I do have some big (for me) news though - I have made friends with knits! I've been genuinely intimidated by the notion of knit fabric for "ordinary" clothes. Even though I've made plenty of costumes using knits, I didn't really think I could achieve a nice, professional-looking finish on everyday wear. So even though I cut this pattern out back in - wait for it - May, it sat on the desk until two weeks ago. (Yup, this was one of the four projects I pledged to make for MMM. Oops.)
Two weeks ago though I decided it was ridiculous to be defeated by fabric and had a go. And in doing so I discovered my new favourite pattern! This is Style Arc's Rowe Top / Tunic. (I'm having trouble linking to it, but googling that should take you straight there :) ). I've been wanting a slouchy tee for a while, but a lot of the RTW ones I've tried on are very boxy, which is a look I really like - but only on other people. Also, a lot of them seem to gape at the neck, and I wanted something comfy I could move in without having to constantly glance down and check on.
It's nice and slouchy, but has a nice shape at the sides ( not that you can really tell on the hanger...) And I'm not sure how the fine folks at SA did it, but the neckline sits flat at all times. Hurrah! This was straight from the pattern with no modifications.
You know when you tell yourself you're only making a muslin, but you're actually really hoping it turns out to be a proper wearable garment? Here 'tis :)
The sleeves are finished with bands of the same fabric, which makes for a really nice finish.The only change I'd make from now on, and this is purely personal preference, would be to take a bit of volume out of the sleeve hem. 4cm / 1 1/2" would be just about perfect.
I like the design line on the back; I think it's a nice little added feature. Plus, it would lend itself to colour-blocking very nicely.
I had a bit of trouble getting a smooth stitching line at first - as you can see on that back seam above. But what I was more worried about was getting the hemline to look right (you know, not "homemade"). This was the main intimidation factor, after all! But my machine's instruction manual had this strange, random-sounding little tip that I'd never heard of before: If stitching line is not smooth, sew with a sheet of paper underneath.
I gave it a go, even though it sounded a bit like some editor was bored and having a laugh. You know what? It works! Below you can see the one of the first practice pieces lying over the top of the sewn-to-paper piece:
Who'd have thunk it! Mind you, I'd also like to add that you need to be very careful as you're tearing the paper away afterwards...One side at a time works best I found :)
A few months after I cut that one out I bought a beautiful remnant of a neutral coloured wool jersey (about 1.5m, I think). I bought it with this pattern in mind, hoping that one day I'd actually be brave enough to attempt it. Then I happened to notice that colour-wise it worked quite well with the sequin fabric I made my last post's Festive Skirt out of. I'm trying to get a bit more creative with leftover project scraps - I really hate waste - so I experimented a little. And I think it worked!
From memory, the sleeves are 5cm / 2" shorter than the pattern, and hemmed rather than finished with the bands. I also combined the upper and lower back pieces into one pattern piece. This is easy - just match up notches and make sure the seam lines are laid on top of each other, rather than laying the pattern pieces edge to edge:
I generally cut out pattern pieces pretty frugally (a legacy of years of costuming on minimal budgets!), so once I'd done the one above I thought I just might be able to squeeze another top out of what was left over. This fabric is so soft and fine and warm, that it seemed a shame not to have a long sleeved top for winter out of it... And, as luck would have it, there was a post I'd read by Grainline a few days earlier that explained how to convert a short sleeved pattern into a long sleeved one. There was just enough to make it work!
There's probably a bit too much volume in the lower arm; I could have graded it in a bit so it was more noticeably 'batwing". And in a perfect world, I would have finished off the hem with a band also. But these are pretty small niggles overall, especially given I got my two tops out of one remnant!
So there you have it; my new go-to comfy pattern! Don't you just love accommodating patterns??
Do you have any "blank canvas" dependables like this one? Or any more tips for sewing with knits? Do share!
Have a wonderful week :)