Tag Archives: Lydia

Renfrew vs. Knit Sloper—Round 1

Some of you will remember my battles with Lydia, the $1 download from Burdastyle for a very basic knit pullover. The end of this process was my knit sloper, which, frankly, bears little resemblance to the original pattern.

Although for reference, the basic changes were:

  • going down two sizes to remove ease (Lydia, like Renfrew, was intended to be an easy pullover, which wasn’t actually the look I was going for)
  • petite-alterations to the armscye, sleeve-cap, and above the waist
  • square-shoulder adjustment
  • removing ease from the sleeve-cap
  • my ubiquitous lengthening of the sleeve

Once I had the knit sloper worked out, I traced it out on bristol-board so it’s a) durable and b) easy to trace and then hack.

Now, there is one MAJOR confounding factor for comparing it to other patterns, however. Which is that the sloper has no seam-allowances, while Renfrew and Lydia both have 1.5cm (which is way too much for knits, in my opinion—.6 cm is fine, although for slippery annoying knits I think I do prefer 1cm). So in the following pictures, you need to mentally add 1.5 cm to most of the borders.

So, first up—because this is what most of you may be interested in—Renfrew vs. Lydia. (And please do click through to see the full-size photos, because the details are not so obvious at blog-size. Although the full-size photos are fuzzy as crap, because I am still lacking the charger to my good camera. Sorry.)

Renfrew vs. Lydia

Now, *this* is complicated because I don’t have a pristine print-out of Lydia anymore, and I wasn’t in the mood to produce one just for the purposes of pattern comparison. On the other hand, both these patterns have the same seam allowance. Unfortunately, the bodice pieces are opposite sides, so it’s difficult to superimpose them, especially since this particular copy of Lydia is the one I hacked to make my mother’s (unblogged 😦 ) Christmas present. So pay attention to the lines of the smaller sizes on the Lydia pattern, not the cut outline.

As you can (hopefully) see, Lydia actually has more shaping going on than Renfrew. It’s also a somewhat shorter pattern (remember Renfrew has the band at the bottom to lengthen it). The waist is slightly longer in Lydia, and, most surprisingly, the hips are a little more generous (this is suprising because Sewaholic patterns are supposed to be drafted for pear-shaped women, so I was expecting Renfrew to have more width below the waist).

I should add that the shoulder height and angle in the Lydia you can see has been altered to match my sloper, since my mom and I share a short upper body and square shoulders—the original Lydia was rather longer through the armscye and had a much more sloping shoulder. So Lydia originally would’ve had a shoulder-slope similar to Renfrew, but a rather lower armscye, and a longer, somewhat more shaped, waist. I think the amount of ease each pattern was designed for would’ve been similar.

Sloper vs. Renfrew

Enter my knit sloper. This is when things get a bit wacky.

Like Lydia, you can see that my sloper has more shaping than Renfrew. The waist is slightly higher in my sloper, but not as much as I had thought it might be (I tried to align the bottom of the armscye, remembering that my sloper doesn’t have seam allowances. The armscye in my sloper is shorter, but again, not as much as I had thought it might be. The shoulder slope is hugely different, however. There’s a slight difference in ease (remembering that my Sewaholic size, 6 or 8, is the 4th or 5th line over, while the sloper needs 1.5 cm added to the edge, to be comparable.) I’d say at the bust, the difference in ease is about 4 cm around the whole bust, rather more at the waist and almost no difference at the bottom. There are also some differences in the shoulder-point position and armscye curve, but seeing as 1) my sloper has very narrow shoulders, and 2) I’m really not sure what to make of them, I’ll get back to you about it once it’s made up.

And, for your edification, here’s how the sleeves compare:

Renfrew sleeve vs. Knit Sloper

So I should really have set the knit sloper a little further down, to allow for seam-allowances. Sorry. Anyway. Sleeve cap height is actually fairly similar, however. Renfrew’s sleeves don’t seem to have much (if any) front/back shaping, and there’s no notching to indicate it, anyway. I know lots of knit patterns don’t, it’s not necessary, but I do think you get a slightly better fit when there is some. (You can see I have a little bit of shaping on my sloper—the front is to the left—although for the life of me I can’t remember if that’s original to the Lydia or if I added it as I was messing around.)

The original Lydia length is about where the knit sloper starts flaring out, so that length is very close (remembering that the sloper should be down another 1.5 cm, but on the other hand the Renfrew has the cuff on the end. So Renfrew sleeve is probably functionally longer, for your size, than the Lydia. I think the taper of my sloper is pretty true to the original Lydia sleeve as well, so the Renfrew sleeve also appears to be a little more straight overall. It also doesn’t appear to be drafted with sleeve cap ease, which is great in a knit.

So what does this all mean?

Sloper vs. altered Renfrew

At the end of things, I still wanted to be making Renfrew, not just another version of my knit sloper (but with sleeve-bands). So I opted to keep as much of the Renfrew shape as I could. For size, considering I like a little less ease in my knits (and I *REALLY* liked Seraphinalina’s Renfrews, where she went down a size), I went with the 6.

I “petited” the armscye sightly, by the simple expedient of using the size 4 rather than the size 6 height, and squared the shoulder by going over to the size 2 at the side of the neck. I also shortened above the waist, but by considerably less than the 2″ I removed from the Lonsdale—only about 2 cm, this time. And, because I wanted to keep the same overall length, I actually just “slid” the waist shaping up.

Since I’m making the 3/4 sleeves this time, I didn’t make any length alterations on them—I just adjusted the sleeve-cap height to the size 4 rather than the size 6. And it’s all cut out and ready to go, except that now I want to take a whack at adding Lisa’s hood. Which may not work (and I have enough fabric to make one go at it but not several), but requires a bit more thinking about matching the neckline that I haven’t quite gotten to. Maybe on the weekend…



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The Stegosaurus Ruffle strikes again.

Blue long-sleeve top

Nothing like a me-made month to get me off the fluffies and back on track making practical clothing. Today’s version being rather more successful than yesterday’s.

I made a couple more tweaks to my ever-evolving “Pattern formerly known as Lydia“. Since at this point I’ve altered the waist curve, the shoulder angle, the sleeve-cap, sleeve length, sleeve shape, and the neckline, I should probably give up on calling it a “Lydia“, and just call it my “Knit top TNT” or something equally generic. This time, I tweaked the sleeve-cap again, removing a bit more height, and attempted a seam-free swayback alteration, which creates much the same change in the angle of the back shoulders as Sherry’s method, except that… well, I dunno, I like the funky pivot-and-slide stuff. I then decided, on a whim (actually to optimize my pattern layout) to cut the back on a seam, so I took the opportunity there to add a teeny bit of shaping as well. If I decide to make the CB seam a regular feature, I can do a much more thorough swayback fix in the future.

No-seam swayback alteration. Yes, it affects only the shoulder.


My previous Lydias have been scoop-necked and plain. I didn’t want to just make another version in blue, so I decided to try a boatneck and a back ruffle, a nifty little feature I am blatantly stealing from Heather of Feathertysews. Thanks! I was a little hesitant about trying it in such a heavy fabric, but it actually worked out really well. Yay!

Flatlocked seam (open)

So, back to that CB seam. I didn’t really have enough room to add a seam-allowance, so I decided to try flatlocking the seam. This is a trick you can do with a serger, where you basically turn the needle thread tension way down. That way, after you serge the seam, you can basically pull it open so the ends of the fabric butt up right against each other. One side looks “serged,” the other side has these horizontal loops of thread—actually quite decorative; I have a RTW tee that features it (and I thought it was a super-cool feature when I bought it). It works best with a fairly beefy fabric, and I gather is used a lot in active wear, for butting fleeces and things like that. Here’s a better overview than mine… Since my knit is a fairly sturdy athletic/winter knit, I thought it would work, and after a certain amount of messing around (my serger’s tension settings are wonky at the best of times) I got it to work. I wasn’t too concerned with it being super-even, as my next step was to cover it with my little stegosaurus ruffle.

Ruffle closeup

I cut a piece of clear elastic just a little bit longer than my shirt back, and a strip of

my fabric about twice as long. I was originally planning to be quite scientific and match my ends, halves, quarters, etc., but it seemed like that would require too much stretching of the elastic, not to mention require more precision than I’m truly capable of. So I just held the elastic as taut as was comfortable, and slowly let it out as I stitched (a narrow zigzag) along the middle of the fabric strip, though both elastic and fabric. The result is that the strip isn’t gathered as evenly as it could be, but it doesn’t really show (and even if it does, I can’t see it 😉 ). Then, using the same narrow zig-zag, I stitched the ruffle overtop of my flat-locked seam.

Stegosaurus ruffle!

I used Sherry’s binding method here for the neck, which I attached in a C (that is , after sewing one shoulder but with the other one still open). It’s a wee bit gapy but I’m hoping that will go away in the wash. I didn’t include any clear elastic this time as the fabric is already fairly bulky… we’ll see if I regret that in the long run.

You can see that, although an improvement, my swayback alteration attempt was not enough to remove folding at the small of my back (the fact that the shirt is riding up on my belt isn’t helping, but I promise even when tugged down the problem persists). I’m happy to say the change in shoulder-angle doesn’t seem to create a problem, which I was worried about. If I try a CB seam again, I’ll do a real swayback tuck.

The further reduction of the sleeve cap seems to have hit a sweet spot (finally!); it went in (flat) essentially flawlessly, even on the serger.

I have to say, beefy, stable knits are such a dream to work with. I twin-needled the hems without needing to stabilize, with no problem at all.

Whew, I needed that after yesterday’s fiasco.

These posts will also double as my Me-Made March day 6 🙂


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I meant to do that…



I’ve been saving the rest of the fabric from this top, trying to find just the right project. I love this fabric so much. Eventually, I decided that it needed to be a drapy pattern—a cowl neck, maybe.

Last night, I decided that a reprise of this super-quick cowl neck top by Ichigogirl on Burdastyle would be perfect.

But. It’s still about -20C around here. I wanted to add sleeves.

I pulled out the pattern-pieces for Ichigogirl’s cowl-neck, and my “trusty” (aka much altered) Lydia pattern to compare. Armscyes were about the same size, as far as I could tell, but a radically different shape. I thought it seemed simpler to try to draft a cowl neck onto the Lydia than to try to fit sleeves to the odd-shaped armscyes of the sleeveless cowl pattern.

Of course, it was 8:00 at night and I was far too impatient to read up on cowl

Inner folded facing of cowl neck sewn over rear of shoulders, to enclose the shoulder seam.

drafting… I had the pattern pieces right in front of me. It’s not like I’m a stranger to frankenpatterning.

Ehm. I had actually wanted a little bit shallower of a cowl than on the original pattern, which is a bit, ah, risque if you bend over.

But, not quite this shallow. Urgh.

Rear view. Meh.

I was very proud of myself for figuring out a neat way to attach the inner fold of the cowl-neck to the shoulder so it neatly encloses the shoulder seam. I’m not sure if the picture will make any sense at all, but you’re looking at the back of the shirt, inside-out. I folded the facing portion of the shoulder-seam around to the back, enclosing the entire shoulder-seam between shirt front and facing. This makes for a lovely finish on the inside.

I then proceeded to do an impatient bodge-job of setting in the shoulders (I think I

still need to remove a bit of ease from the Lydia sleeve-cap, and add a shoulder-point notch). Didn’t do such a good job on the back-neck binding, either.

Bleh. Can I just pretend I meant for it to be this way?

In Me-Made March news:

Here’s today’s outfit, which is my first one this week not to feature some (or entirely) items I didn’t have last September. It feels a little boring because of that, but on the other hand these are some of my absolute FAVE pieces so far, so… yeah!

Classic pose

Funky dancing pose

Frankenpatterned top
More self-stitched jeans

Also my new, awesome, but hyper-uncomfortable boots. They will be great once they’re broken in.

I was wondering how long it would take me to break out the goofy poses this time around…


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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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New white Lydia shirt

Today, I woke up feeling like I’d been hit by a load of bricks. Also my sinuses are pressurized balloons. I officially have my first cold of fall.

This slowed me down a bit, but I still managed to almost finish another Lydia shirt (still needs hemming, but as

Holy swayback, batman!

Zena said, “wearable is climax. Done is denouement.” I guess this explains why I always have to post stuff before it’s quite done. I shortened the back through the armscye, (to match the front) which I think you’ll agree looks pretty good. This white fabric, although nice and stable,

has very little recovery so I think I will need to take the whole thing in a bit. It would probably be perfect for a drapey, tunic sort of a top. Of course, I have no patterns like that.

The poses are a little uninspiring due to the aforementioned hit-by-bricks feeling, and I definitely need to hit the hay, so I’m going to keep this pretty brief.

Self-Stitched September Day 19

Danielle layered over Lydia #2

My supervisor was having the annual lab wine & cheese at his house, so I got a wee bit dolled up. My supervisor suggested I should start selling clothes on Etsy. As a frame for this, he sells chainmail and his wife sells jewelry there. I refrained from asking if he would prefer I did that or write my thesis. 😉

All right. The bed is calling. Anybody out there care to swap respiratory systems?


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Second verse, same as the first!

Lydia, v. 4

Actually, this is what, version 4? Youch! But—take a look at that. And, since my preferred poses really don’t show the fit, here you go with

Lydia---front view

some straight-on shots.

Lydia, back view

Here’s what I did: Since people were divided on whether I needed less length (petite through the armscye) or less width (narrow shoulder/narrow back), I just went down to basically a 32 (I normally make a Burda 36, though I could probably get away with a 34 sometimes). Then I took a deep breath, had a minor panic-attack, and shortened the front even more. I also shortened the sleeve-cap (while trying to keep as much width as possible. Going down to the 32 took almost an inch off the back armscye, so I left it at that since there wasn’t as much gaping in the back. It looks pretty good now, but I think I could probably petite it even a little bit more; there’s a small amount of horizontal folding still happening along the shoulders at the back. Probably I could’ve kept a little more width in the back, but it’s comfy, anyway. The armpit sits incredibly high, but that’s comfy, too, actually.

My awesome neck binding!

The swayback is obviously still puddling like mad, though it doesn’t actually bother me. I have read a technique for shortening the back without a centre seam—basically you drop the neckline down at the top, squaring off the shoulders in the process—that might or might not help with that… maybe I’ll give it a try some other time. All in all, I am a pretty darn happy camper.

Here’s a closeup of my awesome neck binding! (Ok, not really awesome but I am pretty happy with it.

And now the neckline, which was too low on the last couple of attempts, is too high again. But we’re getting closer!

So—exciting? No. But comfy, and fitting much, much better, so a trimph. And apparently I’m petite from bust to shoulder. Who knew?

Also, how did the red background work out for photographing the black? I still don’t have anywhere inside that has adequate lighting, but I thought the red (which is my sweater knit by the way) might be better than a white wall or a black curtain.

Speaking of the red sweater knit, I’m a touch torn here on what to do with it. I want to make a flowy cardi-wrap. I have several options.

One is this tutorial here, which has the advantage of being free and cutting into the lovely fabric minimally. Another alternative is this Simplicity pattern that has all the rave reviews on PR; Simplicity patterns are on sale at Fabricland right now, which is good because I wouldn’t want to spend the full $15 on it. The third possibility is the Karen Cardigan off Burdastyle, probably with the waist-tie moved up to underbust level. Probably the Karen is my least favourite of the options… I’m wanting the long, long look.

Any thoughts? Anyone tried the tutorial? It seems a little too simple to be true, kind of thing.


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Lydia struggles

Lydia v.3---lightened considerably

I thought I was almost there, folks, I really did. I figured this would be the one.

Instead, here I am (once again) questioning my validity as a sewist and my ability to produce anything resembling a wearable garment.

After the last Lydia, which was really gapy around the neck and seemed to ride up, I took a tuck in the neckline (to reduce gapiness) and altered the side-curve, which was really a little too long for my rather short waist. I also raised the neckline by a good inch. I really thought that would do it, folks. I thought I was there.

Well, this version (which admittedly is out of a different fabric) has the exact same problems! Still bulging in front above the bust (unless I pull it down, but it comes up again as soon as I raise my arms), still too low-cut. (Incidentally, when it rides up to where it seems to want to sit, the neckline is perfect). It feels like the whole front shoulder (between bust and shoulder seam) is too long. Yet when it’s in it’s “comfy position” the bottom of the armscye is way up in my armpit. It’s not uncomfortable (quite the opposite), but it seems unusual.

Here you can see the "bulge" in front of the shoulder best.

I wonder if maybe I’m trying to get this pattern to be something it wasn’t meant to, though. I want a close-fitting shirt I can layer under other stuff (see today’s SSS outfit below)—but the pattern itself seems to have a lot more ease and maybe be intended for a looser kind of garment? I feel like the sleeve cap and armscye are not the right shape for what I’m wanting—it seems to bind and pull up. I’m guessing I need a shorter armscye and shorter (maybe wider?) sleeve-head.

It didn’t help that I experimented with setting the sleeves in before the sideseams, which is a quicker and easier way to install it a) if there isn’t too much sleeve-head ease and b) if you’re better at keeping your stretch tension even than I am. So I’m going to ignore the ripply parts of the shoulder seam as being a problem with my stitching. When it’s “sitting comfy” the shoulder seam is in about the right place (but very loose due to the front pouffing) but when it’s tucked down the shoulder seam seems to fall a bit to the back.

On the other hand, it’s comfy, warm (which I really need today, despite the bright sun in the photos below, it is NIPPY), the sleeves are deliciously over-long (I added a good 3″ in length), and the waist curve seems to sit in a better place than the last one. I think it will be great for layering, assuming I can wrap my head around layering something warm under something chilly (usually I do the other way around). The pictures don’t look too awful, partly because you can hardly see anything ;).

And, I have enough fabric left to give it another go…

Edited to add back view---not that you can see much (crummy black)

Also, I experimented with a different technique for finishing the hems: incorporating a clear elastic. This is supposed to prevent stretching-out and tunnelling of your twin-needle stitches. I am not totally sold. When I tried to attach the elastic first (with a triple zig-zag) and then fold it under and topstitch with the twin needle, it was impossible to get the elastic to feed at the same rate as the shirt fabric (and I’m not up for sandwiching tissue paper into the mix just for a hem finish) When I just tucked the elastic inside a fold and double-stitched, it worked a bit better but I still didn’t have much control of the elastic tension, and there still seems to be a fair bit of tunneling. We’ll see how it holds up after a few washing, but for the most part I don’t think I’ll bother next time.

On the other hand I’m getting almost good at incorporating the elastic into the neck binding, which looks almost store-bought, at least from the outside. 🙂

Self-Stitched September, Day 6:

Self-Stitched September 6

More goofy poses!

Self-Stitched September 6

Messing around. At least it's sunny!

Two pieces that I didn’t have at the beginning of the month!

Now, if I can just make a topper and maybe another pair of jeans… Oh yeah, and that winter coat.


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Lydia… progress

Lydia, v. 2: pulled down

I was actually hoping to title this post “Lydia—Redemption” but… well, we are not quite there yet. However, v. 2 is a world better than v. 1. In case you need the reminder, we’re discussing the Lydia pattern from Burdastyle.com, my only paid downloadable pattern to date. $1, woo big spender.

I cut a straight size 36 (my usual Burda size) this time. I also lowered the neckline quite a chunk, since it’s quite high in the original (especially since I use a bound neckline rather than a facing, so there’s no seam-allowance taken in). My binding isn’t great, by the way, but it looks decent in the photos so it will probably pass muster.

This was a vast improvement of fit, especially in the shoulders. I’m also quite happy with how my cap version of the sleeve

Lydia, v. 2: after moving around. Note the looseness between bust and shoulder.

turned out, since I basically had no idea what I was doing (but no way in hell did I have enough fabric left for another try at the long-sleeve version.) They are a little snug—maybe I could spread the pattern a touch next time.

But—and there’s always a but, isn’t there?—there are still some changes to make. Most seriously, the neckline gapes if not pulled way down: when wearing it the whole thing creeps up until it looks more like the picture on the left. This bring the neckline up to a more comfortable point (yes, I lowered it a wee bit too much, even for my dubious modesty). I am going to try the “cheater” method of just taking a tuck out of the pattern along the neckline to bring it in about 1/2″. Another possibility is that it’s the tightness of the cap-sleeve that’s pulling it up; I really don’t think the entire armscye region needs to be shortened (if the problem is the sleeve cap, I will still need to raise the neckline). The bust-to-waist portion of the shirt does need to be shortened; the narrowest point of the curve is definitely a good inch below my (rather high) narrowest point. This also doesn’t help with the riding up. I also brought in the sides a good

Lydia, v. 2: back

half inch each (for a total of 2″ less around the whole shirt, so that’s another alteration to make.

The back view looks pretty good aside from the usual puddling at my sway-back. I’m not sure it’s actually possible to fix this without doing wonky things like adding back seams, so I’m not going to sweat it in a knit. Every other shirt I’ve worn in the last 10 years does the same thing.

All it needs now is a hem!

By the way, that’s 2 shirts from 1m of this fabric, which cost about $8… even if I include the cost of the Lydia pattern and notions, that’s still less than $5 a shirt.  I’m not going to get much better than that, even at the thrift store. And the time it takes to sew up is not much longer than a shopping trip, either. This one was cut and sewn in about 2 hours before bedtime last night—including piecing together the pattern.


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Lydia FAIL

Drunk on the success of my first tank top, I was eager to press ahead and try a knit shirt with set-in sleeves! Bravely I downloaded the Lydia pattern from Burdastyle (my first paid download from there, by the way. I know, $1, big spender). I was a little surprised to find that the pieces for this close-fitting top were each more than an inch wider than my pattern for my tank top (even in a size 32… and I’m normally a size 36). I set out to narrow these pieces by the required amounts, figuring I would just move the folded edge over and adjust the necklines. I also compared the length of the sleeve to the length of my arm; it appeared that it might actually be long enough.

This may have been my first mistake.

Adjustments made, I laid out my pattern pieces; had a brief panic when it appeared there wouldn’t be room for the sleeve, but managed, through the miracle of tube-knit, to fit it in with the narrow end between my bodice pieces. Hooray for a length of fabric with no edges!

I googled and blog-trawled and researched tutorials on various knit neckline bands. Finally settled on one method, cut my binding, stitched down, added clear elastic, folded over, twin-needled it in place. Tried on the bodice—fit looked good. Neckband was firm but didn’t appear overly stretched-out. The back was a little high, but nothing unwearable.

Sewed the sleeves up and examined their attachment points. Oddly, the fuller part of the sleeve was cut to the front. I thought the fuller part usually went to the back. Perhaps I had my markings wrong (it wouldn’t be the first time).

So I sewed them in on the opposite sides. This was my second mistake. But they went in nicely (knits are so nice to ease in!), and I was getting very good at feeding the clear elastic through as I sewed, giving it just enough tension to hold firm without puckering the finished seam. I am so awesome.

And then, I went to try it on again. I could have puked. I didn’t take pictures—I couldn’t bear to. I went to try and fix it as quickly as possible… of course, there was no way.

The shoulders are WAY too narrow. Like an inch too narrow. Possibly that same inch I took off? It never even occurred to me that narrowing the shoulders along with the rest of the bodice would be a problem. Which shows what an idiot I can be, I suppose. I know I have broad shoulders. I know this. What on earth would possess me to narrow the shoulder of a pattern, regardless of what I was doing to the bodice?

Beyond this, my reversal of the sleeve created a big bulge at the back shoulder seam. Presumably this is caused by some combination of the too-narrow shoulders and, I think, the pattern shoulders being too sloped for me. Broad, square shoulders. So I attempted to stitch that down.

And, for some reason a huge hump of fabric had developed at the back of my neck. I literally took a 1/2″ tuck just below the band from shoulder tip to shoulder tip. And then another one just across the shoulders.

I would call this the billiard-ball method of fitting adjustment: bouncing randomly in various directions in response to the problem presented, rather than pausing to analyze its source. The Boy does something similar when he gets lost while driving, taking random turns without ever stopping to figure out where we went wrong or how to get back on course. It’s not very helpful while driving, either.

At this point, I don’t think there’s much to do. My ridiculous tucks got it into a parody of fitting, but nothing actually wearable. Taking stitches out of knit is pretty much impossible. At best, I suppose I can cut the sleeves off and turn it into another tank-top, maybe a racerback style. This at least would let me salvage the neck banding. Alternatively, I could chop the whole top off and  make another tank-top just like my first one.

Ugh. I will take this as a sign to stop sewing for today. Tomorrow I’ll sew up a tank-top in the blue knit to redeem myself. And then I’ll have to bite the bullet and buy more practice knit, and try another Lydia. 😦


Filed under Sewing