Sunday, 10 June 2012

Knit tops. Vogue 8634 and Knit & Sew 110B

There are many people who are extremely good at sewing knits and frequently say things such as "They are so quick and easy", "I made this top in half an hour" and "I just whipped this up on my overlocker".
I am not usually one of those people.
However, today, I can show you this headless photograph and write. "I made this top in less than 2 hours"
Unfortunately, although this statement is true, it is not precisely the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
The full story goes something like this:
With colder weather setting in,  I had noticed a lack of long sleeved knit tops in my wardrobe. Naturally I needed to remedy this with a new pattern, having become a little bored with my tried and true Burda long sleeved t shirt with scoop neck at different heights. When it comes to sewing, I am fickle.
I looked at all my patterns and Burdas, then looked at a few hundred blogs. My research is thorough.
I fancied Elizabeth's and Janis' cowl neck tops.
I was very lucky, and received an email from the Remnant Warehouse about a $12 Vogue sale, and ordered the pattern, Vogue 8634.
SAM_1423 With quite incredible service, despite the pattern being on deep discount (for Australia) the postage was free. (Just to compare, the BMV postage for one pattern is $ US15 to Australia, so this beat buying overseas for once)
I sewed up version one of this pattern, in the size M, into which my high bust measurement placed me.
This is version one with 5cm removed from each side seam.
I thought this was not too bad a fit, despite my 1.2m of hideously expensive poly knit from Kerryn's fabric world not being sufficient fabric to give me a proper cowl neck nor to cut the upper bodice in one piece. (I was glad to get rid of this fabric - Kerryn is a very good saleswoman, much to the development of my "what was I thinking" fabric stash).
So I made version 2 in some pleasantly stable cotton/lycra knit from stretchtex, using only my overlocker and cover stitch.
I decided that the fit was too big around the neck, despite my side seam changes and square shoulder adjustment.
I thought another pattern might be better. Here is a Knit and Stretch pattern from the op shop for 50c in the same cotton/lycra knit.
I didn't fancy the neckline on this at all.
The instructions had you stitch the self facing to the seam line which looked quite horrid on the right side.
 and the fit through the body was boxy until I took it in about 7cm.  I will use this as a pyjama top.
Back to Vogue 8634, with square shoulder adjustment, cheating FBA (bump out at the side seams at the bust) and in the size Small (Ha, ha) in the same cotton/lycra knit in a different colour. (Vogue describes the top as close fitting, which gives 0-2 7/8"ease according to their fitting information, and this pattern in knit has 2+" ease at the bust for size 12, which I would consider on the high side for a knit top, and is not terribly close fitting IMO, naturally this is compounded by size M having to cover both size 12 and size 14)
I was pretty happy with this.
Naturally, it then looked quite  different in version 4, in merino rib knit, with elastic in all the seams, and sewn on a conventional machine. It only took 2 hours or so.....


Gail said...

The merino knits perform so well don't they. I love this cowl pattern - I like it so much more than the cowl tshirt pattern I ordered. Love the teal colour ...perfect for you.

shams said...

Interesting to read your process and the various patterns you tried. That teal cowl top is really cute on you and so flattering!

SewRuthie said...

Lol! None of this is encouraging me to stray away from by TNT at all, despite it being rather tattered now.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad to know that I'm not the only one who can't manage to "whip something up" in a couple of hours. I've decided that other seamstresses just lose all track of time and just think that they've only spent a couple of hours on something when they've really spent 5 hours. ;-)

Now you've got several cute variations to wear, so you've gotta be pretty happy right about now. :-)

Little Hunting Creek said...

Don't be discouraged-it takes me forever to sew something. Those supersonic sewists must not be keeping accurate track of their work time. Your teal top is very pretty

Diana said...

Lovely tops all especially the teal one. I absolutely can't finish anything that fast. Actually I enjoy taking my time.

Mary Nanna said...

I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who takes their time sewing knits (I uusually span a good couple of afternoons)

You mention using elastic in the seams with the merino - can you explain this process?

I have trouble with the 'spongey' nature of merino knits and wondered if you did this to stabilise them.

katherine h said...

You have brought this to life...the line drawings of this pattern did not appeal to me, but I really like yours made up.

KID, MD said...

Lovely! That knit is just gorgeous. It just glows on my monitor and I want to pet it. Fabulous top!

Sharon said...

Really love your teal top and interesting how the others worked out with the different fabrics. Now that many tops in 2 hours, not fair.

kbenco said...

Ah, no, the teal top alone took about 2 hours, and only after I had done all the tweaking in the construction of the previous 3 versions! This is two days of long weekend sewing ;) I find knits quite difficult.

fabric epiphanies said...

Your cowl tops are lovely, this pattern suits you.

velosewer said...

You did pick a good pattern to tweak. The teal top works well on you.

The Slapdash Sewist said...

Hee, very amusing story. Only two hours! The final result, however, is really great. Stay warm!

Audrey said...

Interesting top fitting trials and tribulations. But I think you definitely have a winner now, one that you can whip up no time.

Janine said...

lol - only 2 hours. Don`t worry I am with you - my last knit top took a week and alot longer than 2 hours . However it was worth taking those ` 2 hours` to get your finished blue tops - they look very snuggly and comfy and yes those blues do really glow.

Joy said...

The end result looks effortless (: I guess we often end up putting in a lot of effort to get the effortless look.

I do like all versions of the top. The large cowl is very nice.

Scruffybadger said...

I do think there is a road to finding the knit top that works for you & whilst they are quick to make, it's not always to a perfect result - but I think yours was a good journey - there are some lovely styles there, & the cowl neck is a winner in my book - I love it!

Carolyn said...

I think "whipping up" a few stretch knit tops is only an achievable feat after a few hours of intense and potentially frustrating experimentation with fitting.... you've done a superb job with the vogue pattern and I just love the cowl neck. Very flattering and a lovely style.

Bernice said...

I struggle with knits too and am definitely not one of those people who find them quick and easy. They're so unpredictable and difficult to finish. I love your top photo. I think the colour looks lovely against your skin tone. I've just made a short-sleeved teal cowl-neck top. I'd love a long sleeved one like yours.