I have taken several Marcy Tilton workshops and find her to be an inspiring teacher and innovative designer. Besides that, she’s a very special and thoughtful person and friend. As I’m preparing for an Italian vacation this summer and obsessed about what to pack, I decided to make Marcy’s tunic top, Vogue 8582.
On one of my most recent trips to check on my mother in Asheville, I stopped in at Waechter’s Fine Fabrics and came away with a couple yards of an olive poly/rayon/spandex knit, similar to this.
I normally eschew polyester. (Define:eschew – to avoid habitually especially on moral or practical grounds) But this blend neither feels nor wears like your typical poly knit. It feels great, sews up great, and looks great. A triple threat!
I love cowl neck tops, but wasn’t sure about the dip-on-one-side of this top, so decided to cut the non-dip side of the front and back on the fold so it would have a straight hem rather than the dipped hem.
Here’s my take on the pattern:
Pattern Description: From the pattern envelope, “Semi-fitted asymmetrical pullover tops A, B, C. A: contrast neck and armhole bands. B: neck band and unfinished three-quarter length sleeves. Wrong side of fabric will show on all bands. C: cowl “twisted” collar and long sleeves.”
Sizing: Misses 8-22. My measurements indicated an 18, but when I checked my knit fabric against the recommended stretch on the pattern back, this fabric was not as stretchy as the original, so I cut a 20.
Fabric Used: Poly/rayon/spandex knit from Waechter’s Fine Fabrics in Asheville, NC. (They’ll send you swatches …. Just sayin’!)
Needle/Notions Used: Universal needle size 12, tricot interfacing to reinforce the shoulder seams
Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes – considering the changes I made. I think it looks great—see pic below.
How were the instructions? Here’s where I cannot praise this pattern enough. Marcy has written an extensive preface to the instructions detailing how to work with knits, how to work with the garment pieces during construction to ensure a good fit. I will be applying her techniques to every knit garment I construct in the future. This instructional preface is, simply, brilliant!!
Once into the actual construction, the instructions and illustrations were clear. I don’t think there were any steps that left me scratching my head. Marcy’s suggestions for hemming (hand-sewing, double-needle sewing, wooly nylon, etc.) were, again, brilliant.
Construction Notes: After reinforcing the shoulder, I sewed the shoulder seams and pinned the sides seams (wrong sides together) per Marcy’s preface. When I tried it on, I didn’t like how the armscye gapped in front. I am, alas, a 36-DDD. These girls cause problems! I decided to take a little dart in the armscye to remove the gap.
I had to play with it – sewing and unsewing several times – to get it right, but once it was done, I was pleased with the fit.
The cowl was simple to install, and Marcy’s method of creating the drapey cowl was just brilliant. (Okay, I’m overusing this word, but do you sense a theme here? I have such high regard for the brain inside her head!)
Then it was time to sew in the sleeves. Of course, when I got to the front where I had removed about 3/4″-1″ of the armscye for the dart, I had more sleeve than front. Thank [insert name of favorite deity here] the knit is forgiving. By just pinching and sliding and pinching and sliding, I was able to fit it all in. A good pressing removed any remaining pucker.
When I got to the hems, I used the hand sewing method for the sleeves. For the bottom hem, I wanted to get it done quickly to wear to that evening’s St. Paddy’s party at a friend’s home, so decided to spray with some Sulky spray adhesive that I had on hand and use the double-needle method. I didn’t mask off the garment from the hem area, and got some of the spray on the body of the garment. A few dabs of alcohol and a quick wash and dry after the hem was finished took care of the overspray.
I mitered the corners, which was not suggested in the instructions. I just like that finished look on the inside. Then I used a double needle (4.0, I think). Turning the corners was challenging, but I just tried to hold the left side in place and pivot the right side, so was pretty successful in getting the left needle to keep going into the same hole. I didn’t post a picture of that detail, but I’m pleased with how it looks.
Likes/Dislikes: I don’t love basting, but had challenges with sewing the inside of the collar down with just pinning. Next time I will hand-baste, then stitch-in-the-ditch. And I might make the side opening a little shorter. I like to raise my arms without anyone seeing my exposed waist.
I didn’t have any wooly nylon on hand, so my double-needle hem is raised a little. No big deal, but next time I’ll try the wooly nylon to have the hem without a ridge.
Other than that, I don’t like the pattern—I love.love.love it.
Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Yes and yes, absolutely. I have some pink silk knit that I want to make up in View B, with the dipped hem this time. Then I want to go to Marcy’s website and grab one of her “cool combos” to make the sleeveless version with the contrast trim.
I also recently purchased the Amy Knit Top from StyleArc, an Australian pattern company with exquisite designs. I have some great knit yardage in a strong geometric pattern in brown and turquoise that I got from Ann Steves’ Gorgeous Fabrics. Paired with a pair of skinny brown knit pants, this combo will also go into my suitcase for Europe.
Conclusion: I wore my new top to my chorus rehearsal last night. My friend and fellow sewist, Amanda, admired it and told me she had never worked with knits before. This pattern is perfect for her and others who are apprehensive. Marcy’s instructions deal with all those niggling fears one might have, and leave the sewist with a stylish, perfectly constructed garment. Many congratulations and thanks to Marcy and to Vogue Patterns for this pattern!