Sunday, 14 May 2017

Lago Tank Top

I have been looking for a tank top pattern for what feels like ages. When Kennis put out a tester call for the Lago tank top, I jumped right on it. This is a basic tank top for a knit fabric - no frills, no extras, just a simple tank top. I was thrilled when I looked at the measurements and saw that I fit exactly into a size 6 in both bust and waist, no grading required except for the usual hip adjustment (Curse you, Dutch Bum Disease!).

The first version (pink), was almost perfect for me. I didn't properly grade out at the hip, so there's some pooling in the lower back, but it's not a big deal. It came together really fast, which is appreciated once in a while in a sewing pattern. The armbands turned out really well, but I should have cut the neckband smaller due to the lack of recovery of the jersey fabric. Speaking of the fabric, you might recognize it as some of the remaining fabric from the blazer I made recently. This tank top turned out wearable.

The second version (back and blue) has a slightly lower neckline and scooped out arm holes. I will be using this pattern more frequently, although I might raise the neckline a bit. If the fabric was less slinky it would not sit as low, so we'll see how my next version turns out with a more structured fabric. You might recognize this fabric from the Charleston Dress I made last year. This pattern is a great stash buster for knits.

Now, everyone should definitely pick up this pattern and give it a try, because it is FREE! I think it would be worth getting if it wasn't, but it is most definitely worth picking up at no cost. Also, my serger that I got for Christmas makes these pretty much the funnest and easiest things to sew ever. I want to keep making them because they are so satisfying.


Pattern: Lago Tank Top by Itch-to-Stitch (Free!)
Material: Leftover discount fabric from Fabricville, x2
Modifications: Added 1 inches to the length of the bodice and graded out 3(!!!) sizes for the hips
Learning: Getting even better at neckbands, sometimes. What a rollercoaster. Still getting to know my serger and loving it more with every project.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Grainline Hemlock

This past weekend I had the privilege of pattern testing a tank top (post coming soon-ish!). After sewing up the first version of the tank top, I had some time before the second version was available. I decided to use this time to sew myself a sweater using the free grainline hemlock tee pattern with leftover fabric from my green striped boyfriend cardigan (I bought a lot in case I messed up the pattern the first time trying).

Things I like about this pattern:
  • It's only 4 pattern pieces, so it came together super quickly
  • The neck is nice and wide, which makes it easy to pull on
  • It's nice and loose, so it's cozy and comfortable
Things I don't like:
  • Only 1/4 inch seam allowances
  • The sleeves ended up being too short, but that's fixable for next time

This sweater is appropriate for work (I work in a casual environment), but I don't see a lot of space for more of these in my wardrobe at the moment. I will see how much I wear it before deciding how many more to make, I like it enough that I'll be sad if I don't make any more. You know at the end of yoga classes, where the teacher tells you to grab a sweater so that you can lie comfortably on your back for a few minutes? That's what this is perfect for. Or throwing on at the end of a beach day. Or after the gym. Or watching television at home. 

I think I just talked myself into making another one.

The modifications I made were adding 1.5 inches to the bodice and 2 inches to the sleeves. I like the length of the bodice now, but I will add another inch or two to the sleeves on the next one. It's a one size fits all pattern, so I didn't need to grade anywhere, which was nice.


Pattern: Hemlock Tee by Grainline Studio
Material: Leftover discount fabric from Fabricville
Modifications: Added 1.5 inches to the length of the bodice and 2 inches to the length of the sleeves
Learning: Nothing new here! Getting better at neckbands, but still a work in progress.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Red Timeless Tunic Dress

As soon as I saw this pattern I knew I wanted it. There was a Threadcount wardrobe builder pattern that came with a magazine that included a similar dress/shirt pattern, and it just seems really versatile depending on what fabric is used. That being said, my first attempt was a bust (pun intended, as you'll soon find out).

First issue was that my cutting of the bodice was a bit off. After a lot of thinking I figured out where I messed up (and it's totally on me, not the pattern): When I attached the interfacing, I just ironed it on, but the instructions say to sewing it right sides together then flip it right side out and iron. This meant that my lining piece was bigger than it was supposed to be. If the fabric had a bit less structure it might have looked alright, but it is stiffer fabric than I had originally thought (issue #2). The third issue is that my bust is smaller than the pattern was intended, and I cut this before I made my Blixen Blazer, so I didn't realize how big of a difference it would make. It really looked like a sack of flour on me. My extremely helpful sister Sarah recommended that I wear it to a toga party.

On the bright side, I'm really happy with how it turned out with regard to finishing items. I did a good job on the hem, the elastic waist and casing went really well and I like the facing for the arms and neck (other than me screwing up the cutting and interfacing).

I added length just above the bust because I find many sleeveless patterns are too tight on the armpits, and I added length to the skirt. These ended up being the correct modifications for me, I just should not have added any more length to the bodice. Since P4P drafts for an hourglass figure, I didn't modify anything else, although I now know I should have either done a small bust adjustment (SBA) or sized down the bodice. I'm still learning what adjustments I can get away with not making and which ones are required. I have yet to actually try a SBA, but I think it's time I learn to do one.

After I had finished the dress, tried it on and discovered it was possibly the most unflattering dress I've ever sewn, I made some changes in hopes of making it wearable. First, I took in the side of the bodice to make it less baggy. Second, I shortened the bodice in the front by about an inch, because I miscalculated when adding length and it was contributing the to flour sack effect. Lastly, I took it in at the waist, because I found it was not as snug as I wanted it. Usually I find I have a reasonably defined waist, but it just disappeared. It is now what I consider barely wearable, but I don't love it and my modifications didn't really make the waist fit right.

Will I make this pattern again? Not soon, but I might come back to it after I've knocked a few more projects off my list. I really want to make the free peg leg pattern from P4P, they were recently updated and look super cool.


Material: A woven fabric from the discount part of Fabricville (mostly synthetic, unknown fibres, $4ish/m)
Modifications: I added half an inch above the bust, an inch below it and a couple of inches to the length. After finishing the pattern and trying it on I took the bodice in on the sides to try and improve the fit and removed the extra bodice length. Next time I will size down in the bodice and actually follow the instructions. 
Learning: Pay more attention to the bust measurements of the pattern, and alter appropriately. I also learned a fun new method of facing a tank. An important learning was that clothing with a even moderately loose waist does not flatter me at all.