Sunday, October 21, 2012

Vogue 1261 (sort of)

When Vogue Patterns issued pattern 1261 (was it last winter?), I just had to have it.  It seemed right up my alley, stylewise.  I especially loved the views showing the seams stitched to the outside as a design element.  And I knew I had the perfect textured wool knit from FabricMart in my stash.

While dreaming of the fabulous tops I could make with this pattern, in the back of my mind was that little voice which said "Marcy, you only love the concept of this pattern, and its 'look,' and you know full well it isn't going to work for you."  The little voice said this because one pattern view was raglan sleeve, which never works for me, another view had dolman sleeves, which just adds extra pounds to my look that I don't need, and the third view (which seemed most likely to maybe work for me) appeared from the pattern photo to have too-wide shoulders and droopy armpits which translated to a lot of alterations to get a good result.  Of course, I ordered the pattern anyway.  Quick muslins of both views A and B proved my little voice correct and I just didn't have the wherewithal at the time to do the needed alterations.  I tossed the pattern over in the corner of the cutting table, where it has mocked me for the last year.

Fast forward to about a week and a half ago when I was doing a semi-marathon tracing session of some StyleArc patterns I recently received.  I was using my tracings of the Adele Top to analyze the potential fit of a couple of new SA top patterns because I just love the way the Adele fits through the shoulders, upper torso and armscye.  Suddenly, my little voice chirped up again (in a more helpful, less irritating way than usual) and said "you can use this pattern with that Vogue pattern to achieve what you want."  I pulled out my earlier tracings for view B of the Vogue top, laid them down over the Adele pattern pieces and re-traced the Adele shoulder/armscye portion gradually morphing into the original side seams of the Vogue.  Then I pulled out a gray and black tie-dye print rayon/lycra knit from to test my new Frankenstein ("it's pronounced Franken-STEEN").  I loved the result and the fit was much better:

My Guy was a real help during the photo shoot of this garment, as you can see by the uncropped version of the picture:  (any guesses as to his favorite part of the female figure?)

I then proceeded to go a little crazy, making up three more versions over that weekend.  Next was a version with a collar in a black with white spotted rayon/lycra from Marcy Tilton:

Then another version with a plain neck in a fabulous swirly print rayon/lycra from EmmaOneSock:

Finally, I pulled out that textured wool knit from FabricMart which I had always envisioned in this pattern.  I added center front and back seams and stitched those, as well as the shoulder/armscye seams, to the outside.  I also turned the sleeve hems to the outside and stitched the neck binding on in the reverse.  I think this treatment will look even more effective once I wet the garment and run it through the dryer.

I stitched 3/8 inch away from the lower edge, instead of a regular hem.  Hopefully, this will help keep the edge from stretching out of shape.

I really had to be careful with the cutting process to make sure all the exposed edges were smooth and even.

The above photo shows the sleeve hem and a better visual of the fabric's texture.  The sleeve hem was turned to the outside, stitched at about 1/2 inch, and then the extra hem allowance was pressed down.  I am hoping that, over time, the exposed edges will curl more than just sit flat.  The knit fabric had a smooth knit surface on one side, with a texture on the reverse--I used the textured side as the "right" side.  This photo also shows the closest to accurate color of the fabric--kind of a dark taupe, but with green overtones.

I am now really happy with this pattern and expect that it will become a regular in the TNT rotation.

(**worthless bonus points to anyone who knows the movie from which I quoted above--although I'm not sure I have the quote exactly correct)


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

StyleArc Abby Cardi

Last week I finally got around to testing out the Abby Cardigan from StyleArc patterns.

I love this pattern!  I ordered it in a size 18, corresponding to my full bust measurement.  The only alteration I made when tracing the pattern was my standard increase to the width of the sleeve.  This garment sews up quickly and easily--I can see whipping up one or two more of these for the winter.  While the instructions in StyleArc patterns are typically, um, let's say "concise," and assume some familiarity with the process of putting a garment together, this cardi is not difficult to figure out.  The only spot where someone might have any problems is with the back collar area, but if you've ever made a garment with a shawl collar, you should be good to go.

For the fabric, I used a charcoal gray with black pinstripe rayon/nylon/lycra knit by Eileen Fisher which I purchased from EmmaOneSock.  Beautiful fabric with a lovely soft hand.  I thought it was very effective in this pattern and am more than happy with the results:

The pattern suggests several options for finishing the front edges and bottom hem.  I chose to do a serged finish on these edges, single fold over and topstitch for a 5/8 inch hem.  I also mitered the corners where the front edges meet the bottom hem:

I highly recommend this pattern if you are a cardigan type of gal.  I know I will be making it again!