Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Cosy Quilted Sweater - Vogue 8925

Pattern: Vogue 8925 (2013)

Pattern Details: Semi-fitting, pullover top has side front princess seams, applied neck band, lapped seams, and raw edge finishes. I made View B.

Pattern Sizing: Size Y: X-Small (4-6) Small (8-10) Medium (12-14) I made the Medium with a 1/4" addition to the hip seam allowance on the pattern (total of 1").

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Close enough, since I made some changes.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, though the idea of lapped seams may cause some anxiety, I highly suggest basting them in place first and trying it on before making the stitching final.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? What initially attracted me were the raw unfinished seams and the extra details. However, as you see, I decided against most of that for this version due to the fabric I chose. Love my fabric, it was just not right for this view.

Fabric Used: 1-2/3 yards quilted bonded knit (50% cotton, 46% polyester, 3% spandex, 1% metallic) in Grey, $16.99 at 60% off

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Note that with this top you need to have the right length from the get-go since the decorative bands are added to the hem and sleeves in the very first steps. I compared the pieces to a sweatshirt I already owned and used it's measurements.

Unfortunately, after cutting out the fabric, I realized that this two-layer bonded knit frayed too badly to handle all the exposed seam finishes for this view so I chose to compromise on the construction. I loved the idea of raw edges but not so much in this fabric.

My first alteration was to fold and wrap the sleeve band part over the sleeve raw edge and secured with two rows of top stitching. Therefore, I still had some raw edges but not at the end of the sleeve which would be most vulnerable. Liking the look I continued this on the bottom hem.

The front body construction involves two lapped  Princess seams but again, I changed it and chose a typical seam for the side panels and the armscyes; therefore, following the directions for View C instead.

I basted the complete construction, including sleeves, to judge the fit. Because of the chunky knit I needed this to have a sleek fit. I ended up taking in the princess seams 1/4" closer from under the bust.  I brought in the side seam at the top a 1/4" too. Most importantly, I had to create a faux back seam for shaping. That involved almost an inch of reduction at the hollow of my back.


This involved numerous basting and trying on sessions to achieve a fit that was more slim than chunky. Eventually, I decided it was good enough when I realized this fabric was limited in how sleek it could be, it's so lofty and plush because of the quilting.

See that texture, it springs back when touched.

In a different fabric, I probably will not need to take such drastic reductions to the pattern so I marked the changes but I didn't cut the pattern tissue this time.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, I would, in a more suitable fabric and with some alterations. As seen in other reviews, the armscye is low and hinders movement some, so making a muslin is advised.

Conclusion: I love it! I received compliments when I wore it, so that helped too. After I redraft the armscye I will definitely make this view again using a more appropriate non-raveling fabric, such as boiled wool, ponte, or fleece.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Toaster Sweater Lite - Simplicity 8529

Pattern: Simplicity 8529 (2017) A Sew House Seven design.

Description: Slightly oversized sweater with dropped shoulder line, funnel or crew neckline and length variations of cropped with hem band or long with or without hi-low hem and side vents.

Pattern Sizing: Size M (14-16) I cut a M at the bust out to midway between the M and L below the armhole.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, it does.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Very much so, nothing difficult at all.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love the funnel neck and the cropped body shape, and cuffs. However, the neck is about an inch higher than I'd like.

Fabric Used: 1.5 yards 59" Blizzard Fleece in Navy Gray Aztec (100% Polyester), 100% polyester Gutermann thread in Mist Gray #102.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I cut a Medium but gave myself more room at the side seams knowing it could be removed, if not needed. Using the finished measurements and comparing with a similar top in my wardrobe I removed two inches from the length.

Check that excellent pattern matching!

Looking at the top now I think I should have cut a small. I like oversized but this was too much for me. It's far too bulky and should follow the curves of my torso more closely.

Back is folded over front,...

 stitched, and then flipped back over.

This pattern has a unique way to construct the neckline, which has it's plus and minuses. The plus, it results in a firmly anchored neckline which will not flip out; however, the minus is an extremely bulky seam.

In addition, that method leaves the neckline uneven with the back slightly higher than the front, as seen above.

Strangely, the instructions for the original Toaster #2 on the Sew House Seven website do not do it that way. Instead they have you sew the seam with the cowl opened up, flip it down, and then "stitch in the ditch" to secure the facing. It still results in a secured neckline but without the bulky seams and the uneven neckline of the Simplicity version.

F.Y.I. They also have different instructions (scroll down) for mitering the side vents that look excellent.
Sew House Seven #1
Sew House Seven #2

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, I probably will, with alterations. I like how the Simplicity version seemed to combine both views of the official Toaster sweaters (shown above) but it just didn't look as good on me. The drop shoulder added too much volume around the chest and the collar was too high and seemed to erase what little neck I have.

Next time I will widen and reduce the neckline height by at least 1" to look more like the one on the original Toaster 1, seen above. I will also sew the sleeves at 3/8" so I can push up my cuffs, which were a bit tight, and restore at least one inch of length to the body so I can raise my arms without flashing my belly!

Conclusion: This pattern is nice but it is significantly different from the indie version, which I prefer. I probably should have spent the $19 (for both Toaster Sweaters) but when a similar pattern designed by the same company is available through a $1.99 pattern sale, it seemed a no-brainer.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

What's Up...

I think it's about time for an update:

  • I have a new job! I'm finally back in the museum field after a three-year absence. It's part-time right now and has the potential to become a full-time position as I help my department grow. I volunteered there for a month and was then eagerly asked to apply for the position. I can't tell you how much that confidence boost was needed.
  • I was having a hard time finishing sewing projects. I finished two projects that I expected to be super simple and thought I would be making multiples of both. But no, they were both problematic and nearly became UFOs. They're finally done but unfortunately they were summer items and well...
  • This attitude negatively affected a pattern testing opportunity I really wanted to participate in. There was no motivation, supplies were ordered late, the eventual recipient of the garment couldn't take accurate measurements, and wouldn't be around for fittings. Feedback was due in a particularly generous time period and I am just now really working on it. I will still submit feedback and pictures
  • Pictures are a tiny bit easier because I bought an inexpensive ($30) tripod with a remote from a Lidl grocery store, of all places!

  • I mentioned this on Instagram but I finally ordered my garment labels from Dutch Label Shop. My indecision was the worst of me and delayed that purchase for weeks and I still haven't sewn one in yet!
  • FYI: I found a source for fold-over elastic (FOE) at Elastic By The Yard. It's available in one, five, and one hundred yard lengths, the last two come wound on spools. Very affordable, quick shipping, and comes in multiple colors and patterns.
  • Ok, this one is strange and I would love some feedback on it. Last year, I sought out a gynecologist practice after a recurring problem came back. I had an exam and a ultrasound. Note that these tests were done at another practice in Richmond years ago for the same issue with the same result. Again, nothing abnormal was found but in two subsequent phone calls I received I was told that the doctor recommended two more exploratory procedures, a sonohysterogram and an endometrial biopsy, both of which I declined. There was no additional communication from them on the necessity of my doing them, just those scheduling calls. A few months later, I was sent a letter that effectively "fired" me from their practice and all the other practices associated with them! The reasoning was that I had "failed to participate in my medical care." Well, I feel I definitely participated when I made my choice not to have the tests, right? What do you think?

Well, back to sewing up some warm winter wear, and yes, there is some Jo-Ann-purchased fleece in there!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

The Doppleganger Shell - Butterick 6424

Pattern: Butterick 6424 (2016)

Pattern Description: Close-fitting top with an all-in-one facing.

Pattern Sizing: Size E5 (14-16-18-20-22) I cut a 14 at top moving out to an 18 at waist and hips.

Did it look like you photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, but it took some extra work to get there.

Were the instructions easy to follow Yes, though I might make changes in the construction order if I make it again. Attaching the shoulder bands without being able to test the strap length is problematic.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? This top was a shape and construction I had not seen before. This was the only item in this multi-garment pattern that I needed or wanted.

Fabric Used: Winter white Ponteroma knit for $3 (orig. $15) from the Hancock Fabrics liquidation sale.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Trying it on as I went along I found I had to shorten the back straps by 1/4", cutting the pattern piece down two sizes. I also had to bring the placement of each strap in towards the centers a total of 1/4" to get them to stay on my shoulders.

This in turn meant the gradual curve from the strap to the armscye was no longer there and I had to change the angle when sewing the self-facing together.

Unfortunately, when sewing the armscye together I think I may have stretched the fabric out. The entire underarm area sticks out from the body, gaping, and showing far more skin than it should. A makeshift awkward dart had to be made for correction (not yet done at time of photos).

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? When I saw this pattern I assumed I would make it in multiples. However, the construction and fit was enough to make me think twice about attempting it again. Some of the issues were with the pattern and a lot were because of how it fit my particular body; however, I still would recommend it. I will try it again but make the following changes: narrow the shoulder straps and when cutting the front and back on fold I'll move the pieces in 1/8-1/4" to narrow the bodice width.

Conclusion: After choosing this pattern, I found two photos online showing extremely similar tops, one on comedian Nasim Pedrad and another on fashion blogger Tamu McPherson. These solidified my desire to have this in my wardrobe. However, I now see that these tops were made from stretch fabrics unlike the stable knit I used so they resulted in a fit I could not achieve. But, next time...