoms: Simplicity 3846 Another nice and easy pattern. I made both the skirt and shorts without any alterations, except changing the length. I shortened the skirt about 3/8" and did a blind hem by hand instead of a narrow machine stitched hem. I also shortened the shorts by about 3", which was tricky because they have a cute little vent thing going on for the bottom hem. If you aren't very tall (I am 5'6"), it would be wise to figure out how long you want these before you cut out the pattern because the leg is slightly tapered and the part that will be turned up for the hem needs to flare slightly to match the width of the leg, if that makes sense. I didn't do this, and it was a little tricky to get things lined up right in the end. Both the skirt and the shorts have a side zipper, and I used an invisible zipper, which I think is a lot easier and neater looking than a regular one.
I actually bought this pattern for short sleeve jacket, but the nice basic skirt and shorts were a pleasant surprise when I realized they would work perfectly for my mini-wardrobe. I have enough of the khaki twill fabric to make the matching jacket, but I wasn't going to attempt that for the contest.
Well, thanks for looking, and I'd love to hear what you think! Questions, comments, suggestions?
The tops are from Simplicity 2936, and the bottoms are from Simplicity 3846. Here's my contest entry on Pattern Review: Mini Wardrobe Review. I even finished with 2 days to spare! Sewing for the contest was fun, but I hope I won't be sewing with a deadline again very soon. Now the question is...what to do next? I have extra fabric to make a jacket that matches the skirt and shorts, so I might start on that.
oneredboot - sounds like you're a very productive seamstress! I can't wait to see what you've come up with. I think breaking it down into mini-wardrobes is nice - it makes it easier to think about than one big wardrobe. For the big wardrobe, I get kind of hung up on "all tops must go with all bottoms" and stuff like that, but breaking it up makes it a little easier to think about. I think all my pieces will end up going together anyway, but this way it doesn't seem as strict (and I tend to play by the "rules").
MirthFairy - your top sounds really cute. Can't wait to see how it comes out! Great that you've given your alteration skills a little practice - it is really nice when you can do the alterations beforehand and have your garment come out just right the first time around.
violette28 and i am not creative - welcome! Anyone can feel free to join in at any point - I'll probably still be sewing summer stuff until July, when I have to leave for a summer program. I'll be gone for 3 weeks -- all the more reason to have a nice mix-and-match wardrobe ready.
I finished this shirt last night:
The pattern is Simplicity 2936 - I highly recommend it for anyone looking for an easy summer top! It was so quick to make. As far as alterations, I cut the size based on my high bust measurement and did a full bust adjustment before cutting out the fabric - added 1" in width to the front and increased the tucks by 1/4" each to take out the excess in the waist. I also added 1/2" to the length in the front tapering to nothing at the sides. I plan to make another instead of another pattern I was planning because this was so easy and fit so well!
Thanks MirthFairy! Have you had a chance to get started yet (or had the funds to do so)? I forgot to say that I really like your shirt idea. Piping always adds such a professional touch - I should try it sometime.
I'm working on a shirt from Simplicity 2936, which is turning out to be very nice and easy, for any of you looking for a cute and simple summer top. I should be finishing it up in the next couple days.
Oh, and here are a couple new storyboards (click for larger pics) Big storyboard for all of summer: Mini-wardrobe to be made in May:
I was in a very similar situation when I made my wedding dress -- in fact, I bought my sewing machine and learned to sew for the purpose of sewing my wedding dress. I got my machine in January, and made my dress for my wedding that July. I just want to say it can definitely be done, and offer some words of wisdom.
First, if you're interested, a picture of my wedding dress: Click for a larger picture and more pictures from the wedding. We didn't get a really good full length shot of the dress without flowers in the way, but you can get an idea. It was 2-piece, top and skirt made from different patterns. For fabric I used cotton sateen underlined and lined with quilting cotton. The top had boning in the seams. I made a muslin of both the skirt and bodice (actually 2 muslins) for fitting purposes. If I had it to do over again, I might choose a more unstructured style - more like a sundress. The fitted bodice was a real challenge, and I didn't end up having time for any kind of embellishments (although in the end I decided I didn't really need them). Even after all my hard work with fitting, the top still didn't fit perfectly, but it worked out ok anyway. I was really glad I picked non-slippery fabrics.
I like Penlowe's advice of going around to the bridal shops. If you're interested in informal dresses, don't forget about department stores too. Pay attention to embellishments and think about how much (if any) you want -- beading, lace applique, and other embellishments are not all that hard to do. They just take time, so you can always use them to fancy up a simple style.
Once you've got an idea of style you like, here is my advice for approaching the sewing part: 1. Get to know your sewing machine and sew some simple garments. If you poke around here for beginner suggestions, I'm sure you'll find some ideas. 2. Think about the fabric you'd like to use, making sure this fits with the general style you like. For example, crisp cottons or silk dupioni won't work with flowing styles, while charmeuse and chiffon will need extra layers for support if you want to make them into structured, boned bodices. 3. Pick out a pattern (or patterns), being sure to consider difficulty. Like I said above, if I had it to do over again, I think I would more seriously consider a sundress. Fitted bodices need to fit just so, especially if they are strapless or off-the shoulder. If you want to do a fitted strapless formal dress, consider doing a 2-piece dress. Since the bodice won't have to hold the skirt up, it will be less of a problem if the fit isn't just right (or at least the dress won't be falling down!) 4. Check out some books on bridal/formalwear sewing - be sure to check your library and used bookstores. I liked Susan Khalje's Bridal couture. 5. Make a muslin. Or two. Or three. Start early. This will get you familiar with the construction of the dress and help you with the fitting.
Anyway, I hope that helps at least a little. Congratulations, good luck, and feel free to let me know if you have any questions or need moral support.
I like your "rules" MirthFairy - and don't forget to enjoy it. #4 can contribute to that a lot - I feel like when I just sit back and think of sewing as a process that I enjoy, the little bumps along the way don't bug me as much.
I just finished a pair of jeans from Vogue 1034, which I highly recommend. Here are a couple pictures (click for larger images):
That will be the last item from my "spring" wardrobe, and now I'll be transitioning into summer - short sleeve/sleeveless tops, shorts, skirts. My spring stuff will definitely work with the summer things, though. So, I should have a lot of options even though I'm changing my plan a little.