Thursday, April 29, 2010

Spring Top Week Adventure

So have you heard about spring top week over at Made by Rae? I've been following Rae for well over a year now, and was really inspired by last years spring top week, so when I heard she was doing it again I thought this was the perfect opportunity to raid my stash and make something lovely!

My Top!!
This took lots more work than I thought it would, but I'm so excited to be finished!

Green cotton stretch fabric purchased to make maternity tops the last time I was pregnant (2.5 years ago).
Navy cotton stretch fabric thrifted from a pair of pajama pants

Pattern: Simplicity New Look 6615

This is a dress pattern, cut down to a tunic top - Since this pattern was intended for woven fabric it ended up posing some challenges with respect to sizing.

- Cut the lower front panel much larger to accommodate the belly!
- Adjusted to back panel to be cut on the fold (to reduce sewing)
- Added pleats to the top back to make up for the extra fabric that was added by cutting on the fold.
- Traded in the shaped bands for straight cut bands, I figured that since I was using a knit the bands didn't really need to be curved. Also, it was much easier to cut straight bands from the thrifted pants.
- Added extra long side ties that would wrap around to tie in the front (I hate having a knot in my back!)
- Added a small loop and button to the front to keep it modest but still allow for use as a nursing top.

This took way more time than I anticipated - 4 naps and 3 evening! The cutting alone took 1.5 naps (3.5 hours!)

- I usually pin baste to test then just go ahead a sew! It's not a great way to work, but it tends to work well for most projects. The problem here was that I used my very short lightning stretch stitch to put it all together then realized that I was going to have to make some changes and needed to spent almost 2 hours stitch ripping the bust and neck lines.

- The original bust pleats that looked great pin basted, looked horrible once sewn, not only were they just bad, they were also in the wrong spot!

- The lower front and the back turned out pretty well, but the front/top/bust area was quite large and needed to be taken in over and inch in both the shoulders and the sides. I should have anticipated this since I cut for my size using a woven fabric pattern!!

- Needless to say I basted the second time around to make sure that everything would fit!

- Maternity/Nursing top - I intentionally made the front long and added several pleats to the side to accommodate my belly, but I also used a slightly looser stitch in that area that will be a little easier to remove and adjust into a non-maternity top in 2 months when baby is here.

- Sleeves: I originally cut the sleeves, but hubby liked it better without, and once I'd tried a couple of times to pin them in I realized that the adjustments due to using a knit fabric were going to make the sleeves a little more difficult to put in. I'll set the sleeves aside, and if I'm still loving this top by the time fall rolls around I'll put them in then.


Whew! That was hard work. I don't think I'll use a woven pattern to make a stretch knit again in the near future!!

I'm really pleased with the overall look! I love the way it fits and I am especially happy with how the front turned out - reasonably modest with the button, while still allowing for nursing access - plus it doesn't look like one of those frumpy double layer nursing t's!

I'm also really glad I sucked it up and used some of the nicer fabric from my stash! These are my colours and I know I'll get tons of wear out of this top throughout the spring and summer, and probably well on into the fall.