Browsing CategorySewing Patterns

Tie Dye Flared Knit Top

self_drafted_short_sleeve_knit_top_detail

This is actually a short sleeve top I made almost two years ago (!), I just drafted the pattern using a t-shirt I already owned and, instead of cutting the body of the top at the sleeve point, I continued the shoulder line, perpendicular to the neck line. I explained how to create the flare, in the How to make a flared waist tank top blogpost.

self_drafted_short_sleeve_knit_top_back

The construction is very simple: I first sewed the shoulders seams together, then the side seams. I then finished the flutter sleeves, the neckline and the bottom hem. Very simple and very practical.

Garment notes:

Sewing pattern: self-made. Similar to this one I described here.

Things I wish I’d done differently: Maybe use a more drapey knit?

Fabric: 1.1 meters tie-dye knit I bought in Barcelona for maybe a couple of euros.

No notions, thread from my stash.

Final cost = a couple of euros 🙂

How to make a flared waist tank top (pattern drafting basics)

self drafted tank top

I wanted to show you a very easy pattern drafting for a top that flares from the bust down. To draft this, I first traced around a tank top I already owned and fit me well. The best top to trace from is a top in a similar fabric than the one you are going to sew you new top. If you’re using a woven fabric for your new top, use a woven fabric old top. If you’re using a stretchy knit, the more similar the stretchiness in your RTW (ready to wear) to your new fabric, the closest the fit will be for your new garment.

So, as I said, I just traced the tank top (you can use a t-shirt as well) for parts 1 and 2 in the pattern below and then for the pattern piece number 3, I added a curved wedge to the side.

You can move where the flare starts by marking your bust point on the pattern or have the flare start from the waist for a peplum effect. You can make it just a little bit flared, or design a very dramatic flare.

If you extend the top you can create a very simple trapeze shaped dress.

how to make a flowy tank top

That’s it for today. Happy sewing and pattern drafting 🙂

Later edit: I see that Caroline Amanda also published a hack of the Sewaholic Renfrew top, but in her wonderfully explained tutorial, the volume starts at the shoulders, and not under the bust like my top. Fun stuff!

Thick knit long sleeve tunic (a Mesa pattern hack)

long_sleeve_tunic_mesa_pattern_sky_turtle

If you’ve been reading my blog before, you might have noticed a lot of Mesa Love. Mesa is a basic, yet beautifully shaped, t-shirt dress pattern from from Seamwork Magazine. I love Seamwork Magazine. I love the simpler lines and how easy it is to modify them. It’s easy to be creative with a good base.

Other Mesa-based garments I made:

Magenta knit mesa dress (no alterations)

Green textured knit mesa (modified)

For this long sleeve tunic I changed the neckline a bit by bringing in closer to the neck (to make it less boat-neck-shaped) and then lowered it a few centimetres.

mesa_dress_pattern_hack_long_sleeve_tunic

I lengthened the sleeves to make for a long sleeve top and I shortened the dress to just under the hip.

I used a double knit I found in the scrap bin at Fabricland. I like the scrap bin because I don’t feel so bad using beautiful fabric when I hack into patterns and try something new. I also aim to make garments that I will wear a lot and I only keep what I love, so this makes me feel a bit better if I have to end up donating a garment that looks good but I know I will never wear.

I also don’t make muslins, but rather try to fit as I sew, which is easier for knit fabrics than woven ones. I will aim for a wearable muslin if it’s the first time I work with a fitted pattern for wovens, but if it’s a tried and already customizes to fit my needs pattern, I will take the risk.

long_sleeve_mesa_tunic_back

Garment notes:

Sewing pattern: Mesa (in my stash). I used an already altered version of this pattern (different neckline and graded in at waist)

Things I wish I’d done differently: cut a shorter neckline band. I want to see if the band will look better after the first wash and press, if not I might have to reinstall it.

Fabric: 1.1 meters textured knit 10 CAD

No notions, thread from my stash.

Final cost = 10 CAD

Blue wool Oslo cardigan

oslo wool front

I made the Oslo cardigan! In wool! Who-hoo.

I’ve been thinking about this cardigan for a long time and I am happy I finally got to make it.

I was a bit afraid I was going to fail horribly because my fabric wasn’t stretchy, like the pattern asked. I first did a test version in a dusty pink suede that was on sale for $1/m at the fabric store. This way I could see the fit in another non-stretch fabric and see what alterations I needed to make for the final garment to fit me well.

oslo wool back

Sorry for the badly lit photos!

I have this wool from Barcelona and wanted to make a coat out of it last year but… spring came! I don’t know how to call the pattern on this wool… it’s not plaid… it’s not Jacquard…

I took the risk and just cut a size bigger and sewed it using a 0.7 in (2 cm) seam allowance. I also widened the sleeves because they were to tight at the cuff. I lengthened them a bit and then made the cuffs smaller, even though I like the cuffs in the original pattern.

oslo wool 1

I shortened it as well, so it would fall just above the hip.

The construction was super fast and super easy. I pondered for a while whether I should line it – the wool is itchy and it would have given it a bit more structure – but I decided not to. I’m going to layer this over sweaters and it might look too boxy. I was also lazy to do it, but I might just do it one of these days.

I have another dark blue wool that I bought with this pattern in mind, but I bought too little of it! With the double collar and the cuffs, this pattern needed more fabric than I expected. So don’t even think buying less than 1.8 yards (1.7 meters).

Garment notes:

Sewing pattern: Oslo with the subscription 4 CAD

Pattern notes: because I used a woven fabric instead of a knit. I cut the pattern one size bigger and sewed it with a smaller sewing allowance than suggested because I didn’t want to cut it again, but if I would have to print it and cut it from scratch, I would cut two size larger for a non-knit. I also widened the sleeves and made the cuffs shorter to reduce bulk. I also shortened it to fall above the hip (and save fabric).

Fabric: 1.5 meters unidentified wool woven fabric – in my stash forever so I am not going to even try to reminder the cost 🙂

No notions, thread from my stash.

Final cost = 4 CAD

 

Book review: Practical pattern making

practical-pattern-making

Practical pattern making is the book I wish I had read a few years ago, when I first got interested in pattern making. It takes you from zero to hero in under 250 pages. I really like this book because it’s practical, yet fearless.

Written by pattern makers and fashion designers Lucia Mors de Castro and Isabel Sanchez Hernandez, the book is organized in three sections: traditional patterns, geometric patterns and traditional geometric patterns.

The first section, traditional patterns, includes a basic pattern for a skirt and two advanced variations of a tulip skirt: one when the front includes two overlapping sides (like two petals) and another where the fabric is gathered near the waistband. Two quite striking jackets patterns follow and then we move on to the basic dress shape. Once this is explained, an explosion of shapes and transformations follow: the authors play with a multitude of dress shapes, from oval and organic to pleats and striking geometric shapes. I like how quickly you progress from the basic shape and how well each journey to the couture-looking dresses is explained.

Book review Practical pattern making 1

 

The second section, geometric patterns, makes new garments starting with a geometrical shape: a circle is being manipulated in semicircles and circle sections that become fantastic circle dresses. Squares and rectangles are folded like origami and turned into, among others, a batwing top dress and a wrap-around dress.

71AFAmc77mL

The last section, traditional geometric patterns, combines the techniques learned in the previous sections. One of the five dress patterns in this section is mix between a block bodice, which is manipulated by moving bust darts, and a skirt made by manipulating a rectangle. The others are as imaginative and as fascinating as this one. At the end of the section, one has the feeling that the possibilities of manipulating block and shapes are endless. And that is easy to do.

Book review Practical pattern making 3

What I wished this book had was more commentary and more storytelling. I wanted to be inspired by the authors and know how they started, how they learned, what mistakes they made. The book is very technical and feels almost like a manual. But I missed the teacher’s voice, whispering in my year to love this book and love patternmaking.

For a designer/maker interested in creating and sewing dresses, this book is fantastic. It does not feature a lot of “everyday patterns”, so if you’re looking for basic shapes only tiny steps away from the basic block, it’s possible this book will seem overwhelming. If you’re more adventurous and love shape and fabric manipulation, this book will light up your imagination. If you’re not sure, the book includes basic blocks that you can magnify to use in your own creations, so you can use what you’ve learned to create your own, new garments. The images and descriptions make the book very clear and ready to be put to work.

Book review Practical pattern making 2

 

Note: I was offered a free copy of this book for review, all thoughts and comments are my own.

Green textured knit dress (a modified Mesa sewing pattern)

DSC_4760

Happy 2016! May this be the year in which you create a masterpiece. This could be sewn, knitted, crocheted, embroidered and even just imagined in your head 🙂

The post today is about another Mesa dress version. After making my first version and realising I wasn’t very comfortable with that neckline (it’s beautiful, I just think a raised neckline is easier to layer + you don’t need to worry about lingerie straps showing). So I raised it a bit. A bit too much, I think, but this is a cold weather dress, so that’s good.

DSC_4773

I used a beautiful textured dark green/petrol jersey I found at Fabricland in the discount box.  Thick and warm (a little bit too plastic for wearing on bare skin, but perfect for layering.

DSC_4761

Since I had already sewn this, I could quickly make modifications to the pattern, cut it and sew it. In spring, I’ll use this to make a fun and vibrant version. Maybe flowers. Maybe cats. Maybe both (just kidding :)).

DSC_4762

Garment notes:

Sewing pattern: Mesa with the subscription 4 CAD (since I’ve already used it for another dress, I will calculate as 2 CAD)

Pattern notes: after making the pink ponte knit mesa I realised the boat neckline wasn’t the easiest to layer so I’ve redrafted it. I was a bit anxious that I will ruin this fabric as I didn’t make a muslin, but it worked out !

Next time I can lower the neckline a bit.

Fabric: 1.2 meters speciality textured knit 7 CAD

No notions, thread from my stash.

Final cost = 9 CAD

Not too shabby!

Magenta ponte knit Mesa

ponte knit mesa dress front

I had this thick knit in my stash for a very long time, maybe more than 3 years. It was one of the fabrics that I brought with me when we moved to Canada, because it was beautiful and I wanted to make something I would wear for a long time. When Seamwork magazine introduced Mesa I finally decided to cut into this fabric.

It wasn’t all fun and games though. I spend an entire day stitching and unstitching. Neither my serger and my sewing machine wanted to sew this with the matching thread I had bought for this. My twin needle snapped too.

In the end I had to let it marinate for a week and get back to it with a calmer mood and ready to be ok with sewing it with white thread. I bought a new twin needle. This snapped as well. I might have not been completely zen in the end.

I finished the whole dress in tiny zig zag stitch.

ponte knit mesa dress back

Looking at the photos I notice there’s a lot of extra fabric at the back, any ideas how I can fix this? Would darts work?

This fabric is very interesting, yet so difficult to work with. When you look at it, it seems like a really nice sweater knit with a soft inside and a crisp outside of the fabric. But the elastic fibres in the knit are quite strong (it reminds me a big of scuba fabric) so even though it’s elastic it doesn’t drape too much and it’s quite rigid for a knit. It doesn’t feel like plastic at all though and I am hoping that after a few washes and drying cycles the fabric will loosen up a bit. We’ll see.

Note to self: never again wear this dress with these leggings, the stitching seams are not flattering at all 🙂

Pattern: Mesa with the subscription 4 CAD (since I’ve already used it for another dress, I will calculate as 2 CAD)

Pattern notes: I removed the slits at the hemlines and make 3/4 sleeves. I cut an M because I didn’t remember if I pre-washed the fabric (oops 🙂 and ended up grading the to an S around the waistline.

Next time I want to alter the neckline as I am not completely happy with the boat neckline. It looks great as it is but when you layer, problems happen 🙂 Plus I don’t like my lingerie straps to be showing. Also, I should make a long sleeve version as well.

Fabric: 1.3 meters thick, rich, elastic knit that broke two double needles (aargh!) and was a pain to sew! I bought this from a trip a few years ago and I don’t remember how much I paid for it. Let’s say a 10.

Notions: Doble needle 15 (never buy your double needles at the fabric store!), thread from my stash.

Final cost = 27 CAD

I’ve already worn it twice so cost per use is already 13.5 😉

My light chambray Adelaide dress

adelaide front

There are several reasons why I loved sewing the Adelaide dress from Seamwork. First, because the magazine really inspires me, from the patterns created to the thoughtfulness of the articles. And it’s that thoughtfulness that is contagious.

This dress is supposed to take three hours to sew, but I made it across several weekends, cutting it slowly, then sewing it slowly and finishing it, you’ve guessed it, equally slowly. Which is something I’m trying to learn how to do.

I really like the pattern and how it’s cut. It’s like Sarai knows women have curves and where those curves are located 🙂

I didn’t make any adjustments to the pattern, except raising the waistline and shortening the bottom hem. I’ve initially made the bottom a size larger and graded it, because I’ve seen other versions of the Adelaide where the bottom part was wrinkling at the hips and I wanted to avoid it, but that wasn’t necessary so in the end I had to remove that extra fabric.

I like how the neckline is shaped as well. One little trouble I have is a gap between the first and second snaps. Do you have any suggestions for that? What did I do wrong?

Otherwise, I think it looks quite nice from the back and I can see myself layering this with tights and a shirt. I most definitely want to make another one. Maybe one with sleeves? 🙂

I’d like making this in a light denim and try my hand at buttons and buttonholes. I enjoyed Seamwork’s challenge to use snaps. I really like snaps, just don’t like when they snap out of your fabric!

Great Things in Sewing This Week

free tshirt sewing pattern deer and doe

Something to sew

Don’t you love a free sewing pattern, especially when the pattern maker is modelling an awesome garment made with it?

I was already impressed by Deer and Doe and their sewing patterns for women and not men men, but this new free t-shirt sewing pattern is really cool. You’d have to sign in to download it, but the pattern looks like it’s worth it.

free tshirt sewing pattern deer and doe

I’ve bought a thick raspberry-pink jersey in my last holiday and this looks like a good project for it.

Something to think about

I really like Laurwyn’s post about body image. I think many of us don’t know how good looking they really are. We are taught and used to thinking females are only beautiful if they look like whatever the era’s models look like. Curvy, slim or supper skinny, tall, but not too tall, shorter than most males, but not too short etc. Instead of looking at ourselves, we look at what’s missing.

It’s refreshing to change the tune for once.

Something to do

wardrobe architect

I like Sarai’s new project, Wardrobe Architect and the exercises she suggests.

Week two’s assignment is creating a collection of images that describe your core style. Sarai takes you on a self-discovery journey of personal style and then helps you pick 5 words that best describe your style. Mine are tomboy, natural, comfortable, feminine, bicycle. Bicycle?? Why is that there? Well, I was struggling to find a fifth word to describe how I dress and since I use my bike everyday, that affects how I dress.

I won’t wear anything polyester for example because I need fabrics that breathe on their own. I won’t wear short skirts or too short shorts because that won’t be comfortable. I won’t wear a jacket that’s too fitted, because it would bother me on the bike. And I don’t like to be bothered 🙂

That’s all from me, for now. How about you? What did you sew? What did you think about? What did you do this week?

How to Draft A Fitting Back Bodice Block

15

I’ve talked about pattern blocks and how they can make pattern making easier by offering a basic template to work on. Instead of buying pre-drafted pattern blocks I decided to make my own. It isn’t as difficult as it sounds, especially if you have a copy of Helen Joseph Armstrong’s Pattern Making for Fashion Design.

The instructions are clear and to the point. The illustrations in this post are taken from this book.

For the front bodice check out my previous post, Sewing Course Lesson 2 – How To Make a Basic Bodice Block.

Step 1

How to Draft A Fitting Back Bodice Block

Starting from the left side of your paper, draw a line AB with the same length as your full length measurement (check out this post if you’re not sure which measurements you have to take).
Then draw a line AC equal to your across the shoulder measurement. Square down from C 3 inches.
Draw a line BD measuring the same as your center back length, then square out 4 inches from this point
Draw BE, which is equal to your back arc + 3/4 inch. From E square up a few inches.

Step 2

how-to-make-a-back-bodice-draft2

Draw AF, which is your back neck measurement and add 1/8 inch so the bodice won’t feel to tight around your neck.
Draw BG, which is the shoulder slope measurement and add a 1/8 inch
Daw FH, which is your shoulder length + 1/2 inch. Square down from F to D
BI is your dart placement and BJ is your waist arc, plus dart intake of 1 1/2 inches, plus another 1/4 inch for ease.
IK is your dart intake measurement.

Step 3

To get JM square down 3/16 inch
MN is your side length measurement
To get LO square up from L 1 inch less than MN
Draw the fart legs from O and then draw lines from K to M and from B to I.
Mark half of GH to create a point P
Draw a 3 inch line PQ in the direction of the O point
PR measures 1/4 inch. Draw a dart leg from Q and connect to F. Mark 1/4 inch from P and draw the other dart leg.
DS is 1/4 of DB
ST is your across back measurement with a 1/4 inch added for ease.
Draw the armhole and the neckline with a French Curve.

Even though this looks a little complicated, once you have the measurements drawing the lines is pretty straightforward.

This bodice has a vintage vibe: super slim waist, (almost) pointy bust, fits at the true waist. It’s also interesting because those back darts make it very stylish. I think I could use this bodice as it is to make a fitted dress, I made the bodice our of fabric to see how it fits, but I am not sure I want a dress that’s that form fitting at the moment.

I will update this post when I write more about the adjustments I made to it.

Do you draft your own patterns? Any tips?