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.


Muslin: Simplicity 3750

I was inspired to try sewing for 20 minutes today, and that quickly turned into several hours. Funny how that happens.

Anyway, I decided that I had nothing to lose (except a few pieces of muslin), so I dove into Simplicity 3750. What began as simply pressing the tissue turned into laying the pattern out, cutting, and then stitching up a few pieces. Before long, I had this:

Simplicity 3750: Muslin Front

Not bad.

This was my first time gathering, and it shows a bit (I need to make sure that when I make the actual garment I space out the gathers more evenly). I haven’t done the back yet, so I can only estimate how it will fit. It looks to me like the front yoke (the shoulder pieces) are going to be a mite too short for me. When I hold the front up to my body, I feel like the tie will ride too high unless I lengthen the yoke. However, the rest of the front seems to be dead on in terms of size. This surprised me, because I was certain it would be much too large.

We’ll see what happens when I piece the rest of this top together. Will it continue to fit, more or less?

I’m quite curious now.

Still Stuck on Simplicity 3750

Way back in July, when it was still summer, I said that my next project would be Simplicity 3750. Well, I’m still trying to get started on it. I’ve now got all my pieces traced onto tracing paper. Since I had such a bad time with my last top (probably springing from having cut too small a size/the fact that the largest hip on the pattern was still an inch too small), I’ve been having a hard time making myself invest in this top.

It’s complicated by the fact that Simplicity 3750 is made up of three pieces in front, so I’m concerned about fitting it. I’d do a different top, but this is the only top I currently have fabric for (everything else is suiting for skirts, vests, boleros, etc). I don’t want to buy more fabric until I am certain I will use what I have.

So, I’m left staring at my various pattern pieces, needing to trim around them and tissue fit and feeling convinced that I’ve traced the wrong sizes, but that the other options would be more wrong.

Maybe I should just make another skirt. Or maybe I should push through.

Next Project: Simplicity 3750

Hubby took my measurements before he departed, and now I am preparing to start my next top. I went back and forth about what to do next, because I have already done three Simplicity patterns and wanted to try something different. However, I also really want this top:

Simplicity 3750

So, finally, I decided to go for it. I’ll be doing the sleeveless view for now. I’ll find out if another pattern company’s basic fit is better for me later.

I haven’t got a fashion fabric for this top yet, but I do have all the notions necessary except for bias tape, which I can make. I’m going to try to put my measurements to good use, and I’m learning from my mistakes. Therefore, the process will be:

  1. Cut around the needed pieces, but keep all the sizes uncut (done).
  2. Iron tissue, then go at the pieces with a ruler to see how the size that my measurements suggest is right for me (Size 10) actually compares to my own measurements as I move down to waist and hip, so I’ll know where to grade out to a larger size.
  4. Then, I’ll see about tissue fitting, figuring out whether the waistline of the traced pattern meets mine, and making needed adjustments.
  5. Muslin.
  6. Fix stuff.
  7. Pick out a fabric that I absolutely love and make it for real.

I have to say, I’m not feeling patient right now. I’d sort of like an easy victory. At the same time, I know that if I rush and cut the tissue, I’m going to be sorry. I’m still figuring out how my body and flat paper can be reconciled.

(And when I get the proper weight interfacing, I’ll be returning to my V-Neck shirt.)

Wish me luck.