Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Fun with Knit Tops

This week my sewing is purely for fun; I'm resting up for a couture Dior dress project which I'll begin work on next week.  I think you will enjoy reading along but more about that next week.

My mother and I were shopping in Walmart last week and we fell in love with a $6 painted tee in the plus department.  Since my mother is not a plus size and she prefers turtlenecks, I rebuilt the tee.  Here are the before and after photos.
Size 5x Walmart tee "before"

Walmart tee "after"

 If you want to restyle a garment, purchase the largest size available so you have fabric for collars, sleeves etc.  The garment went together within in an hour, and it was fun to sew something simple. 

Next I was inspired by Silhouette Patterns Sunny's top  The layers are interesting and the pattern includes bust darts.  Peggy Sagers (owner of Silhouette Patterns) is an advocate for using darts to improve fit in the armhole and bust, in both woven and knit garments.  To avoid a disappointing fit, I made a test garment out of cotton/lycra from my stash.  While the fabric is good quality, the color is not flattering to me.  I basted the test garment together.
machine basted tee shirt
The test garment tells me the garment is 3" too long, the bust and waist are one size too large,and the dart needs to be stitched closer to the bust point.  I correct the pattern and omit a bottom overlay to shorten the tee.  Here is the final tee.
Sunny's Top front
Sunny's Top back
Fit is very nice, especially the armholes and bust lay smoothly.  I like Peggy's construction method.  The neckline has no visible top stitching as the seam allowances are under stitched to an inner layer.  Since the tee is essentially double the normal thickness due to the layers, I left the sleeves long and will wear it on cool days.   The horizontal cut edges roll to the right side of the garment.  The fashion fabric actually cost less than the test garment fabric, but I feel comfortable admitting I should never have purchased the test garment fabric.  The stash is a little smaller now, and I got the fit I wanted. 

I liked the layers of Sunny's Top but I knew my mother would be too warm in the layers.  I used Mom's standard tee pattern and added a few layers.   I cut a second front with an angled hemline that starts just below the bust.  I cut three sleeves of graduated lengths, and basted them together along the armscye and stitched as one.  The key is making sure the hem edges all curl to either the underside or outside.
Mom's turtleneck tee front
I embellished the right sleeve with three layers.  Sometime asymmetry is interesting.  Again the fabric was thick so additional layers would make the top too warm to wear.
Mom's tee sleeve detail
Silhouette Patterns has many cute knit top patterns and all patterns come with separate front pattern pieces for each cup size B, C and D.

1 comment:

  1. Great tops! I really like the pink one.
    Taking an extra large top and cutting it down is something I do quite often with t-shirts.