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.

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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

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Beautiful Sunset

This print is part of the RP Custom Fabrics – Fun Rounds pre-order.    The image is of a sunset skyline in a circular format.  Really pretty!

(click on picture to go to the pre-order for it)

I received a few of the smaller round panels, and two that were the same size.  I think they were the 12″ size.  I decided to use those panels for a round sleeve on a dolman shirt, using this Pinterest pin as an inspiration.

The shirt is a pattern I have drafted, but you could do this with any dolman pattern you would have.

To make the sleeves, just measure the arm opening for the circumference of the circle.  Make the circle opening the same distance.  It is helpful if you have a circle cutter template tool.  I generally make the circle a little smaller, as they tend to stretch out more.  I did the same for the stretch lace piece, only making it a little longer.

To add more interest to this top, I did a strip in a coordinating lace in the front and back.  This strip was about 4″ wide.

The main fabric here is a Calvin Klein stretch shirting fabric, that is really nice.  I’m not sure this shirt is completely “Me”, but it was a fun experiment!

This pre-order is open until August 15th, so go check out the pretty panels!

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Koi cape top

The new rounds are up for pre-order at RP Custom Fabrics, and she called this round the “Fun Rounds“.  I have to agree.  There are some really pretty and fun prints in it.  I have several to get sewed up, so hopefully I will get them done soon.

We are entering the week of the state baseball tournament and the girls’ national softball tournament, so I might be a bit busy.  BUT, then we are pretty much done for three or four weeks, and we get precious, precious Free Time.  Oh Free Time, how I have missed thee!

So, cape tops are pretty cool, aren’t they? Here is a bit of discussion on how I made this top.

There are several patterns that you can use to achieve this look.  Or, if you already have a tank top or long-sleeved pattern, a circle skirt or cape pattern, you can just mash them together.  You just need to measure the neckline and adjust your cape/circle to match up to the measurements you want.

This cape top was open for several inches, and I also had a pretty thick hem (about 1″).  I didn’t want the hem to curl in, so that gave it some extra weight.

I made the basic pattern for the cape, which is basically just a circle skirt.  The front will fall at different lengths front-to-back depending on how robust your bust may be.  If you want to to be higher in the front, just shave some inches off that part of the cape.  You could also just keep the entire thing as a circle with no opening in the front at all, which is what I did for the Koi circle top.

Fabric needed: A drapey knit is best, though I did use cotton lycra on the Koi one.  Generally, a heavy cotton lycra won’t have the right amount of “fall” to it.  You need a bamboo lycra, rayon lycra or jersey type knit.  I did make sure I had a slippery poly knit underneath the Koi so it would not stick to it.  I think that worked out pretty well.

When I make circle skirts/cuts I use this handy little tool.  I measure the opening, divide it in fourths and then use the corresponding measurement on this tool to make the pattern.  If you are keeping an opening in the front, then subtract that from the measurement, making sure to include a hem allowance for the side seam.

To add this onto the pattern (I used the Wardrobe by Me Builder T-shirt):

  • Hem the bottom edge and the side edges (if open).  The side edge on the top above was a 1″ hem.
  • Baste it to the neckline, without stretching it.  Make sure it hits at the same spot on either side of the front neckline if open, so it won’t be uneven on you looking straight on.  The basting makes sure it won’t shift when you add on the neckband, so don’t skip this part.
  • Add the neckband, and continue on with the rest of the pattern.

It is a really cute and easy way to use round printed panels.  The length on this one is about 7″ and I used the 24″ panel.

This panel comes in a variety of sizes from small to large, and some of the ladies in the test group made dresses from it.  They turned out lovely.  I really was happy to be able to sample sew up this panel, since the print is so pretty.  If you want to make a cape top like this, I would recommend ordering it in the bamboo lycra for a bit better drape.

Now to sew up the rest of the rounds!

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Summer tops

These are some summer tops that I drafted/hacked from either patterns I made previously, or by using the Sneha by Wardrobe by Me.

I used my style sheet that I put together from tops I found on Pinterest:

Then, I went back and looked at more tops.

Here is the first one.  I modified a swing tank I drafted a few years ago.  This fits pretty well, but needs some more room under the arms, so that is the only thing I would change on it.

It is made from athletic mesh (black), cotton lycra (white bands) and an iron on vinyl design I cut with my Silhouette.

You can find the cut file for this top here.

This next one would have probably worked better with a lighter jersey knit.  I do still really like it, though.  I drafted a dolman sleeve t-shirt from a RTW version that I really like.  The arms a little too tight on this one, too, so that is the only modifications I would make to it.  I cut up the pattern with a 3″ section in upper top that I used a white mesh.

 

This black top is my version of a tank with mesh inserts and different cuts.  I used the Sneha top as a base for this one.  I just traced out the pattern, and cut it up where I thought it would look good.  When I was cutting out the pieces I added the seam allowance.   I was a little concerned with the sturdiness of the lace, but I think the bands will work well like this.

This grey top is my own fabric design, printed on Modern Jersey from Spoonflower.  The pattern is my draped cowl top, only I shaved about an inch from the shoulders.

This red top used another pattern I had drafted previously.  I added some ruffles and a deep cut back to add visual interest to it.

Here are some pictures of the ruffles in process.  The pieces were about 20″ long for the wide, less gathered ruffle, and 40″ long for the very gathered ruffle.  I pinned them well, attached the shoulders together and then put the band on it in two steps.  First I attached it to the front of the tank, then I turned the hem under and stitched it again.  For the back I included clear elastic in it, so it wouldn’t stretch out.  This is a jersey knit, so it doesn’t have great recovery.  Lastly I attached the tubes for the back.

So there are my summer tops so far!  I do have a few more ideas, and luckily…plenty of fabric! 😉

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Just call me Morticia

No, I am not feeling depressed.  Yes, I like to wear black.  I try not to wear all black, since that might beg the question of “whose funeral”.  To which, the obvious reply would be, “I haven’t decided yet.” 😉

This top is my Sneha tunic hack. I described how I drafted and changed the pattern here.

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I made it long enough to cover my bum.  The fabric is a drapey black mystery knit.  It feels like it has a lot of poly in this one, and I think it is likely a ponte.  The patterned black is definitely a ponte.  Love how these two looked together.  The arms are a little tighter than I like, especially since ponte doesn’t have as much give as a regular knit.  That will be something to tweak for next time.

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If I were a bit more risque, I could wear this tunic as a dress, too.   I think I am a bit long in the tooth to be wearing such a short dress, though!

I have colored my hair a bit darker here, too.  I am totally a box dye kit girl.  This is Natural Insticts Egyptian Plum.  I do the wash out color, so we will see how long this lasts.  I need 3 boxes of color, and could probably use one more for better coverage.  It would cost me a small fortune to dye my hair at a salon, and I have never had a bad experience in doing it myself.  My natural color is close to my son’s hair.  I started out life as a blond, which was helped by being outside a lot in my youth.  Once I got older and wasn’t outdoors as much, my hair turned more of a light brown.  Blah!  I, of course, didn’t start out subtle the first time I dyed my hair.  I chose red, and have kept it pretty consistently some version of red for awhile.  This is the darkest I have gone, though.

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Outfit details (in case you care):

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Plaid cape top and gored skirt

Here is a Pinterest pattern hack coming for you.  This pin is pretty popular.  It is a short-sleeved top with a “cape” over it.  If you are on Pinterest, I am sure you have seen it.  I know it comes up in my feed all the time.

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I wanted to make this as part of my winter capsule in black and long-sleeved.  Since it is for winter, I am not doing the key-hole in the back.  That would be cold.

The base pattern I used for this is the Wardrobe by Me – Wardrobe Builder Tee.  I made two versions – one in black and the one shown here.  I made it a size larger for the black, as I wanted a looser fit, so I made a size 14.  I did it in cotton lycra and it didn’t have the right amount of drape.  I will be re-doing it.

This was the first time I made this WBM pattern, and I do generally like the fit.  Christina drafts for more of a pear shape, which I am a rectangle.  If you have more of a difference in your hips/waist than I do, some of the modifications I made will not apply to you.  Got to work with what you got!

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I will make up an add-on pattern for this, but I want to do a few modifications of this top first.

I used a jersey knit here.  As I said above, I needed to do some modifications.  I made this to my measurements (size 12), and it slid down on my hips a bit too far.   I am a rectangle, so this wouldn’t slide down on a pear shape.   First, I tried sewing clear elastic in the bottom 6″ of the side hems on either side.  The elastic was 4″ long, so it had a subtle ruching of about 2″.  Didn’t look right.  Next, I took out the elastic (fun times) and cut off 3″ off the bottom, including the hem.  I hemmed it at a good spot on my hip.  I think knowing the most flattering length of top on YOUR body is pretty important.  Lengths that look good on others won’t necessarily look good on you.

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A pretty simple add on for a pattern, but a fun stylish one!  You can add whatever length sleeves you want with the wardrobe builder shirt, or do sleeveless underneath by adding a band to, or hemming, the armscye.

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So, the skirt.

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This is a first draft of a gored skirt.   I wanted it to have a bit more flare, so I will have to redraft it for that.

More to come…hopefully. 😉

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A CAbi hack

Every 6 months or so I am invited by a friend to her CAbi party.  I really do like the clothes, but in my opinion, they have gone down in quality over the years.  The last pair of overpriced pants I bought from them stretched out so very, very much and had poor recovery.  So…not sure how much longer I will be buying their clothes, but it is nice to go see my friend and get ideas.

One top that I liked a few years ago had a woven front and knit back.  I think it was a silk panel for the front, but it definitely was a scarf type of fabric.

I drafted this from a big boxy top pattern I made last year.  I decided to go short sleeved on this, because a long-sleeved top would be too cool for our winters here.

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The back is a linen knit, and I think I made it a bit too long.  If I make another, I will definitely shorten up the back.

See…it is pretty wide.  It is supposed to be kind of “floaty”.  The linen knit is a very light knit fabric, and is kind of see through.  Using it in a non-fitted garment is a good idea so you don’t have to wear something underneath.

The bands around the arms and neck are a poly knit.

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I wasn’t sure about it, but I wore it out and liked it.  It does tend to pull to the back, since the knit weighs more than the silk panel.  I think shortening up the back will help with it, though.  If I find another piece I like for the front I may make another.  It is a great top for a hot summer day.

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Outfit for a wedding

I had a wedding to go to today, and the reception was going to be outside.  It was supposed to be a humid, 90 degree day, so I knew I needed something cool.    It ended up storming on us, and I left the wedding reception a bit early with my son.  Not a fan of being outside in a windy thunderstorm.  I am bummed that I didn’t get a longer time to speak to my family, though. 🙁

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The outfit I made was a tank top and skirt.  Both were self-drafted.  The tank is a jersey knit with a purchased applique to dress it up.

20160625_8358The skirt was a sort of a copy of Balmain skirt. I used a bottom-weight brushed cotton with lycra.  It was a designer brand, but I forgot who it was.  I have enough for a pair of capris, so I am going to make more with this very nice fabric.

20160625_8364I did a lot of top-stitching on the skirt.  The crossovers are faced, and I did a lot of decorative stitching on them.

20160625_8341I added cargo pockets on the side, and belt loops to be able to wear a belt.

20160625_8352There is a flounce and invisible zipper in the back.

20160625_8366I am not completely happy with the underside of the overlap, since it was a little loose.  It is attached at the waist, but not at the side.  I think it might need to go all the way over to the side.  I just stitched it down.  I didn’t really have the right kind of snaps to put them down the front.

20160625_8340Overall I am pretty happy with how it turned out!

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