Frankenpattern

Fun with plaid

So last weekend I “splurged” on this purple plaid-printed knit. One whole yard, costing a whopping $2.50 (I would’ve gotten more but let’s face it, how many outfits in a fabric like that can I get away with? Although, I suppose I could’ve made stuff for the kids). It’s a fairly thick, stable knit, a little too polyester-feeling but not awful, and decent recovery. There’s some kind of flaw in the pattern-printing (doubtless why it’s in the clearance section) but it mostly only shows on the reverse (plain, light purple) side, so I was able to ignore it for the bodice pieces.

But I didn’t want to do just another boring Lydia. The plain, scoop-necked Lydia is great in solid colours I’ll layer under stuff, but for something striking like the plaid I wanted more of a statement pattern, something that would stand on its own. And one of my regrets from Self-Stitched September was not getting much use of my cowl neck tops, due to their sleevelessness*. (Due to the knit, they wouldn’t drape nicely over one of the Lydias, I think.). I considered re-drafting a cowl-necked version of the Lydia (honestly, this would not be hard.)

Then, I threw caution to the wind, re-traced the sleeve from my Lydia, measured the armscye, chopped off the top of the sleeve, and added the sleeve to the Manequim cowl top.

This was… interesting.

I was pretty sure I wasn’t capable of making the cut-off top of my sleeve match with the horizontal “shoulder” of the cowl top, so I

peekaboo shoulder: I bound the top of the sleeve and finished the cowl separately.

kept them separate. In theory that means there’s some potential for cute shoulder peekaboo; in reality, the way the cowl has ended up sitting makes this unlikely. Whatever.

It took a fair amount of mental gymnastics to get the pattern working this well—there are certainly a number of places I could’ve measured better, remembered what my seam-

Purple plaid Manequim

allowances were, etc. Also the original pattern has a lower armscye (typical for sleeveless patterns, I think), and adding sleeves to it really pulls it up and into the armpit oddly. Not uncomfortable, but weird if you think to look for it. On the upside, something about the close fit at the armpit means that so far this top is completely resistant to sliding up onto the shoulder, unlike every other off-the-shoulder top I’ve ever encountered.

Plaid top---rear view

I used the wrong side of the fabric for the contrasting cowl-neck.

The only downside, at the moment, is that the broad, off-the-shoulder cowl neck pretty much negates the added warmth given by the sleeves. I am COLD!

I should add for the sake of the free-pattern-grubbing masses (like myself), that while this pattern is based on the pattern here, I totally messed with the bodice, so really the only relevant piece from the original pattern is the cowl/drape itself. You’ve been warned. I also lengthened the bodice (I had kept the original length the first time) by 3 cm, and it’s better but still a bit short for my liking, especially since I haven’t hemmed it yet. I was about to, but my twin needle decided to break going over the first side-seam. Really, it’s done quite well—none of my previous twin needles have survived more than one or two garments at most before I managed to break them—but it means the shirt won’t be getting hemmed for, oh, another few weeks.

Also, look at that! RTW jeans! And honestly, this is the only pair of the RTW pants I missed, the whole month of Self-Stitched September.

Side view---cowl "up"

*now, historically I have worn plenty of short-sleeved and sleeveless tops all through the winter. Rendered more-or-less invisible by my signature hooded sweater. But having discovered through sewing the wonder of the long (or rather, long-enough) sleeve, I don’t know if I’ll be able to bring myself to do this ever again.

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24 Comments

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24 responses to “Frankenpattern

  1. Gorgeous work on the top! How creative you are. And those jeans are FINE!

  2. jamie

    Love the top, checked out the pattern and was considering making it. Only I don’t read Spanish and can’t get the text to copy to a translator site. Is the construction fairly obvious, or do I really need to be able to read the included instructions?

    • It’s actually in Portuguese (I don’t read either, but Spanish is a little easier to fake), but seriously, you don’t need instructions. I was able to figure out the sizing using google translate built into my browser (Chrome)—it’s basically one size bigger than the equivalent Burda size. There are four pattern pieces, front bodice, back bodice, front cowl, back cowl. It’s incredibly obvious. If you are confused, let me know and I’ll help you out :). Compare the bodice pieces to a knit pattern you know fits you, though—the shape is very different from what I actually made. The drape is identical, however.

  3. That’s a wonderful top! I love cowl necks and both pattern and fabric look really lovely on you. I also like the shoulder peek-a-boo, even if it’s not always visible…

  4. Really cute! I love your fabric. I’ve just realized that I wear a LOT of purple these days!

  5. Joy

    Wow! Gorgeous top! Actually, the first thing I thought was, “Brrr….”

    And thanks for the link…

  6. Gee, all y’all give such lovely compliments! I’m all warm and fuzzy here. :) I think this is one of my favourite tops yet… though Joy, you’re right, it is a little chilly. Today was lovely warm, though, probably the last hot day we’ll have, so it was great.

  7. Hey, well done! I heart that shade of purple.

    Since you seem to be a Lydia expert I wanted to ask your opinion as I am about to embark on my own Lydia in the next few days. The pattern actually calls for interfacing on the neck facings. Do you use interfacing for this? It hardly seems necessary. I’m not a big fan of the stuff. Please hold my hand, I am a child who can’t grasp sewing a t-shirt on her own.

    • I never even touched the neck facings—I just cut out the neck (theoretically minus the seam allowance) and bound the edge with a cross-grain strip and some clear elastic. It’s similar to this technique on burdastyle, although their version would be a little bulkier but a better over-all finish. I like including the clear elastic, though, because it keeps it from stretching out under the sewing machine (I don’t have a functioning serger). Happy to answer any questions—though I’ll warn you I’m still 90% noob myself. ;)

  8. Nice. I’m cold all winter long, but it might be bearable to bare my shoulders in something this cozy. I love how you solved the problem of two pattern pieces not quite fitting by making the shoulder opening into a fashion feature.

  9. love the mix of peekabo/bare shoulders and the classic plaid!! Yay! adorable shirt.

  10. sooo stinking cute!!! i love the cowl neck with the long sleeves and the potential for “cute shoulder peekaboo action”!

  11. I think it looks lovely!

  12. WOW! Good job, Taran! Looks really good!

  13. I’m so glad you went with a cowl neck! It looks great!
    Don’t you feel like you deserve a prize when you make something out of discount fabric? I actually call one of my skirts my “$4 Skirt”.

  14. I just love what you have done with the pattern and the fabric. I think this top is outstanding. The cowl top with the added sleeves looks great, and with that outfit the color really suits you well. I’ll take a bow to you and your creativity.

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