Pattern hack – zipped cowl top

Is that a good name for it?  Not sure what to call this style.

Okay, what we have here is a tutorial for a pattern hack to get this style of top:

Instructions to hack a pattern

In order to do this hack, you need a basic long sleeve t-shirt top pattern that fits.  I used the Wardrobe by Me Basic T-shirt in a size larger than I would fit per the measurements.  I wanted it looser fitting.  I added the band at the bottom, the cowl and a facing, but otherwise, the bones of this top is just a basic long-sleeved t-shirt top.

Need –

  • Basic t-shirt pattern
  • 1.5 yards of fabric (roughly)
  • Interfacing
  • 16″ or 18″ zipper
  • Optional: Wondertape (for placing zipper)

Take out your front, back and sleeve shirt patterns, and trace a copy of them.  Figure out where it would hit just under your breasts, and mark that spot on your pattern piece.  Now make a gradual curve down to the side.  I just draw this in with a pencil first and then cut.

The diagram above shows what I did for the front and back pieces.  Make sure the cuts meet up on the sides.  The bottom band for my shirt ended up being 6″ x 18″ on the fold (both top and sides).

This next diagram shows how I used the front piece that I had cut from the pattern to draft two new pieces.

The cowl I measured the length of the neck opening on the pattern pieces (subtracting the seam allowance at the shoulder), and used that length for the length of the piece.  The width is 7.5″ wide, which can be cut on the fold OR you can use two different fabrics for the inside and outside (what I have done).

These are the majority of the pattern pieces (just missing a piece for the bottom band and front facings).

These are all the pieces cut out except the front facings.  I forgot to do those until I got to that part of construction.  I just used 2″ into each side of the front pieces for the facing pieces.  The facing is just giving you some protection from chaffing from the zipper.

Construction:

  • Sew the shoulder seams together (I sewed the bottom on the back piece first, but you can wait on that if you want).

  • If you have an inside and outside of the cowl piece, you need to sew them together along the long edge.
  • Attach the cowl to the neckline along one edge right sides together.  The inside of the cowl is going to be the one showing, so select the outside part to attach first.

  • Next add the facings to the inside edge of the cowl.  Don’t use a serger for this, just zigzag them on.

  • Add interfacing along the edges.  My interfacing was 1.5″ wide.  If you have a seam for the cowl, just go up to that seam and not over it.  I ended up cutting the interfacing there, since it affects how the seam folds over.

  • Take your zipper, and figure out where it will hit at the neckline and mark this spot.  This helps to make sure your zipper does not get skewed and offset when stitching up.

  • Place the marking at the neckline and sandwich it between the inside/outside cowl, front piece and front facing.  Clip in place, and you can check to make sure the zipper will match when zipping it up by turning it carefully to the outside and zipping up. Straight stitch the zipper.  If you want to make sure it won’t shift, use Wondertape to hold in place.  Just make sure you are placing the tape inside the seam allowance so it won’t show once stitched up.

  • Top-stitch the zipper seams.

  • Attach the inside edge of the cowl to the neckline.  You can turn the edge under, pin and top-stitch or do the burrito method (enclosing the body pieces in the cowl), leaving an opening to pull everything through to the outside.  I did the burrito method, and then still top-stitched.  It just allowed me to not have to pin as much.

  • Top-stitch the top edge of the cowl (if desired), and stitch down the front facing pieces.

  • Now we are going to attach the bottom front to the top.  I didn’t want the extra zipper teeth at the bottom to be irritating when worn, so first I stitched across the zipper.  Next, I cut off the excess zipper and pulled the teeth apart up to the stitching.  Lastly I pulled the excess teeth off with a small pliers.  When stitching the bottom to the top, I wanted to make sure it held together, so I just did a quick basting stitch to the bottom of the zipper to keep them together.
  • Mark the middle on the top and bottom pieces.  Clip them together and stitch for both the front and back.  I first stitched the front pieces on the sewing machine and then serged.  I just wanted to make sure my serger wouldn’t hit the zipper, because that causes broken needles flying to your eyeballs.

  • Top-stitch the seams, if desired (I did).
  • Attach the arms.  I color blocked them at the 3/4 sleeve line and added a few inches of extra length.
  • Sew up the side seams, matching the curves at the side, and hem the arms.

  • Sew the edges of the bottom band together.  Mark it in 1/4’s for the sides, middle front and middle back.

  • Mark the middle front and middle back on the bottom of the body pieces, and match them up on the band.  Sew the band on the shirt.

  • All done!

Let me know if anything is unclear in the tutorial.  I didn’t detail everything, as if you have a basic pattern, you should have instructions for some of it already.

The fabrics I used here are a brushed poly stripe from Fabric Anthropology, a black fleece backed poly and a quilted faux leather from Joann’s.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Long overdue cardigan draft

I have been wanting to make this cardigan for quite awhile.

It wasn’t the color I would choose, but I loved the flounces.  This would have to be flounces and not ruffles, as the gathering would make it horrendous to sew the seams.

My plan of attack was to use the WBM basic t-shirt and carve out a neckline from the front.  I used a size larger than would fit me, so it had a little extra ease in it.  Next, cut a bunch of flounces.  Now, next time I would make it with smaller circles, so the flounces are more pronounced.  I cut one big circle and then made flounces from it.  They are just too gradual with the bigger circle to look as “flouncey”.

This was a sturdy double brushed poly, and I knew it would have enough structure to handle this. The fabric is a pre-order from Fabric Anthropology.

The fabric is called Frosted Coal.

A French terry would work well, too.  This is going to be very comfy to wear this winter over leggings.

 

Packers Pride!

Go Pack Go!

Sara at RP Custom Fabrics has a new pre-order up with tartan plaids in team colors.  How awesome is that??  I love this idea and had to make up a top for me in the Green, Gold and White Tartan.

I didn’t have any matching green, so I went to the closet and grabbed an XL shirt that kept on getting put into my area.  Apparently it doesn’t fit him well, so it’s all mine!  I cut it up for the front and back, and have a really fun top.

The inspiration for the top came from Pinterest (of course), and this pin.  I took a plain top (the Wardrobe by Me Basic Builder T-shirt), and cut it up to make this top.  I will make another one and take pictures for a tutorial.  I have next week off of work, so I am hoping to get that done then.

Go check out the rest of the tartan plaids in this order.  Even if you are not interested in team specific colors, the colorways are pretty for anything really!

Tartan Plaids at RP Custom Fabrics

Save

A cool cat

Here is another seasonal print that is for winter.  This print is a kids panel, with a matching coordinate from Zenith & Quasar fabrics.

The panel looks like this (print yet to come):

24″ tall x 58-60″ wide cut including:

1 front panel (24″ x 20ish”)
1 back panel, solid color (24″ x 20ish”)
1 coordinate print (24″ x 20ish”)

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get full length arms out of the width of the coordinate, so I had to be creative.

It is also directional, so no trying one way for one side and one for the other.  I had some matching bamboo lycra that I used to fill in the sleeve heads where it was too wide for the fabric.  I created a faux double sleeve.

I added a split band to the bottom, too.

I also needed to make some matching bottoms.  We live in matchy matchy town here where pretty much everything is an outfit.  I didn’t have enough left of the bamboo lycra to get all the bottoms out of it, so we went into “cobble together” mode.

I wanted them to be a fun tween-y look as she is going into middle school this year.  I worry a little that some of the more unique outfits I have made for her will give her unwanted attention.

I used the 5 out of 4 Shenanigans skort and leggings in a size  14w and 18L.  She’s all legs here.

Next, I cut the crap out of the patterns to get the look I wanted.  I cut apart the skirt to have the leftover fabric from the top along the sides.

For the skort, here is a little mod that I made for it.  I wanted to have some gathering and ties on the side seam, so I extended it out from the middle to give it more length there, and then cut the sides apart to get in the different fabrics.

More outfits to come…I got a bunch of strike-offs to sew up.  This tends to make sure I get clothes sewed up in short order!

Damask

I love damask, which really shouldn’t be a surprise since I draw it quite often!

This damask print is part of the current round open at RP Custom Fabrics and it is inspired by Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  The other prints are closer to a Tiffany blue, though.  This one seems to be closer to a turquoise color, which is still very pretty.

I know this because I got a gift at work for Christmas one year that was a silver bracelet from Tiffany’s.  I still have the box, though the bracelet was stolen when I was a dumb dumb and left it out at a hotel in Vegas.  Yep…it somehow “disappeared”.

So, this top was a bit of a challenge.  In fitting and getting the HTV vinyl on the front (nope, not a panel…that is my drawing).  The HTV was actually a different, far longer design.  I had let a piece overlap the edge of the cutting mat, and it caught and messed up the cutting.  I stopped it before it went over everything again off design, and just dealt with what was cut.  I wish there was a vinyl store that I could get things from locally, but I don’t.  This vinyl was from Expressions Vinyl.

I will try to remember to load the original cut file into the folder linked on the sidebar.  The design overlaps so it is longer.

The top was a highly hacked Sneha Tunic from Wardrobe by Me.  I basically  used the top pieces and the length of the skirt.  I should have used something more fitted, since it is a bit wide.  The skirt was longer originally, but it was not flattering at all.  I cut it to the sweet spot on my hip.

Overall, I think this turned out pretty.  I was questioning whether I would wear it when I finished it last night, but I think it works with skinny jeans.

Now I have another fabric on it’s way to me, and in the meantime I have a few dresses cut out to go to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation for the girls for summer.  I really want to get them sewn up and on the way to them, along with a few dresses that my daughter grew out of and were barely worn.  Hopefully, I have time to get it all done this week!

Save

Dance off Bro!

Look!  I sewed something for my son!

Poor kid gets so very neglected in the sewing room.

This was a strike off sewing sample for Stardust Textiles.  It is part of a new round of pre-sale fabrics that focuses on space shows (Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Wars, Star Trek).

I was late to the tester group on this round, but there were a few more things that needed to get sewn up.  I got a fat half of this bamboo lycra dance party coordinate, and I knew my son would love something with it.

He is 13, though, so I have use character prints with discretion.  I decided to do the arms and some blocking in the coordinate using the Bram Raglan from Wardrobe by Me.  I just cut the bottom section up a bit on the pattern and added a seam allowance.   I made sure to make the pattern cuts at the same time so they would match at the side seams.  Pretty easy pattern hack.

This fabric is so nice and soft and drapey.  I love bamboo lycra. The black is an athletic mesh, so it is a pretty light-weight shirt.  Perfect for summer!

Next was adding a vinyl thing to the front.  It was obvious what was needed, really. 😉

I admit, I took a random image off of Google to do the cassette tape, so I won’t be sharing this cut file.  I was too tired to draw my own cassette tape.  Then, of course, I didn’t mirror the words to cut this out, so I had to recut the words.  Hate it when I waste so much vinyl!

A fun, cool shirt for the dude.  I hung it up on his closet door at about 11:30 at night, and he was wearing it in the morning!

The pre-sale on this closes on May 1.  Check out the fun fabrics.  I think the “Come to the dark side, we have cookies” panel is pretty cool, too.  🙂

Sea monsters and an old map

I love this print by Zenith & Quasar Fabric.  Seriously…LOVE.

The main print is a print of an old map, and the lighter color print has snippets of the sea monsters in the map.  Very cool.

Unfortunately, the map print is out of stock right now, and I was lucky enough to snag some for the brief time it was in stock.

The owner of Zenith & Quasar fabric invited me to join in her group for sewing samples, so when I saw she was printing the sea monsters I happily volunteered to sew that one up.  I knew they would work so great together.

Pre-order Sea Monsters

And they do!

The skirt on this dress needed to be shorter, just to be able to get the skirt parts out of this directional print.  I had to fussy cut a bit, which makes me sad due to wasting fabric.  I am hoping I can still get a tank top out of the other bits left of the fabric.

This dress is made from the Wardrobe by Me Sneha tunic (shocker, I know).

Modifications:

  • Cut the bodice piece 1″ longer
  • Cut two skirt pieces
  • Cut the bottom skirt 3″ longer than the tunic length
  • The inside skirt I cut 1″ narrower on the fold from the waist down
  • I used the deep scoop for the neckline (not a modification on that one)
  • Added a channel and ties to the side of the top skirt

The ties on the side are a piece of the green knit sewn on the backside of the skirt, with a channel for the tie.  I cut the tie 1.5″ wide and sewed it into a tube with the serger.  I used this to turn it, and that worked really well.  First time using it, and it was a great Christmas gift!

This dress is so very, very comfy with the brushed poly and jersey knit.  I think it will be getting a lot of wear this summer.  For right now, though…layers!

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save