Thursday Top: Vogue 8815

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Well, here we are in February, the month that straddles the seasons.  The fabric stores are flaunting new lightweight cottons and linens. Yet, I’m still working through my stash of sweater knits.

At this point, it’s probably ridiculous to state the obvious – I am a fan of sweater knits. As I’ve confessed before, it’s not just because they’re cozy and comfortable. It’s because I can’t knit. Really. My brain gets ahead of my fingers and, well, chaos ensues. Sweater knits are the easy way out.

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And they are so comfortable! However, as you can see in the photo above, I’m discovering yet another cat hair on me. Knits do seem to attract fur of any sort, but doesn’t everything? Still, this particular sweater knit is wonderful, a thick cotton/lycra blend that’s textured and double faced. The result is a lush, thick fabric with a moderate amount of give that is so great to wear.

IMG_7739 I took a close up of the fabric so that you could see the texture. The pattern I used for this Thursday top is one of my TNT (tried and true) patterns, Vogue 8815.

I made it before Here. The pattern is designed for wovens, but when I found this knit, I could see it only one way – – as this top. Generally, when I decide to use a knit instead of a woven, I take the pattern down a full size. But I’ve discovered that each knit is so different, it’s hard to predict how they will behave.

This time, I tried a new method to allow for the stretch in the knit. I adjusted the seam allowances from 5/8″ to 6/8″. Because the stretch on this knit was so moderate, I didn’t want to cut out a smaller size, only to discover the knit wasn’t stretchy enough to warrant that large of an adjustment.

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In the end, I was glad I made the adjustment this way. The knit didn’t stretch enough across the shoulders to warrant any adjustment at all. Because I basted in the seams, it was easy to just let the back seam out where I needed to. Yahoo! So glad I didn’t screw up this great fabric 🙂

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Because the knit had moderate stretch, I used my Bernina’s overlock stitch rather than serging the seams. Here are my pattern modifications:

  • Because I used a knit, I didn’t insert a zipper. The neck slips over my head easily.
  • I added a solid band of knit at the neck (very stretchy so that it wouldn’t bind) in contrasting black.
  • I also added a solid black band of knit at the waist. To do this, I shortened the front and back bodice by two inches. Then I cut 2, two inch wide bands of solid knit fabric the same width as the bodice pieces.  I sewed the solid knit pieces to the shortened bodice pieces before sewing on the back and front peplum pieces.

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Done! One winter project down, and a few more to go. I’m getting antsy for Spring, though. I’ve been longing to work with linen again. I think my first spring project will be a shirt dress of some sort. Have you started sewing for Spring, or are you still working through winter projects?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

In defense of the polka dot; Vogue 9128

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When it comes to polka dots, I’m a true fan. To me, they’re a fun, easy-to-wear print; a timeless, classic look that’s fun and light. 
 
So when I spied the polka dots on this cotton knit at Mill End, I couldn’t wait to throw that bolt of fabric in my shopping cart. Imagine my surprise when the woman standing next to me scoffed at my choice. “Polka dots!” she exclaimed. “I hate those things. They send women back to the fifties every time someone wears them.” Well, as you can see, I ignored the hater and bought those dots anyway.  But she made me think even more about those innocent-looking circles of color.
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Of course, one of the reasons I love polka dots is their history. Some well known vintage fashion moments included polka dots.
Marilyn Monroe made history when she wore this bikini in the fifties.
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Elizabeth wore them too.
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And here’s Katherine Hepburn in polka dot pajamas. I’d love to channel her when I wear my dots!

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There’s no denying that those dots do have a decidedly fifty’s vibe, a time when women struggled, many without  the choices we enjoy today.
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But leave it to Zooey Deschanel, a successful woman who loves polka dots and full skirts and peter pan collars, to sum it up so well.
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Or…Polka dots! 
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My polka dot tee is Vogue 9128, a pullover top (close-fitting through the bust) with neck binding, front seam detail, and a peplum with shaped hemline. I decided to make this pattern when I noticed it included details that are a bit unusual for a tee-top, like front seams and the fun peplum. I made the long sleeved version because I wanted a transition top, something lightweight enough for warm afternoons, but with long sleeves to protect on cool fall mornings.
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As most tees are, this was quick to put together. I love the way the peplum is constructed, (attached to the center front panel).  The seam lines at the bust are great too and the curve is so gradual, it isn’t tricky to sew at all. One note about fitting – – the pattern isn’t designed so that you can modify the waist length with a mid-bodice adjustment. For me, this wasn’t a problem as the waist was positioned correctly for my shape ( a minor miracle, since I almost always have to do a waist adjustment.) But if you’re long waisted, you might want to take extra care to figure out if the fit will be right for you.
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 Here’s a back view of the contrast.
What do I like most about this pattern? You know me – – it has options! You can mix and match fabrics by using contrasting solids or patterns or both. And it’s a great stash /remnant buster because it only takes 5/8 of a yard of fabric to make the contrasting panels.
It’s highly likely that I will make this top again, as the pattern just screams to be color-blocked. I probably won’t use polka dots again, although, to be honest, I do have another remnant in my stash (LOL). So, how do you feel about polka dots? Love, hate, or just so-so?
Happy sewing, and thanks for stopping by!

I’m having a blue moment…

Blue! Everything in my wardrobe is blue. Black used to be my go-to color, a drab, but safe option. But now, everything’s coming up blue.

Why am I obsessed with ‘blue’ this Spring? It could be because I’d like to see the gray of our Oregon sky replaced with a bit of blue!! Or maybe its because I need a trip to the tropics and a ‘hit’ of a warm ocean’s blue. Whatever the reason, I’m completely taken with any and all variations of blue this Spring; denim blue, sky blue, robin’s egg blue, sailor’s blue, powder blue, cobalt blue…need I continue? Perhaps, you’ve seen me. I’m the wild-eyed blonde that’s lurking in the the denim and chambray aisle of your favorite fabric store.
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I can’t tell you how many random pieces of blue fabric I’ve picked up over the last few months. My latest ‘hit’ of blue came when I spotted a gorgeous piece of linen at Fabric Depot. At first, my thoughts were reasoned. “You can’t have it,” I told myself. “Your stash is huge.” But my heart other ideas.
That’s when I remembered an important fact about linen. It breathes, which makes it the perfect choice for summer clothes! Since I’m planning a trip to the tip of Southern California in June, I’ll need tops that can handle cool coastal mornings as well as hot dry afternoons. That’s justification enough for me!
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The top I made with my lovely blue linen is Butterick 6097, a fitted shirt with a collar and peplum variations, princess seams and a front button band. I chose the pattern because it has some structure, which will make it a great companion for shorts, skirts, or jeans. Also, the has the style has a slight retro vibe, which I always, always love.
I made view B, a long sleeve version that I modified. My sleeves are closer to 3/4 and I skipped the cuff so that I could push the sleeves up if I got too warm. Also, that version had a pleated peplum, which was something I’d never tried before.
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Because the pattern is so fitted, I chose to go up a size in the waist (since I don’t really have one), then cut my usual size through the hips. I didn’t do a muslin (since I have zero patience), an approach that frequently has horrifying consequences. But this time, lucky for me, my adjustments worked! The pattern went together easily and it fit with just a bit of last minute seam adjustment at the sides.
The linen was a breeze to sew with, but it has absolutely no ‘give’, so I’m lucky my size adjustments worked!! I love any fabric that presses into a crisp, clean edge and this linen did not disappoint. However, as we all know, linen is notorious. Pressed today means wrinkles tomorrow, no matter what you do. But I love linen’s wrinkles – they’re classic and cool. The pleats were super easy to sew as long as you marked them well.
 I’ve worn the top once and it was really comfortable, even after eating a huge dessert, a ‘plus’ in my book. Now, if only my waist was as small as this woman’s…She’s a miniature version of a real woman, right?
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Do you like to sew with linen? What’s your favorite fabric to wear in summer?