Something for a Hot and Humid Summer

Stripe8671When I was in Santa Barbara in February, I picked up a bolt end that Marcy Tilton had on her clearance table. It was a cocoa-and-turquoise stripe—good colors for me—in a touchably soft cotton jersey. Ever since I finished the cocoa pants just prior to our vacation trip to France, I’ve been wanting to get this top made to go with the pants. The late-June/early-July weather in Northeast Ohio has been unusually hot and humid, and my wardrobe is low on cool tops. So here’s my cool top.

Pattern Description: Marcy Tilton T-shirt, Vogue 8671, View A

Pattern Sizing: Misses 8-22, I cut a 16

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Basically

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, except for one omission that hampered me (see below).

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Easy, fast, flattering. I like the little bit of assymetricality.

Fabric Used: Cotton jersey stripe from

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I couldn’t figure out exactly what the pattern directions wanted me to do with the neck and front, so I just kinda played it by ear.

When Vogue copyeditors got their hands on the instructions for the neck finish, something got lost in the translation.

On the neck opening, you are instructed to pin the neckline band to the inside of the neck opening, right side of the band to wrong side of the neckline opening. The instructions say to stitch in place, then trim close to the stitching, and that the raw edge will be the neckline treatment. However, the illustration indicates a double needle is used (note depiction of zig-zag on wrong side and two topstitch lines on the right side). I didn’t notice the discrepancy between the written instructions and the illustration until I had already sewn the band onto the neck.

My solution: I stitched the band to the inside about 3/8″ from the edge, then trimmed and folded to the outside, pressed, and topstitched about 1/4″ from the edge. I finished by trimming the band fairly close to the topstitching. Because I’m working with a knit, it won’t ravel, and it looks pretty nice. (Going back after finishing and reading a couple of reviews on PatternReview, my method also prevents the potential problem that Madcap on PR mentioned: If you staystitch the neck edges first, then apply the band in the manner shown in the instructions and illustration, you’re going to have to go back and remove the row of staystitching to avoid have three lines of stitching—two straight and one not-so!)

Stripe8671frontI overthought the side front seam. On my fifth reading, I realize it was perfectly correct, but at the time of construction, my brain wasn’t following. So I wanted to make it look as much as possible like what I had done on the neck opening.

My solution: I sewed that seam with a single needle, wrong sides together. I sewed with the right side on top, favoring the left side (meaning I could see about 1/16″ of the left side extending out from under the right side as I was sewing) to ensure I didn’t have to trim the right side and didn’t have any of the right side peeking out when I was done. I pressed the seam allowance flat, then pressed it to the right and topstitched about 1/4″ from the seam. I’m satisfied with the look, and it matches the neck.

Stripe8671sleeveOne more change—because I was working with a 1-yard piece, I didn’t have enough fabric for the long sleeves.

My solution: I measured the length of my favorite RTW cap sleeve at the shoulder and at the underarm seam. I drafted a new pattern piece using the pattern sleeve piece. At the shoulder seam marking, I measured down the RTW length plus 5/8″ seam allowance for the top seam allowance and 5/8″ hem allowance. At the underarm (side) seam, I measured down the 5/8″ seam allowance plus whatever my RTW measurement was plus the 5/8″ hem allowance. After sewing the side seam, I turned up the hem 5/8″ and topstitched. Ditto with the garment hem, just folded and topstitched. (At this point in the construction, I was rushing to finish and didn’t take the time to change to double needle. #lazy)

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes and Yes. Next time I’ll try following the instructions for the neck and front seam and the hems. :-/

Conclusion: I like the asymmetrical neckline. It’s a nice variation to standard round necklines. The fit of the shirt is nice and curvy – not boxy. Flattering. When I get rid of my five post-vacation pounds, it’ll look even better!

Here’s your reward for reading all the way through: We spend the 4th of July weekend every year at an old cottage at Madison Shores on Lake Erie, about 40 miles east of Cleveland. The weather wasn’t great this year, but Sunday evening we were rewarded with the best sunset I’ve ever witnessed in four years of weeks at the Lake. Enjoy!


Knitting Update

BlanketEarly this year, after living in my tiny home office for four months, my newly-separated son got an apartment. While trying to figure out what all he would need to make this new place his home, he selected a Lion Brand slip-stitch sampler throw as his blanket-of-choice to keep warm while reading or watching TV on the couch.

I bought the kit sold by Lion Brand and started work on this rather complex project. This summer I’ve had several extended periods of time that I was able to devote to this project. I’m now on the fourth block, and it gets easier with each passing row, log and block.

I have completed three of the six blocks. With the gift of more dedicated time, the blanket should be completed before it’s needed with the onset of cold weather in the fall. The more I work on this, the more I like the colors, and the more I think this is going to be a great cuddling blanket for my son and my grandchildren.

Poster City

PrintingFrontYesterday I finished another version of Katherine Tilton’s Vogue 8817, View A. I am in love with this top. I think the neckline is one of the most flattering necklines I’ve ever worn. You may remember I made a top out of this pattern/view before the trip to France.

The fabric is another Emma One Sock delight that Linda calls “Poster City.” The fabric is a 96% rayon/4% lycra blend that feels like buttah. This print is a little out of the norm for me, and I absolutely love it. Would you believe that, prior to last summer, I didn’t own a print top?! My wardrobe is richer for the patterns Marcy and Katherine Tilton have been designing!

PrintingBackIf you look at the blog post about the previous making of this top, you’ll see the contrasting insert in the back. This time I wanted the back to be all made of the main fabric. I overlaid the two pattern pieces to cut out the back. Look at the image in the mirror here. That inset is what I was trying to do away with this time. Success!

The contrast fabric is a great black mesh that I’m pretty sure came from Marcy Tilton’s fabulous fabric store. I used it for the band around each sleeve (I love how you can see the underlying print through the mesh.), for the trim on the neck, and for the little inset on the underbust seam across the front. (Cut a piece 1½” wide ((½” seam allowance times 2) + (¼” times 2 for the folded edge peeking out)), fold in half, then hold between the front and lower front pieces when seaming.) PrintingSleeveWhat you get is a ¼” piece peaking out of the seam. Just a nice little bit of seam definition.

PrintingCloseupInstead of sewing the folded neck band in a circle, sewing it onto the neck opening, then flipping it up and topstitching, I bound the edge. I cut a strip 2½” (⅝” x 4) wide and the same length as the neck band pattern piece. I seamed only the right shoulder, then stitched this neck band onto the neck opening with a ⅝” seam, right sides together, stretching it to fit the opening. Then I wrapped the strip to the wrong side and tucked the last ⅝” up under the “facing.” I hand-sewed it into place (because I love handwork – you wouldn’t have to do this…) and then topstiched ⅜” from the seam.

Since we believe summer may come to Northeast Ohio at some time in the next 14 weeks, I’ll make this top again, drafting cap sleeves for the hot and humid days. I do love this top!!

Me Made May ’13

imageFor wearable crafters, last month was Me Made May. I wanted to participate, but knew I was spending half of May away from home–eleven days in France and five days in North Carolina. So I participated in a quieter fashion than most.

If you’re a regular reader, you know I was obsessively sewing prior to my tour of France. If you scroll backwards through the posts written since the end of January, you’ll see the results of all that activity.

While in France, I believe there was only one day I didn’t wear something I had made. And on all days, I carried one of two tote bags I made for the trip. So I guess you could say I did, indeed, wear something I made every day.

AfterLikewise, on my North Carolina trip to celebrate my mother’s 100th birthday, I wore something I made every day. On the first day, when I arrived at her assisted living facility, she looked at me and said, “That’s a funny shirt.” It was Katherine Tilton’s Vogue 8793, a stripe for the back, an abstract stripe for the front and sleeves, and a mixture of the two for the double collar. I love it. My mother thinks it’s strange. Oh, well.

So I missed MMM’13 this year, but you can bet I’ll be there next year–especially now that I’ve got my Me Made wardrobe built up.

Here’s what I wondered last night while putting away the laundry: If all your handcrafted tops and pants won’t fit in your available storage, do you have too many clothes or not enough storage?

This Project in Use

DSC_1566A few days before leaving for France, I finished a long, flounced halter dress for my granddaughter, Ridley, who would turn 10 at the end of the month. Ridley’s mother’s family has a lot of height genes, so this child was wearing size 9 shoes and girls’ size 14 clothes when she was 9. I believe I”ll be making clothes for her for years to come.

As I said in the blog post about the dress construction, I had cut the dress too large, but was able to alter it in such a way that I will be able to make it larger in a few months when she hits another growth spurt.

RCandECShe loved that the skirt included pockets. I noticed, as she was walking onto the stage with her Upper Elementary (grades 4-6) class for the end of year performance, that she had her hands in the pockets and was using them to flip her skirt around even more. Loves the pockets! Loves the flounce! Loves the twirly girly skirt!

The best part of the construction project? She’s so appreciative. She is such a sweet not-so-little girl with such a big heart, and she is appreciative of everything I do for her.

Go ahead, Darlin’, wrap your grandma around your little finger.

(P.S. That’s her brother, over her right shoulder, in the red and cream striped t-shirt. My other darlin’.)