SFOs (Semi-Finished Objects)

Zena of Blood, Sweatshop, & Tears once commented that “wearable is climax. Done is denouement.”

She is so right.

Lekala twist-top, v. 2

In that spirit, I give you my second take on the Lekala 5675, a.k.a. the twist top. The hems are serged but not completely finished, and it’s been like this most of the week. I am disinclined to fuss with trying to stabilize them for topstitching. Bleh. This red knit is wiggly, super-stretchy, and much more like the kind of fabric I imagine the shirt was designed for than my last attempt. It’s also an amazing example of the difference fabric choice can make for the exact same pattern (only difference is I added perhaps an inch more extra length to the red version, just in case, bringing the total increase to about 3-4″ in the sleeves and 4-5″ at the hem. The first version was roomy and sweater-like, with a surprisingly perfect fit in the shoulders. This version is second-skin tight and the shoulders look really narrow. Although about the same as they look in the pattern illustration, actually.. The twist still doesn’t pull naturally into the kind of tight twist the illustration suggested. This might be a drafting problem (maybe they should just have widened the upper front piece a bit so that a full twist was required), or it might just be that my doubling of the front (makes the finishing easier and never a bad idea in a thin knit) gives it a bit too much body. I think in my head the slit below the twist should be wider, but again it’s actually quite comparable to the illustration. Some day I shall use Sherry’s post to attempt to reduce a swayback in a knit. Someday.

Simplicity 5728

Simplicity 5728

In a similar vein, my (wearable muslin?) version of Simplicity 5728 is at a try-on-able phase in construction. Yay!

This is such a peculiar fabric. I would’ve sworn it

Simplicity 5728, side view

was a diagonally-ribbed knit, but it frays like a woven. It’s stretchy, very slightly in length, significantly in cross-grain, but fairly stable. It does have that cling-to-every-lump-and-bump quality of a knit.

In the stretchy (whatever the heck it is), I should probably have used the original bust-length, as the extra length doesn’t seem to be necessary. I had narrowed the bodice sides 1/4″ on the pattern, since it seemed a bit roomy under the arm,

Back (lightened to show lack of swayback wrinkles!)

tapering to nothing at the waist, and I took it in another 1/4″ here after trying it on (adding up to a substantial 2″ reduction in the total bodice width). I did a swayback alteration as per Sherry’s instructions (sooo easy when you have both waist and CB seams), taking off about 1/2″ (12mm) both above and below the waist seam. I gave the CB seam of the skirt a bit of an S-curve to it as my swayback seems to be rather below my waist in this area. And then I cut, inserted zipper, and hoped. And—well, look!

Can we say, happy customer?

Also, like what I did with the back neck? I did a brutal job of finishing the top of

Simplicity 5728, full back

the zipper, but otherwise it’s snazzy! Er, and yeah, the zipper’s pink. I thought it coordinated/contrasted nicely with the muted purple of the fabric, but probably it’s just too light. But the only other zipper I had of suitable length was white, and an invisible one, which I don’t actually know how to install. It’s vintage and metal, though, so it’s cute enough to deserve to be looked at.

Simplicity 5728, front closeup

You will recall that I received excellent advice from Kay and others on my sleeved muslin to raise the bottom of the armscye to improve my sleeve mobility. So I raised it a full 2cm, on the principle that it’s easy enough to lower it after the fact if I need to.

(It occurs to me that I probably annoy nearly everyone with my flitting back and forth between metric and imperial measurements. Can I call it a Canadian thing? I prefer to do my seam-allowances in metric because the metric markings are at the front of my sewing-machine face-place, making them easier to see than the imperial markings, which are at the back. On the other hand the width of the regular foot is definitely 1/4″, so I tend to do things like small alterations in this increment. It also depends on which ruler or measuring tape comes to hand first…)

I should also mention that I added 5″ (and we’re back to the imperial) to the hem of the skirt to get it to this luxuriously long length. That’s supposed to include 2 1/4″ of hem, which would bring it to a perfectly respectable heel-length, I think, although I’m not convinced a 2″ hem will be desirable in this fabric. I’m wearing a 3″ heel in the photos. I love these crazy-long 70s skirts.

Coming soon: the great sleeve adventure!

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19 Comments

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19 responses to “SFOs (Semi-Finished Objects)

  1. I flip back and forth between metric and imperial. Most of my tools are imperial (and anyway I cling to it on principle) but metric pattern alterations are so much more straightforward.

    One of my favorite things about your blog is you make and wear things I don’t, and I love seeing what you’re up to.

    More often than not, I just serge the bottom of a knit top. Until I get a coverstitch machine… One day.. .

    • Hehe… I find I am fantasizing about a coverstitch now. The double-needle is okay, but just… not… quite right. I love seeing what you’re up to, too (and the mouse is coming in very handy, though she looks more like a hedgehog now with all the pins in. The only trouble is I keep having to steal her back from a daughter. Also those silk-pins are delicious. 🙂

  2. Ooh, that dress is already beautiful! I love a long dress or skirt- so elegant. And your red top is nice, too. You know, I was looking at a couple of my RTW knit tops the other and I have several that don’t have hems, just serged, and one top that doesn’t have anything done to it. It just curls up on its own. Seems you don’t always need a finish on a knit.

  3. I guess it’s not like the knit will ravel.

    Whenever I replace my silk pins, I end up with prickled fingers until I get used to how sharp they are.

  4. Corinne

    I frequently double fronts when my knits are too light. Love the style of the red knit. so cute on you. Of course, the dress is great, such a nice flattering fit after your tweaks!

  5. Wow, the dress is so beautiful on you, very elegant, and the fit is excellent.
    I swap between metric and imperial too, probably because of my sewing machine guide (imperial at the front) and my imperial only olfa clear ruler, and the annoying tendency of USA independent pattern companies not realizing that the rest of the world measures in metric!

  6. Great fit on the dress! Do you have plans for another version of it? If so, what kind of fabric are you thinking?
    I too use both styles of measurements. Metric is so much easier in terms of mathematical equations like adding and dividing. Japan uses metric so everything fabric and notion related here is metric. But being an American, my brain still sometimes thinks in imperial terms, and let’s face it, when considering one’s own measurements, generally imperial is a much kinder route.

    • I’m not sure. It’s a fun dress, so I wouldn’t mind making another version, but on the other hand I wear very few dresses as it is and I’m trying to limit the number of non-everyday items I make. It will depend, I guess, on how it turns out and how wearable it is. (probably the shorter version would be more wearable… but somehow not as fun 😉 )

  7. The dress is very nice- perfect fit. The knit top is just
    as nice in the first fabric too. Alas, its all bi-measurements here
    in Australia- patterns in imperial, fabrics in metric.

  8. The dress kinda looks awesome as is…!
    Mainly metric here in NZ, but imperial still lingers in pockets of the clothing industry, so I also flit between the two. Although trying to divide inches into fractions tests my intelligence.
    Could you give the twist in the twist top another revolution – or is it finito for now?

    • I could try twisting it another full turn but I feel like that would pull in too much of the width, and the shoulders are already really narrow… maybe if I try it again, but as this is a pretty distinctive top I’m thinking two versions may be enough (or even too many) for me. Though there are those pesky relatives…

  9. Lucy

    In the UK everything flits between metric and imperial! I can tell you my weight in kilograms, but my height in feet. I measure in centimetres, but think of my pattern alterations in inches. We have what is essentially a metric currency, estimate short distances in metres, but all our road distances are in miles. Is it any wonder the country’s maths is up the spout?

    In other news, I love the top! So nice to see a top pattern with interest, but also a reasonably high (=warm) neckline. Vis-a-vis swayback, I highly recommend , the method that Sherry based her last pictures on.

  10. themrseu

    My little girl is sitting next to me and said, seeing you in your dress:”ohh, mama, is she a real princess?” So there you go, I’d say your dress is a big succes. I love it on you too, you look beautiful and very elegant. The red top is great too, the colour is marvelous on you.

    About those fantasies about a coverstitch: I have one and LOVE it. The twin needles and I never really got along and I always seemed to end up wanting to throw them. But now, with my coverstitch, I make hems, necklines and cuffs in knits whistling. So if you have the chance of buying one, with all your knit sewing, I advice you to do it as soon as you can ! 🙂

    • Aww, your daughter is so sweet!

      For the amount I spent on twin needles (since at least half of them don’t survive their first project), you’d think I could justify a coverstitch. Well, I will keep thinking about it (although with the amount of money I’m about to drop on orthodontics for the kids, it’s a bit hard to contemplate any frivolous spending right now.)

  11. I really think that 70’s pattern is going to look nice with long sleeves.

  12. The Mom

    Absolutely amazing dress! Really elegant! And I like the edgy hair & boots with it!

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  15. Mercy

    Great blog! I’m making this dress next week, and I also need to make a sway back adjustment. I’m wondering if you can send me a link to the instructions you reference. Thanks for your time!

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