I’m back! More on my extended absence in the next post, there’ve been some exciting developments on the homestead! In the meantime, I wanted to share a little sewing project I whipped up in the last few weeks. I was inspired by a couple high-end raglan-sleeve tops I’d seen around, and wanted to try my hand at a similar version. In the oft-used Simplicity 9499 pattern set, there just happens to be a baseball t-shirt design, which I thought would work perfectly. It’s been awhile since I’ve sewn, so I thought it might be a good idea to do a little practice run on some fabric I had laying around – as it happens, yes, I had emerald green velour laying around. I think velour is fabulous, but more on that later. My trial run went pretty well, and, as I’d hoped, I learned a couple of valuable lessons for the real thing. (Paying closer attention to laying out pattern pieces on the grain of the fabric; even though the front and back look almost identical, there really is a difference – both in the sleeves and the body; and patterns always call for a neckband that’s entirely too small.)
The finished product is, well, finished. My original thought was to do a black body with brocade sleeves, but I was swayed at the fabric store by my partner in crime, and switched the sleeve and body. I also opted for this less-opulent-slightly-reptilian-print gray fabric instead. The good news? This is one of the most well-constructed pieces I’ve sewn to date. The bad news? I can’t decide if it echoes the high-end tops I wanted to emulate, or harkens back to 80s hip hop fashion (Do a Google image search, I’m not far off.)
Here are a few shots of my trial run – all in all, not a bad job. And yes, that is a replica late 80s Plymouth Horizon in the background. It was my first car, and a few years ago my brother gave me that little gem as a birthday present.
The construction on this top is one of my best yet. I finally purchased a rotary blade for my pattern pieces, and it has made a huge difference. Everything is much more precise, which make the entire process smoother. I also finished all my seams using the side arm cutter attachment for my machine, pictured in both shots, above and below.
The side arm cutter feeds the fabric and slices off a clean edge all at the same time, delivering the fabric to the needle so it can be stitched right at the edge. I chose a stitch that would bind the fabric so as to avoid any unraveling. It’s kind of an intimidating attachment to use, because, well, it’s so final. You’re not exactly going to fix fabric you just lopped off with your machine, so you’d better make sure you’re doing it right. (I can hear Bob Vila: “measure twice cut once.”)
This is the finished edge, which now appears on the inside of every seam in this top.
The pattern doesn’t call for it, but I added a band at the hem to create a more sporty look. It’s not what I was originally going for, but once I tried on the top without the band, it just needed something more.
So, what do you think? Fabulous, or a little “Don’t Call it a Comeback”? Upon describing it to a co-worker, she asked if I could at least use it as a Halloween costume. Ouch. But, maybe.