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Tops

  • Ruffle Hem Top in Organic Soy Knit

    Ruffle Hem Knit Top in Organic Soy Knit

    Pattern: Katherine Tilton for Vogue 8691 Ruffle Hem Top

    Description: Semi-fitted tops A, B, C, D have scoop neckline, neckband, princess seams, shaped, ruffled hemline flounce and long sleeves, topstitching and raw edge hem finish.

    Sizing: 8-14 (BB) or 16-22 (FF). Bonnie made this version in a size 12.

    Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, it did look like the cover picture once it was all said and done!

    Were the instructions easy to follow? In general the instructions were good, but they weren't very clear in regards to the different flounce options.

    What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Bonnie liked all the variations and possibilities of combining different knit fabrics and ruffle hems. It's also a very comfortable shirt to wear and looks great on. She didn't like the full cut of the pattern in the hip area, and felt that the sizing was inaccurate - she had to go down a size despite checking her measurements against the finished measurements on the pattern.

    Fabric used: Two different Organic Soy Knits: this one in Spruce and this one in Navy. They have a great weight and drape to them, and don't pill easily.

    Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Armhole alterations ( ), took in the sleeves. According to her measurements, Bonnie is a size 14, but she ended up cutting down to a size 12.

    Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Bonnie would sew it again, but would probably make the view without the zipper, and decrease the fullness at hip and hem area.

    Conclusion: This is a cute and comfortable top that has a lot of room for creativity. Bonnie would add the disclaimer though that with the modifications she had to made (and the sometimes vague instructions), this is not an "easy" pattern as designated by Vogue!

     

  • The Sewing Workshop Stella Top in Pink Bamboo Knit

    Closeup of Bonnie in The Sewing Workshop Stella Top in Pink Bamboo Knit Closeup of Bonnie in The Sewing Workshop Stella Top in Pink Bamboo Knit

    Bonnie in The Sewing Workshop Stella Tunic in Pink Bamboo Knit Bonnie in The Sewing Workshop Stella Tunic in Pink Bamboo Knit

    Bonnie Staying Warm in The Sewing Workshop Stella Top in Pink Bamboo Knit Bonnie Staying Warm in The Sewing Workshop Stella Top in Pink Bamboo Knit

    Our wonderful seamstress, Bonnie Thompson, made The Sewing Workshop Stella Top in our pink bamboo knit. The fabric is a technical charcoal-bamboo and polyester blend that wicks moisture away from the body -- making it great for long underwear. But, it's also reversible and gorgeous, so Bonnie correctly thought it would work well for this top.

    The Sewing Workshop Stella Top Pattern Review:

    The Sewing Workshop Stella Top, available in our shop here, can be made out of knit or woven fabric. Bonnie's pink fabric is a two-way stretch,  so we think it's perfect for a pattern drafted for both knits and wovens. A four-way stretch fabric would likely lead to an overly large Stella Top.

    Bonnie lengthened the pattern to make it more of a tunic than a shirt, and she lengthened the sleeves. She warns that "wrist length" sleeves are shorter than long sleeves -- be sure to check the sleeve length before you cut out your fabric.

    Conclusion:

    Bonnie loves the pattern, and we love it on her! She especially liked the flat-felled seam and the neck cowl. She also created cuffs for the hems to showcase the wrong side of the pink bamboo knit fabric. Not much of the wrong side shows on the cowl.

    buy-the-fabric-stella buy-the-pattern-stella

  • The Sewing Workshop Liberty Shirt in Beige Woven Striped Fabric

    Front of Bonnie's Sewing Workshop Liberty Shirt Front of Bonnie's Sewing Workshop Liberty Shirt in Beige Woven Striped Fabric

     

    Closeup of Bonnie's Sewing Workshop Liberty Shirt in Beige Woven Striped Fabric Closeup of Bonnie's Sewing Workshop Liberty Shirt in Beige Woven Striped Fabric

    Sewing Workshop Liberty Shirt in Beige Woven Striped Fabric Pattern Review:

    Bonnie created a lovely Sewing Workshop Liberty Shirt in our beige woven striped fabric. The Liberty Shirt is one of Kate’s favorite patterns, and many of our customers love it! Now Bonnie is a convert, too. She really liked the French seams and the clean-finished mitered corners. She also loved the unique, slightly ruffled collar, and how the diagonal lines enhance striped fabrics.

    The Liberty Shirt can be a flowy shirt, a jacket, or even a vest. As with all Sewing Workshop patterns, it is impeccably drafted. It also runs a little large.

    We all love Bonnie's fabric choice -- the striped woven was easy to sew with, and it created a hefty-yet-flowy jacket.

    Bonnie made a size medium. She liked the fit everywhere but the shoulders. She was surprised that the shoulder seams extended beyond the end of her shoulders, so she pivoted the armscye 1.5 inches, making the top of the armscye land at the point where her shoulder meets her arm. Kate doesn’t mind that the shoulder seam extends a little past the end of her shoulders. Just be aware that you may want to move the shoulder seams a bit. Bonnie also shortened the sleeves by 1.5 inches, while Kate lengthened them by 2 inches (yes, she's tall).

    Our Conclusion:

    Bonnie would definitely make this shirt again, and Kate has already made three of them (all in size large)!

    Front of Liberty Shirt in Brussels Washer Linen The Sewing Workshop Liberty Shirt in Brussels Washer Linen

    Back of the Liberty Shirt in Brussels Washer Linen Back of Kate in her Sewing Workshop Liberty Shirt in Brussels Washer Linen

    buy-the-fabric-liberty-shirt buy-the-pattern-liberty-shirt

  • A Tale of Two FBAs

    Jalie Dolman Sleeve Top with cheater FBA Jalie Dolman Sleeve Top with cheater FBA

    Even though I am a certified Palmer/Pletch Fit instructor, I am also a certified shortcut-taker. I know the correct way to alter a pattern to fit, but I my brain automatically tries to find a faster way. And, owning a shop and setting up a website keep me busy, so I’m always doing everything at the last minute.

    As I prepared to teach a Sewing with Knits class, using the Jalie Dolman Top pattern, I felt too rushed to do a proper full-bust adjustment. I also wanted to give my students an easy alternative to an involved full-bust adjustment.

    Noticing that the center front of the shirt is on the fold, and the Jalie pattern drafters moved the center front farther and farther out as the size increased, I decided to cut out the size based on my high bust measurement, but add fabric at the center front by cutting the center front on the size that fit my full bust. I then cut out the top in our lovely rayon/poly stripe knit in black and cobalt.

    I hemmed the neckline, instead of binding it, and added sleeves. I love it. The back fits well, and the deeper, wider neckline formed by cutting a larger size at the center front is cute and flattering.

    I like a wide neckline... I like a wide neckline...

    Then I taught the class again. Only two students signed up, and I knew they would both benefit from a full-bust adjustment. I was curious how a true FBA would compare to my cheater FBA, so before the class, I altered the pattern using the Palmer/Pletsch Knit for Real People book, and here is the result. I used Riley Blake’s Four Corners Knit in Black. I bound the neck, which raised the neckline a little, but as you can see, the two methods created two very different looks.

    The high neckline is maintained with a traditional Full Bust Adjustment The high neckline is maintained with a traditional Full Bust Adjustment

    _B9B0511

    So, if you love the neckline on a pattern, do a traditional full-bust-adjustment, as described in Fit for Real People and Knits for Real People, but if you want a wider neckline, just add fabric to the center front. That’s why we love sewing. Everything is custom, just for us!

  • New Favorite T-Shirt Pattern

    I have a new front-runner in my never-ending search for a flattering t-shirt pattern. What am I looking for in a t-shirt pattern? I'm looking for a top that minimizes my bust, and makes me look slim without clinging. Welcome to my life, Jalie 2682.

    I'll be carrying Jalie patterns on The Confident Stitch website SOON! As I mentioned in my yoga pant post, Jalie is a Canadian company that makes great patterns for regular clothes. I love them, my 20-something daughters love them, and they come in small children's sizes, too. 

    I have made two versions of this V-Neck top. The first version was crafted out of an awesome soy knit. Soy knits feel like bamboo, but they don't pill as much. Yes, they'll be available in the shop! I can't show you the first version, because my 23-year-old daughter snagged it on her last visit home: "Oooh, Mom, this shirt is so flattering on me. Can I have it? Thanks." In case you're not the mother of girls, the previous quote can be interpreted as HIGH PRAISE.

    This second version is made of an Art Gallery cotton/spandex knit. The fabric, and many more Art Gallery cotton knits will be available in the shop. The only alteration I made was to lower the underbust seam by one inch so that it would actually go under my bust, and not across the apex. I wish I had done a more traditional full-bust-adjustment because there is some pulling at the front underarm seam. Next time, I will do a complete FBA and show you how I did it. The v-neck and shawl collar are created ingeneously, so the FBA will be a little tricky.

    Andrea Jones did not move to Missoula with me, so we all have to put up with my fiance's Andrea Jones did not move to Missoula with me, so we all have to put up with my fiance's "artistic" sense. Gotta love the tree in the eye.

    In this side view, you can see that I need a little more fabric across the bust so the armseye will lay flat against my body. In this side view, you can see that I need a little more fabric across the bust so the armseye will lay flat against my body.

    In addition to constantly searching for the perfect t-shirt, I am always looking for the best way to hem clothes. There are so many options! This top called for simple, single-turned hems for the bottom and the armholes. I decided to use 1/2" SewkeysE double-sided fusible stay tape to hold the hems in place before I stitched them. The tape is extremely fine and pliable. I pressed one side of the tape to the edges of the hems, turned and pressed the hems, removed the paper backing on the stay tape, and re-pressed the hems. (notice the all-important hyphen. No one wants a "repressed" hem.) The stay tape held the hems perfectly in place for stitching -- no bubbling or shifting.

    Emma Seabrooke has a huge variety of stay tapes, all of which help with sewing knits. Emma Seabrooke has a huge variety of stay tapes, all of which help with sewing knits.

    I also used my new seam allowance guide that screws onto my sewing machine. Pushing the fabric against the blade of the guide ensured the zigzag stitching was even on the right side of the garment, and the stitches caught the fold on the wrong side of the fabric. The stay tape and the guide made the hems so nice and easy. Double score -- great t-shirt pattern + great hemming method!

    Extra precision with the seam guide! Extra precision with the seam guide!

  • Another Liberty Shirt

    I have a few "tried and true" (TNT) patterns, and The Sewing Workshop's Liberty Shirt is one of them. Not only is the shirt well drafted with interesting details, but Linda Lee also guides us through its construction in her Sewing with Silks Craftsy class, a GREAT class. I have made this shirt in a stiff silk from China, and in a lightweight rayon. Today's version is made of Robert Kaufman's Brussels Washer Linen in yarn-dyed red. Brussels Washer is 55 percent linen and 45 percent rayon. It's washable and dry-able, but it does shrink. My Merchant and Mills Factory Girl Dress is also made with Brussels Washer Linen, and I have washed and dried it many many times. I wish I could claim that the rayon keeps the fabric from wrinkling, but you can tell from the photos that it does not. 

    I love the diagonal side seam. Photo by Andrea Jones. I love the diagonal side seam. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    The only alteration I made to this pattern was lengthening the sleeves. Looking at the photo below, I think I should do a small Full Bust Adjustment. The buttons across my bust are gaping a little. Or, perhaps I just need to make sure a button is located at my bust point (much easier!).

    There is no actual princess seam. The shirt has a top-stitched facing. The diagonal side seam makes the front appear narrower. Photo by Andrea Jones. There is no actual princess seam. The shirt has a top-stitched facing. The diagonal side seam makes the front appear narrower. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    Because this was the third time I made this shirt, it came together quickly and smoothly. I cut and mostly sewed it at the sewing retreat I attended in March. It was a great antidote to my struggles with fitting the J Jeans.

    The diagonal side seam makes the back a little flowy. Photo by Andrea Jones. The diagonal side seam makes the back a little flowy. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    I don't consciously put patterns on my TNT list, or plan to make multiples of them, it just happens. I'm sure it will happen again with this one. I think my next Liberty Shirt will be a lightweight, drapey fabric. Perhaps even silk! 

    Do you have TNT patterns? Do you love how quickly the go together?

  • Ivy #2

    I had so much fun making my first Sewing Workshop Ivy Top, I whipped up a second one. The Sewing Workshop patterns are perfect candidates for playing with fabric. They are all impeccably drafted, and they aren't overly fitted, so you don't need to fuss with tweaking the fit. With three different knits, the fabric combination options for this top are endless. 

    This top works great with a variety of knit weights. The black and gray stripe is a bamboo ponte, the pink is a mid-weight rayon knit, and the gray is a tissue-weight bamboo. Photo by Andrea Jones. This top works great with a variety of knit weights. The black and gray stripe is a bamboo ponte, the pink is a mid-weight rayon knit, and the gray is a tissue-weight bamboo. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    The back. The tissue-weight bamboo wrinkles in the wind!. Photo by Andrea Jones. The back. The tissue-weight bamboo wrinkles in the wind!. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    Close-up of the three fabrics. Photo by Andrea Jones. Close-up of the three fabrics. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    The left sleeve has a triangle insert at the elbow, adding even more interest to the top. Photo by Andrea Jones. The left sleeve has a triangle insert at the elbow, adding even more interest to the top. Photo by Andrea Jones.

  • Hello Ivy!

    One of the many highlights of my trip to Quilt Market in Seattle was seeing Linda Lee, owner of The Sewing Workshop, wearing her Ivy Tunic both days. She looked so chic and slim. I had to buy the pattern and make one (okay, two) as soon as I got home. This is version #1. 

    Front of Ivy Tunic. Photo by Andrea Jones. Front of Ivy Tunic. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    The Ivy can be made with three different knits, but this time I decided to use just two. Both fabrics are bamboo knits (purchased at Fabric Depot in Portland, Oregon). The black and gray stripe is a ponte-weight super stable fabric. The teal and gray stripe is much lighter weight. You can see that I struggled a bit to make it lie nicely at the bottom hem.

    Back of Ivy Tunic. Photo by Andrea Jones. Back of Ivy Tunic. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    I love this tunic. Like all Sewing Workshop patterns, I didn't need to make any alterations to the main bodice. I wish I had lengthened it for my six-feet-tall frame, though. It looked more like a dress on Linda. A friend at work made herself one, and felt it was too long....You may want to make a quick muslin to check the length on your frame...

    Closeup of the different sleeves. Photo by Andrea Jones. Closeup of the different sleeves. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    One sleeve has a cool inset at the bottom, and the other just has a contrasting cuff.

    Mitered corner (after a few washings). Photo by moi. Mitered corner (after a few washings). Photo by moi.

    One of Linda Lee's many specialties is the mitered corner. She has a great method that works every time, even on non-traditional angles and fabrics. She includes the instructions in all of her patterns, and demonstrates them in her Craftsy classes. I would never have tried a mitered corner in a thin, drapey knit like this bamboo without Linda's guidance. You can leave the bottom hems raw on this tunic, but nice miters were so tempting, I had to try them. I can't wait to dream up more fun fabric combos for my new friend Ivy!

  • Wrap Top 2 Ways

    What did we do before "What Not to Wear"? When the original What Not to Wear book by Trinny and Susannah first came out 10 years ago, I gobbled it up. I loved learning why things looked good (or bad) on me. If you also gobbled up the book, you know what kind of top minimizes a big bust: something that either "wraps" or "vees." I immediately gave away all of my high-necked tops to smaller-busted friends and began my quest for V-Neck and wrap tops that work for me.

    My shopping quest has morphed into a sewing quest. My most recent attempt is McCall's 6513, a Palmer/Pletsch design with alteration lines included. The pattern pieces are strange looking, so the lines are particularly helpful. 

    Wrap top version 1 in an ITY knit from Mill End in Portland, Oregon. Photo by Andrea Jones. Wrap top version 1 in an ITY knit from Mill End in Portland, Oregon. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    I did a 1.5" full-bust adjustment, and added darts, which I think made the shirt too roomy. I'm tempted to try sewing up a straight size 16 and see what it looks like. I have some great white modal knit from Dharma Trading Company. I think I'll sew up the top in the modal and dye it if it fits. Stay tuned.

    The top in stretch linen from The Fabric Depot in Portland, Oregon. Photo by Andrea Jones. The top in stretch linen from The Fabric Depot in Portland, Oregon. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    My rather large full-bust adjustment on the rather strange front pattern piece. My rather large full-bust adjustment on the rather strange front pattern piece.

    McCall's 6513 is a well-drafted pattern with great instructions written by Pati Palmer. There are some tricky bits, so I don't recommend it as a first knit top. It's a wonderful second or third knit project, though. What do you think, should I try it without an FBA?

  • A J Stern Tee makes a very good yoga top

    My favorite line in the children's book, Eloise, is, "An egg cup makes a very good hat."

    Why does a J Stern Tee make a very good yoga top? It isn't so loose that it pools around my neck when I touch my toes; It isn't so low that it exposes my cleavage when I lean forward; It moves with me without clinging. In other words, I need a top that is tight enough to stay in place, but isn't too revealing or constricting. I decided to make a sleeveless J Stern Tee in a striped bamboo knit to see how it worked. It worked great! I didn't finish the edges, so sewing up the shirt was super fast. Thank you, Jennifer: An egg cup makes a very good hat, and your tee shirt makes a very good yoga top.

    I love the different directions of the larger stripes. Photo by Andrea Jones. I love the different directions of the larger stripes. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    The bamboo jersey is beefy enough to hide lumps and bumps. Photo by Andrea Jones. The bamboo jersey is beefy enough to hide lumps and bumps. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    It's also the perfect length. Photo by Andrea Jones. It's also the perfect length. Photo by Andrea Jones.

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