Today I have a moderately successful project to share with you – a good idea in theory, but unfortunately met with poor execution. I think my “dissertation brain” is starting to throw off my sewing, as I’ve been diving head first into projects lately without my usual level of prior thought, research, etc. I can’t help but be reminded of the old adage, “measure twice, cut once.” Lately I feel like I haven’t been doing any measuring at all, just cutting with abandon!
Here was my plan for this project, a simple knit top for summer:
- Start with my modified Renfrew pattern
- Add mini sleeve bands that I drafted last summer
- Draft a drapey cowl-neck
- Omit the hem band and add a shirttail hem instead
I thought this combo would make a fun little summer top to pair with skirts and shorts, but instead I wound up with a wrinkly and ill-proportioned mess!
Compared to the vision I had for this top, I think there are two main problems:
- The cowl is not nearly as large or drapey as I wanted.
- The top is too long and too narrow in the hips, resulting in wrinkles galore at the midsection.
The first issue resulted from my complete lack of research on how to draft a cowl-neck top. I just took a guess and forged ahead – what a dope! The second issue has been present in my modified Renfrew for a long time, and I really need to fix it already. The odd proportions at the hip became more apparent (to me anyway; you may have been glaring at it all along!) when I got rid of the hem band. The top is just too narrow in the hips and doesn’t hang properly. At least it’s an easy fix to the pattern. (Note that the original pattern is drafted correctly, but I had removed a lot of the side seam shaping to alter the pear-shaped pattern for my no-hips body.)
The bottom of the top should be hanging nicely instead of bunching up at the hips. A little more ease here will also even out the front and back hems, which are cut to the same length but bunch up due to the lack of width.
There are some things that I like about this top, including the bright pink color and fabric (more Laguna jersey), the sleeve bands, and even the too-short cowl-neck. Although I was aiming for more drape, I actually do like the look of the more modest cowl. I have more Laguna jersey set aside for Round 2 of this experiment, so hopefully a better top is on the horizon.
If you’re curious, here’s how I drafted the cowl. I rotated the top of the front pattern piece away from the center front (to the right in this case) at an arbitrary horizontal line. That’s right, I just cut wherever looked right, haha! *Smacks head.* You can see the original V-neckline in pencil, then a diagonal line where I extended the original CF straight upward, and finally the new vertical line (the new CF edge of the pattern) after the rotation was complete. How much did I rotate? Who knows – maybe 2 inches? I was really throwing caution to the wind here!
Now, what I should have done, and probably will do for next time, is something like what’s outlined in this Threads article. This just goes to show that if you want good results, you have to put the work in. Do as I say, not as I do. 🙂
To draft the shirttail hem, I used a flexible curve that I’ve had since my college drafting days (engineering, not fashion). It looks similar to this flexible ruler from the Jo-Ann Fabrics website.
And here’s a close-up of the hem. I used a simple zig-zag stitch to finish both the hem and the neckline, including the cowl. I tried using my twin needle, but I was getting a lot of tunneling and just didn’t have the patience to troubleshoot. The zig-zag worked really well, nearly enclosing the raw edge and not stretching out the fabric during sewing. I don’t mind the look of the zig-zag stitching, so that was an easy solution!The harsh sunlight in this photo really shows off the wrinkles – argh! I’m sure I’ll wear this top anyway, since my coworkers won’t notice or care about pooling fabric around my waist, but I’ll almost definitely shorten the hem by 2-3 inches.
[By the way, I’m wearing this top with my recently-completed chevron skirt. I think the pink, yellow, and white make such a cheerful color combination for summer!]
Have any of you experienced “dissertation brain” or something similar (I’ve heard pregnancy brain is the worst!) that messed around with your sewing judgment? Please tell me it will pass!