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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Sheer inset dolman top

Hey look, something that is not a pattern test or strike off sewing!  I have been wanting to make another sheer inset top in black.  I have made a white one and one with huge sleeves.

The process in drafting this was pretty easy.  I used a dolman top pattern that I made from a RTW top that I wear a ton.  You need a top that is not low cut in order for the sheer to hit at a decent spot across your chest.

It took my pattern and cut it in the same spot on the front and back.  Make sure there is enough space between the neckline and the sheer.  There needs to be at least an 1.5″, but more is better.  Attaching the sheer and hemming the neckline takes close to an inch.

Excuse my crappy mouse drawing

Then I took a sleeve and measured out where it would have hit on the underarm…took that off to where it met up with the dolman.  It is a little shorter than full length, so it would need adjusting for next time.

Super overcast morning after a rainy day.  Not Photoshop to make it look dark and moody!

I generally push my sleeves up all the time, though, so it is just fine on me.

The sheer is a knit embossed sheer that I found locally.  Look for a knit sheer, since it needs to stretch.  It also had a tendency to snag and run, so it takes a bit of careful handling.

I think this will end up in heavy rotation in my closet.  I am all about neutrals!  The skirt is a maxi skirt of my own draft that I made for my spring capsule last year.

I made this top for date night with the hubs, and finished it in 1.5 hours.  I thought it would take less time, but the sheer is futsy to deal with.

The kids are low key in their fall sports now, so I have time now to tackle projects that have been piling up.   I also have several strikes that are on their way, but hopefully I won’t get them all at once…again.

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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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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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Pattern hack – Cowl/hood top

I like to look at CAbi for inspiration on new pieces to make.  I like the details, in general, and they tend to have nice finishes.  I have a friend that invites me to her parties, and I usually end up buying a few pieces that fit into my wardrobe.

This casual top caught my eye this time:

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It is a deep cowl (about 12″) that transitions into a hood.  It is a nice piece, but I knew I could make it much cheaper than the price they were charging.  It was a pretty simple hack, too.

The top pattern I used here for the base is the Wardrobe by Me Builder T-shirt, which I sized up by one size to make it a looser fit.

The first top I did, I learned a good lesson with it.  Don’t use a poly knit that has a definite right side and wrong side.  You need a knit that is hard to differentiate the front from the back, or where you don’t mind the wrong side color.

After making this first one, I realized my pattern was too shallow for the hood part.  I also didn’t do the thumb-holes or tie waist.  I just wanted to get a muslin completed.  It was wearable, at least.

I do like how this second one turned out.

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Here is the add on I made to the basic pattern.  The neckline I used was the medium scoop boatneck.  Here are my hand-drawn pattern pieces for the hood and cuffs.  I wrote on the main hood piece the hood binding measurements, so don’t miss that piece.

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Fabric is from Joann’s. I uploaded my Silhouette Studio file for the shirt design to my Google Drive folder.

  1.  Sew your shirt up (shoulder seams, attach sleeves, sew up the side seams), leaving the neckline edge raw.
  2.  Sew the front and back cowl/hood pieces together.

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3.  Top-stitch the seams.  I just used a long straight stitch and pull it while I stitch it, so it has some stretch to it.

20161022_15754.  Sew the ends of the binding together and attach to the hood, with the seam in the middle top of the hood.

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5. Press the stitching down towards the inside of the hood and topstitch.

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6.  Turn the binding inward in half and then over the seam.  Pin and topstitch.

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7.  Mark the midde front and middle back of the shirt neckline and cowl.  Clip together at these spots and pin the rest together.  They should match fairly close.  Sew together.

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8.  Pin the bottom hem 1.5″, sew up the hem, leaving an opening to add elastic.  Put in the elastic, and close up the hole.  I measured the elastic on my high hip to determine a comfortable length.

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9.  The thumbhole cuffs are hard to explain, so see this tutorial if the pictures don’t make sense.  First you sew up the side seams on the cuffs.

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10.  Have one cuff edge inside out and one right side out and fit the corners together.  You can use a needle and thread to sew in the corners and pull them together.  Baste them down, so they won’t move.  Sew just inside the seam to catch the edge, and stitch a few lines 0.5″ down.

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11.  Place the side seams together, matching them carefully, and pin.  Sew down from the hem, along the seamline for 1.5″ (I did 2″ here and it was a little tight). Make sure to back-tack and secure the seams.

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12.   Turn right side out.  One side will generally look better, so choose that one for the outside. Pin the cuffs to the ends of the sleeves and attach.

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All done!

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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Fall Colors

Today I am guest posting over at Oliver & S for another tweenified version of their patterns: the Hide and Seek Tunic and Playtime Leggings.

(Yep, they gave me these patterns again.  As you know, I tend to draft my own, so I don’t buy patterns anymore for the most part.  All opinions on these patterns are my own.)

This outfit is one that I wanted to make when I first saw this pretty pin on Pinterest:

(Link here to purchase the tunic at Cupcakes and Pastries).

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Oliver + S Hide and Seek Tunic/Dress

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The Hide and Seek Tunic by Oliver & S is a good replica of the green tunic above.  You have the inset yoke with the “V” cut.  The tunic above is made out of a woven fabric, but I am doing a knit here.  The pattern I am using is made for wovens, though, so you could definitely use a nice linen for this top.  The green top has pleats instead of gathering and a small collar, but those are small differences.

Modifications I made to the pattern:

  • Well, I used a knit, instead of woven.  This made it fit a bit wider than she normally likes, but the knit is pretty drapey, so it doesn’t look too wide on her.  She is at the weight of a size 7 and height of a size 10, and I cut a size 10 for the lengths I needed.  I could have probably cut a width of 7 and a length of 10 to make it fit a bit closer.
  • I used Tricot Interfacing on the front and back yokes to firm them up.  I especially needed it on the front to sew on the lace, but this was a very drapey and stretchy knit.  I figured the back needed it too, to hold up the weight of the fabric.
  • I did not put in the back button placket.  It’s a knit that I sewed mostly with my serger, so with the “V” in the front, it didn’t need an opening to get it over her head.
  • Extended the arms to make it long sleeved.  I just took a shirt that fits her, and measured off the length and amount of opening I needed at the cuff.  I traced the top of the pattern piece and then extended it to those measurements.

Review:

  • Went together easily.  While I did make a few changes, the pieces fit together well and it was a fast sew.
  • If I were to make this again, I would actually make the back all one piece without back yoke with the ruffle.  I know my kid, and the extra seams back there will annoy her tender princess skin.  She shall complain and perhaps not wear it.  I know…she’s picky.  One must sew to their little urchin’s preferences or the beautiful clothes sit in the closet, unworn.

Oliver + S Playtime Leggings

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Ah, leggings.   A basic building block of any girls wardrobe.  I myself own many pairs, and have my own go to pattern for them.  This is a great basic pattern, with one pattern piece which is what I like to see.  No need to do the extra cutting and have an extra side seam.

Modifications I made to the pattern:

  • Just added the lace.  This is a pretty firm knit, but if it were thinner, I would likely stabilize it with tricot interfacing or at least use Stitch and Tear behind it while sewing the lace onto the fabric.

Review:

  • It is a pretty standard legging pattern, and went together quick.  I did sew a size 12 for my leggy kid, though.  After putting the pattern against a pair of her leggings that fit her, I cut the longer size.  She’s like me.  She has a long inseam for her height.

The outfit was a tween win!

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She said it was very comfy, and ended up wearing it to picture day the next day.

Comfy enough to stalk a squirrel in the woods…she’s a cat you know!

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Comfy enough for ninja poses!

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She went through her closet last week and informed me she needed more long sleeved shirts, so I have a task ahead of me for the next month as the weather turns frigid. I will likely be using the O+S raglan I sewed her, since that was a pretty quick sew.  🙂

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