Two new tops

Yesterday I had a last-minute urge to make something sparkly for New Year’s Eve (and there aren’t many choices for ‘sparkly’ in my fabric stash, or my wardrobe either!). So I pulled out Burda 8265 again, this time using a drapey jersey. I shortened the pattern from tunic to regular length, shortened the sleeves a touch, omitted the back facing and just turned and stitched the back neck instead.

The drape detail at the neck is very pretty with this lighter-weight knit (although harder to baste in the right place!). The jersey is olive with gold metallic on the front, giving a dark bronze appearance in person. I started sewing around 5p and finished it at 7:30 (ok, the hems were just wonder-taped, and not stitched yet). It’s very fun to have a TNT that you can whip out quickly like that, and I got some nice compliments on the top at the party I went to.

I also finally finished the wearable muslin of Simplicity 3692 that I’d been working on. Binding all the seams and hems took *forever*, as the only way I found to keep the seam binding in place before sewing was to use washable glue, but then I had to wait for each seam to dry as otherwise the glue would make the presser foot stick. Surely there’s a better way?


Simplicity 3692

Pattern description:
Tunic or dress with curved front and back yoke, sleeveless, short sleeves, or wide 3/4 sleeves. I made a tunic length version with the 3/4 sleeves.

There’s a tunic top from the catalog company Boden that I want to make a version of, and this pattern is very close style-wise. So this garment was intended as a wearable muslin of the pattern.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
OK, this pattern, as drafted/sized, has *10 inches* of ease at the bust, and it’s supposedly designed for knits. 10″ is a lot for a woven, let alone a knit. If I were a newbie sewer and made this as instructed, it would probably be huge and I would be disappointed and mystified. Why does Simplicity keep on doing this? (/rant)

Because of the extra ease, I started with a smaller size in the shoulders (14), grading up to a 20 at the hips.

Fabric used:
Plaid cotton flannel. I cut the yokes on the bias.

Construction details:
I used a sharp needle and poly thread. All seam allowances were bound together with seam binding. Hems were bound in seam binding, then turned and stitched with a double row of topstitching.

I made the yoke facings from some white broadcloth scraps, and added interfacing. I used the sew/flip/press trick for the facings and interfacing, to get a finished edge on the inside.

I cut this out just as drafted, even though I usually need to lengthen Simplicity patterns in the armhole and widen the upper arm. I thought I’d get away with it since everything was loose, but after I finished the bodice and sewed the sleeves, there was no way I’d be able to move my shoulders once the arms were in. So I ripped out part of the sleeve seam and added a godet (I learned in my research that godets are triangular, while gussets are ovoid or diamond-shaped). I then kinda cheated the armscyes bigger to match the bigger sleeve top, and cut off the excess. The added fabric is only visible when I raise my arms above my head. The fit in the shoulders is a touch odd, but it’s very wearable.

Quality of the drafting and instructions:
The instructions were actually quite good, and included notes on how to do everything with a serger.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
This is a simple silhouette, but the curved yoke and gathering gives it some interest.

What changes would you make if you sewed this again?
I need to ‘officially’ fix the sleeve width, so I won’t have to add gores again. I think I’ll also lengthen the top portion of the yokes so that the neckline falls a bit lower.

Conclusion:
The Built by Wendy patterns (this is my second, I think) seem good for beginning sewers, as long as you pay attention to ease and supplement with a sewing reference book. The shapes are up-to-date but simple, and highlight the fabric. You could do a lot with this pattern.

I like my finished garment, too, even though it’s not the most fashion-forward thing ever. It’s warm and snuggly, and has a quirky lumberjack girl (lumberjill?) feel to it. I’m pleased with the save I made with the arms, and the time I took to finish all the seams on the inside.

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