Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sewing Workshop West End Top

Now that autumn is here, my sewing mojo seems to be flowing a little stronger and I'm excited to try out the plethora of new patterns I've received over the last few months.  I wanted to try the Sewing Workshop's new pattern for the West End Top first because I thought it would be a cute little top/jacket to throw on when the fall weather is cool, but still too warm for a regular long-sleeved jacket.

For the jacket, the pattern recommends using a knit or stretch woven.  I chose to ignore this and, instead, used a woven rayon I purchased from early this summer.  This fabric is a kind of a loose, rustic weave, reminiscent of a hopsack-type fabric.  This particular piece (I ordered several different ones from the grouping) is a natural color, woven with a diamond pattern.  I traced the pattern in a size extra-large, mostly because I wanted to be sure I had enough ease in the garment using a non-stretch fabric.  As I kind of expected, I easily could have gone down a size and been fine--the loose weave of this fabric did not cause any issues with ease and even may have added extra ease, as it has a tendency to grow when worked with and worn.

(ETA--I totally forgot to mention that, when I traced the size XL, I made no fitting alterations and the only change I made was to add 5/8 of an inch seam allowance to the bottom of the Front and Front Facing pattern pieces so that I could make a clean finished edge next to the zipper in front.)

I wish I had used a better-looking zipper for this project.  Something with metal teeth would have been a nicer look, but I was too impatient.  A better zipper would have meant ordering from an on-line source--I copped out and purchased a regular nylon coil separating zipper from the local JoAnn's.  It looks okay, but not as good as it could have.  Overall I am very happy with this project and am pretty sure I will make this pattern up again.  Well, the top/jacket at least.  I've never been as enamored of the pants in this one as they're just not a good style for me.  Here's my result for the top:

I paired this garment with a skirt from the Shapes Six Sense Skirt pattern.  For the skirt, I used another of the rayon "hopsack" fabrics from, this time in a natural and black stripe:

I guess it's not the best photo for seeing the design lines of the skirt, but take my word for it that this skirt pattern is especially effective in a stripe.

Next up is a pair of pants in a natural linen using my TNT basic pants pattern that I've used for years.  Then, I'm thinking of doing a small capsule wardrobe for autumn using some gold/brown fabrics I've collected.  As I said, the crisp autumn weather always turns on my sewing juices, so I'm definitely feeling the urge to get into the sewing room!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

StyleArc Ada Top

During my quest for comfortable warm weather tops earlier this summer, I pulled out my pattern for the Ada Knit Top from StyleArc.

Interesting boxy knit top with side pockets

I thought this looked perfect for my needs--a looser fit, but with unique design lines to add some interest and make it not be just another t-shirt.  My only concern was whether what appears to be a looser, comfortable fit in the design drawing would, in reality, simply be baggy and unattractive.

I ordered the pattern in size 18, which corresponds to my full bust measurement.  The only alteration I made to the pattern when tracing it was to slash the sleeve piece from hem to shoulder point and spread a bit to add about one inch extra width at the hem, tapering to nothing at the shoulder point.  I probably could have gotten away without this alteration, but I would rather have a sleeve on a summer top be a bit too loose than too constricting.

For my first attempt, I pulled out a rayon/lycra knit in a kind of tribal print which I recently obtained from  The cutting process was a little more difficult than usual with this fabric, because not only is it quite lightweight, the print is slightly off-grain.  Because of the off-grain print, I decided not to worry about any matching of the pattern across seam lines and just let the chips fall where they may.  Because of this and the busyness of the print itself, it is rather difficult to see the design lines in the finished top.  I am pleased with the outcome, however, and have worn the top a number of times this summer with enjoyment.  The fit is just what I had hoped for--loose, but not baggy.

Here's a bit better look at the pocket, which is a little droopy in this lightweight knit--

For my second attempt, I used another rayon/lycra knit, this one from EmmaOneSock.  This knit was even lighter in weight than the tribal print knit and the resulting garment is less successful than the first one.  This knit seemed almost to grow while I was sewing it up and I suspect that the pressing process during construction caused the knit to relax more than expected (even though I ironed the fabric prior to cutting).  As a result, the final top is a little looser (read "baggy") and less flattering over all, and the pockets droop a bit more than I would like.  But I do enjoy wearing this second version as well.

With the lighter colors of this print, it's a little easier to see the style lines of the pattern--

All in all, I would recommend this pattern.  The pattern is well drafted, the construction process is simple and quick, and the resulting garment is fun and flattering to wear.  I'll definitely be pulling this pattern out again next year when the warm weather hits again.