V9193 top — Revised!

Okay, this is what the top looked like last week when I made it.


Thank you to those who were kind enough to let me know it was pretty awful, as I myself suspected. I was curious to see how the top compared to a drop-sleeve top, like the Grainline Hemlock, so I laid a hemlock t-shirt on top of the V9193.


The only difference was a fair bit of extra fabric under the arms of the V9193. I resewed it, matching the line of the Hemlock.

Then I spent a lovely evening unpicking the stand-up collar, and broke the line of the outer sleeve seam that extended from the neck to the wrist. I did this by taking in the seam half an inch (both front and back) at the neckline, and then grading back to the original seam line over 5 inches. So there was then a little bend in the seam line. That little bend opened up space for my rather broad and boney shoulders.

Then I opened up the collar fold, and sewed the thing back, intending to use it as a facing. I haven’t sewn it down yet, because I kind of like how it just flops around now.

Then I threw the whole thing into a dye bath made of a little plastic baggie of Deka dye chrystals that I must have bought back in the late 1980’s. I added a generous dollop of vinegar, and left the sweater in the dye for about three hours. Then I rolled it in a towel to soak up most of the moisture, and laid it on another towel to dry overnight.

Here’s the result.



So how do you like my jewel-tone top? I have to say I’m pretty darned happy.

If I make this again, and I may, I would use the sleeveless version, and adapt a sleeve from another top. I think this works perfectly fine now that I’ve taken in the underarm, but the structure of an actual armhole would probably be better. I would also add 2 – 4 inches to the top pieces to lower the waist seam down to hip level, and lengthen the whole thing to a long tunic/short dress length. What do you think?



Ups and downs

Well, it’s been a pretty tumultous time here, what with the onslaught of the rainy season, my first bad cold in years, and an attempted cyber robbery. Let’s see if I can string words together in any meaningful way for a post about learning to serge, and about an outfit that I half like and half don’t.

I bought Vogue 9193 after seeing a totally terrific outfit Ruth of Core Couture made using that pattern, as well as some others. I have to mention that when I looked at the pictures on the pattern envelope, I did raise both eyebrows and scratch my head. Perplexed? Yes. The pictures are not at all attractive. So I looked at the line drawings, and saw some interesting things. I decided to go ahead.

I had some grey merino wool jersey that I wanted to use. And a scrap of purple wool that I thought I could mix in to give it a bit of colour. I don’t love this top.


I guess what I mostly don’t like about it is the batwing sleeves. I never did like batwings, but I’ve made tops now with such drop shoulders, that they actually have the same profile as batwings. So I thought it was worth a try. Would I like this if there were shoulder seams partly down my arms? I really don’t know. I like the angled seam at the waist and the droopy pocket, which you’d think would give it a funky look, right? It doesn’t. I really don’t like the neckline. Even in purple. Would it be better if I replaced the little stand up collar with an ordinary t-shirt binding? I think this top is too conservative for my taste, although I’m not entirely sure what makes it conservative. All I can say is that it will be useful for the winter. But what  a waste of a beautiful fabric.

While I was working on it, I finally had the free serger lesson I was entitled to at the store that sold me the machine back in the summer. Thus far, I had been sewing everything with my sewing machine, and then serging the seam allowances. For knit fabrics that’s too much work, and the manager of the serger store explained that it was silly to remove stretch by sewing a straight stitch seam, and then add stretch again by serging the allowance. She helped me figure out how to measure for a 5/8″ seam allowance. No clear markings on the machine for that. So I sewed this top together first with a long basting stitch and then tried to serge right on top of it. That was okay, but it struck me that I really should use a 3/8″ seam allowance. So I interrupted my work to whip up a few lounge items, using just the serger, for practice.


Two long-sleeved t-shirts and one pair of leggings. These are TNT patterns that don’t have seam allowances included.  I couldn’t bring myself to serge the sleeve-into-body seam. Gosh, is there a word for that?? They’re set-in sleeves. Does anybody serge them? Is it safe?

I love that grey fabric. It has some spandex, but not too much vertical stretch. I already have a pair of loose elastic-waist pants that I made last spring. I think I should have bought the whole bolt of fabric. I could make lounge wear, t-shirts and undies out of it forever. The orange is what they call a technical wool. Very soft and lightweight. They were practically giving it away at Our Social Fabric for halloween costumes.

So then I was ready to make the pants that came with the Vogue pattern. I have to warn you, these are a utility pant and so, not conventionally beautiful. But I like them a lot. Have a look.



I really like the horizontal seam at the hip, with the two front pockets. The fabric is a poly/wool suiting fabric. The colour is, um, a version of khaki, right? I’m calling it “poop khaki”, but that’s not a terribly polite name for it. Anybody have a better one?

The side seam on these pants is around back, rather than right at the seam, and the legs curve in a bit near the bottom. I think these are pretty funky pants, although I’m wracking my brain trying to come up with some other small design detail that I could add to nail home the funk factor. Maybe a thigh pocket that comes out of the side seam? Or a fabric loop emerging from the hip seam?

I plan to make these again, and next time I’ll lower the waist a bit, and increase the dip from back to front. And add some funky little detail if I can think of one.