Tag Archives: Manequim


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.


Filed under Sewing

Another (not so) quick cowl top

Manequim Cowl Top

This one is based on another free online pattern. The catch? It’s this pattern! Yup, you’re right, that entire website, complete with plenty of gorgeous patterns, is in Portuguese. And no, my Portuguese isn’t so good. Actualy it’s nonexistent. But seriously, we all know how well I read instructions,anyway,┬áright? And this particular pattern has a two star difficulty rating. “Facil” it says. My Portuguese may suck, but my French is halfway-decent… I know easy when I see it. The size range isn’t great, but it works for me.

Of course, I couldn’t just sew it as is. The pattern as is (not that you can tell based on the photo since the model’s got those crazy-high waisted pants on) has a really wide, blousy bodice. Not my thing. So I pulled out the pattern for my other cowl top, compared, and pivoted until I had what I thought was a reasonable width.

I had a Plan.

I was using more of the same light, ultra-stretchy knit fabric from the first cowl. The upside of this is it was super cheap and I have a ton of it. The downside is that it’s ultra light and ultra-stretchy. Stable it is not. Sewing it actually isn’t even the problem—it’s

Manequim Cowl Top---back

getting it lined up smoothly to cut the pattern. So I really couldn’t tell you if the various places my pieces didn’t match up correspond to the problems in the pattern itself, my changes to the bodice, or my poor cutting. My guess is mostly the last. When I made the first cowl top, I doubled the front. This

Mannequim cowl top

time, I planned to double both, and thus avoid having to bind any edges. And I did it! Aside from a couple of glitches, I managed to sew every single seam on this shirt so it faced the inside, except for about three inches along one edge of the cowl drape, which I finished by hand.

Then I tried it on and had to take each side in by about half an inch. So now the side-seams aren’t nicely finished. But otherwise, it’s great! I’ll let you know how badly it stretches out in the wearing, though… that seems to be the key issue with this fabric.

As to the top itself—it’s nifty. Doesn’t really look like the model’s… I think my fabric is way too different (also my seam along the edge of the cowl really makes it less flippy, more drapy. The cowl part is really big and drapy—cool looking, but I’m still a little nervous about the way it falls. It seems like it will shift around a lot with wearing. I’m actually tempted to make some straps… we’ll see. But here’s some different possibilities for wearing it, which is kinda nifty. If I ever do make it again, I’ll make the body about an inch longer…

off-the-shoulder variation

High shoulder variation


Filed under Sewing