Tops, Bottoms, and More

I’ve been a busy sewer and knitter over the past four days.

Empire-Waisted Top

Simplicity 3750

Over the weekend, I finished my (first) muslin for Simplicity 3750, the empire-waisted top with a tie at the waist. I traced a size 12 at the bust and tapered to a size 14 at the hips. Now that I’ve put the top together, I understand much better how it works and how I can make it more effectively in the future.

For example, somehow before I actually made the thing I didn’t realize that the front panel and the bottom front panel actually join each other, with the tie lying on top of the two joined pieces. Now that I know, I can taper without fear.

And taper I fear I must, because I think I need to go down a size, perhaps all over. It’s difficult to tell for sure, because the top fits reasonably well as it is. However, I had to take 1.5″ seam allowances in the center back and the top still has a lot of extra fabric when I fasten the tie. Also, the side seams, which hang in the proper place when the tie is unfastened, pull back and seam off once the tie is . . . tied.

Additionally, I think that the front top piece is a bit shallow. The band hits me above the underwires of my bra. I’m considering slashing the tissue and adding 1/4″ so that the pocket for my chest is just a bit deeper. Funny, since I’m very small busted, but I do think it’s necessary.

So the question is . . . do I simply adjust what I have? Or do I go back to the tracing-board and trace a size 10 at top, grading to a size 12 or 14 at the bottom? I don’t want to end up with a top that is too small either.

Once I get this pattern fitted and “production-ready,” I have a lovely turquoise and brown-paisley cotton with a speckled brown fabric for the contrast belt ready to cut and sew up.


Colette 0003: Sorbetto Top (Image from Colette’s site).

As I was thinking about how to adjust my empire-waisted top, I printed, taped together, and traced the Colette Sorbetto top. I wasn’t too pleased with my first attempt at making a woven t-shirt (Simplicity 8523). Thus, I thought going back to the drawing board and starting a new, baggage-free pattern was a good idea. I like the fact that the Sorbetto has good reviews, and many of them. I like the fact that it is free. And I like the fact that there are now user-drafted sleeves available for download.

For this top, I traced a size 2 at top grading into a size 6 at the hem. Easy-peasey, if it works. I’ll probably sew this up today, after my shopping excursion.

New Look 6859 (Awesome Hubby’s PJs, Again)

Awesome hubby has asked for two more pairs of PJs, and has underlined the necessity of me making them by putting a hole into the knee of his last pair of store-bought ones. He does insist on sitting cross-legged on his exercise ball while bracing his leg under the lip of his desk. That is really hard on clothes, and since he often works from home his comfy lounging pants see a lot of use.

The other day, I staked out several fabric stores in the garment district, and now I have two different fabrics in mind to make new PJs. I’ll pick them up today.

New Look 6227 (aka Extravagance)

But this is the real reason I have to go to the Garment District. When visiting my mom in Ithaca, I (of course) went to Joann (again) and picked up some (more) new patterns (I’ll post them later). This is one of them:

New Look 6227. Everyone needs a cape, right?

I think I’m still a long way away from being able to make a jacket or coat. Heck, I haven’t even gotten to sleeves yet. But I think I could manage a cape. I want something eye-catching, so I was hoping to find some nice, deep green coating. I browsed, and I found what I wanted at Paron.

Unfortunately, “what I wanted” cost a gut-wrenching $33/yard, and the pattern requires three yards plus a lining fabric!

I came home sad and empty-handed, because there is no way I could justify spending $100+ on fabric for a cape that I could possibly mess up. At the same time, I am certain that this pattern is so simple in design that it is best to let the fabric “sing” for itself. All other options paled next to this coating option.

Fortunately, that’s not the end of the story. I thought to look online for coupons, and it just so happens that Paron is running a Groupon: $100 of fabric for $40. You better believe I bought that up fast. Now, I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that the deep green coating is still there, waiting for me. Three yards of it is all I need.


Oh yes, I knit, too. I’ve been stalled for a while on all three of my projects, though. About three weeks ago, I decided that I wanted to pick them up again–and discovered that (of course) I’d put each of them down for a reason. I was having trouble with them. One of the three, a comfy cardigan with cables in brown washable wool from Smiley’s, was fixable, though. I’ve made tons of progress on it while watching Bones marathons over the last couple weeks. I think it’s going to turn out OK, if a bit larger than I had intended. If not, this yarn is so nice to work with that I don’t think I’ll mind redoing the whole thing!

It feels good to be making progress. Again.


Whoops. Forgot to post Hubby’s PJs.

Look at that. At the beginning of August, before I took a hiatus from sewing, I promised to post pictures of hubby’s new PJs. Here they are:

New Look 6859

New Look 6859

These pjs have gotten a lot of wear over the last two months. The pattern is definitely a hit. Simple, fast, comfortable, and they fit well. The only (minor) problem is that the pockets gape a bit, but I think that that is a flaw that is almost inherent in the design. It doesn’t bother Awesome Hubby at all.

In fact, I think Hubby wants to have more of these. He certainly managed to put a hole in his last pair of store-bought pjs quickly after I finished making these . . .

New Look 6859 Progress!

After taking quite a few days off (I needed to buy elastic, which got me out of my sewing rhythm), I’m back and sewing again. Now, I’ve got hubby’s waistband fitted and the ties for his pjs put in. All that is left is to hem them properly and I’ll have completed my fourth sewing project.

Oh, and they fit pretty well!

Reviews and pictures soon, if I can convince awesome hubby to model. 😉

Awesome Husband’s PJs Rock

New Look 6859

Last night and this morning, I worked away on awesome hubby’s requested PJs. I decided to go ahead and use the plaid cotton that I bought in the Garment District. Even though it’s a bit thin, it isn’t so far off from hubby’s summer store-bought pajamas. I figured–Why not try? The worst that will happen is it will wear out a bit faster than we would wish, and it’s better than leaving the fabric in my stash, unused and without a plan.

This pattern goes together really well. It took me just a few hours (especially with the help of my new t-square, tracing paper, and french curves) to trace all three pieces. I had the perfect amount of fabric to fit the pieces. And the instructions, so far, are crystal-clear.

Matched Plaid Magic!

Somehow, I got the plaid to match without trying–at least on the where the pockets/yoke meet the front pieces, across the front and across the back (we won’t talk about the side seams, though!). I was thrilled when I saw how well the patterns matched.

At this point, I’ve got everything sewn up below the waistband; next up: creating the casing for the elastic waistband and the twill-tape tie.

Hubby tried on the pjs before work, and they look good. Of course, there is one little fit issue: the waistband is going to hit him at least an inch higher than I would like. I will have to make a note to fold out about an inch between the crotch and the waistband before I make these again.

Tomorrow, I’ll head into Manhattan, get the elastic and twill tape, and finish this bad boy off. Although I know that the waist is gonna be riding high, I’m already proud of my work here. These look and feel good, have gone together well, and are going to be used and loved.

Thank you, Awesome Husband, for requesting these.

Hubby Wants Pajamas

So, I’ve been dragging my feet about finishing my t-shirt because I don’t like how it’s turning out (but I do want to finish it and take a photo for posterity). And I’m dragging my feet about starting my next top because I’m annoyed by my hips. I mean, I’m not even at my highest weight and I don’t like the idea of having to grade out two or three sizes from my bust measurement to accommodate my (so not big!) hips and bottom.

IE, it’s been a stalemate in SewingLand. So, hubby came to the rescue.

New Look 6859

New Look 6859

Turns out, he really wants pajamas. He needs pajamas. This morning, he informs me that nothing I could possibly make could be worse than his spare pair, and he immediately puts them on and models them to prove his point.

Point taken.

The pjs that he’s wearing have one hem torn off and a rip from the cuff all the way up past his knee. One pant leg flaps in the breeze as he walks around the home office, like a grey plaid flag. I really couldn’t do worse than what he’s wearing right now.

So here is the real next project: New Look 6859. I did my measuring, noting how unfair it is that he’s 6″ taller and 30 pounds heavier than me, but he’s a small and I’m a medium (grrr hips).

Anyway. Yeah. I guess getting used to the reality of my body and sewing to accommodate it is going to take a while. Knitting is much more forgiving.

Ok, back to the pajamas. I have read over the pattern (which I already own) and reviewed what new techniques I’m going to face in making it: buttonholes, pockets, elastic waistband (rather than fitted), drawstring. I found New Look’s instructions to be good overall (and loved that they pointed out that you could avoid getting your elastic caught on seam allowances by using a bit of fusible interfacing or basting stitches to anchor them).

One big omission–though I imagine most people will notice it!–is that they don’t instruct you to repeat all the steps for the front/pockets to the other front piece of the pajamas before you start to sew the fronts and backs together. Seems obvious, but on an “easy!” pattern it might have been worth including “Repeat steps 1-X for the other front piece.”

Today, hubby and I are going to see a matinee of Cinderella on Broadway. We’re going to leave early so we can drop by the Garment District and pick out some clearance cotton, an appropriate amount of elastic, and some twill tape for a drawstring.* I’m kind of looking forward to finding out what fabric he picks. Probably the cheapest available. Hopefully it won’t be Monty Python-inspired print, though that is a distinct possibility–if it’s the cheapest.

So, I am going to finish that last armhole on the Devil’s T-Shirt, but after that it’s pajama pants all the way. Elastic waistbands, drawstrings, and a man’s figure are all likely to prove less frustrating than my own, and he is certain that he’ll be happy to wear anything that I come up with.

Anything at all.

Can we get three cheers for my awesome husband, who just earned his very own tag?

* He was all for me making him pajamas out of my new muslin fabric–which is actual unbleached muslin–until I pointed out that it would probably be semi-see-through, rendering trips down the hall to the trash chute even more awkward than his current, half-demolished pjs do.