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 whatย  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.ย  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.


12 thoughts on “Ups and downs”

  1. Love your khaki trousers!

    With the first top I wonder if the issue is that the shade of grey isn’t quite right for you? It looks quite cool and bluey in the photo and the other grey fabric seems a warmer shade. But screen colours can be very misleading so I may be totally wrong!


    1. I think you may be right about the colour, even though I’ve been under the impression that all greys suit me. This one is actually a little bit browny. I’m making some changes and may post an update. I’d kind of like to throw the whole thing in a red dye bath too… Glad you like the trousers ๐Ÿ™‚


  2. I’m inclined to agree that the first top does you no favours. I can’t quite work out what it is that isn’t working, but it just doesn’t seem to have enough of a defined shape. Everything else is a hit, the khaki trousers especially nice.


    1. Exactly, Jay, it doesn’t have enough definition in the shape. I’m making some changes to it and may post an update. I think I can improve it enough to wear it. Glad you like the trousers, thanks! And nice to see you back.


  3. Hi! Sorry about your cold, and hope you’re feeling better. Very sorry to hear about the cyber prob & hope it’s resolution is imminent, if not already accomplished.
    I’ve got this pattern, too, but haven’t done anything with it yet. Looking at your version, I’d agree with Catherine about colour, particularly of the collar. Got anything lighter? Or a bit more of the same fabric?
    Then it seems as if the lower sleeve is coming into the body of the blouse much lower than the drawing appears. Raising it if you make it again might help. Also, the seam where the lower bodice pocket is attached is distracting. Would it be possible to lower the top portion and make the pocket section smaller if-there-is-a-next-time?
    Am storing all this away for when I give this a go. (Although I was planning on the sleeveless version.)
    But thinking about sleeves… Yes, it’s safe to serge the sleeve into the bodice as long as there aren’t any tremendous issues like tucks or pleats or gathers that have you worried. Then I’d baste with regular machine and serge close to that seam… or maybe just leave it. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Arm hole seams for many (most?) knit tops are easy to serge.
    Hope this helps and you don’t give up too soon on this one.
    Your other combinations are spot on!


    1. Thanks for all of this Del. It was a long post to read. I’ll take a deep breath and try serging an armhole next time. So you don’t like the purple? I have to agree. I’m making some alterations and just spent the evening unpicking the collar. Oh joy. I like your idea about lowering the waist seam. I’m thinking that if I were to make this again, I would use the sleeveless version, and make a sleeve to fit into it. And drop the waist seam to about hip level. And make the whole thing longer. And I would make it a size smaller (I made the size 16). It might work. Good luck with yours, when you get to it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ooooo, love all your ideas and will grab my pattern and note them. Am so glad my comments didn’t offend you – the proportions just seemed off… and a smaller size will help everything! Already unpicked that collar!? Just something about it I don’t like, even in V’s photos…
        That waist seam at hip level would work… placing pocket at a far more normal & usable location.
        I don’t remember looking at the sleeve placements of the 2 versions – different, I take it. Hm. I’d suggest trying the sleeveless version on and checking for arm movement before spending gobs of time making a sleeve to fit.
        Oh! Think I remember someone saying they took the sleeve opening & arm from another similar pattern and grafted it onto the pattern they had problems with. Perhaps that would save you a batch of time. A-ha & hehe!
        I’ll remember that meself, and match knit2knit (or woven2woven) with the armhole/sleeve hack fabric.
        Not saying purple isn’t for you… just not right there, atop all the dark grey. (Gray? Never can keep that straight.)
        Sorry about your colder weather, just ship tons of it down here for us’uns! ๐ŸŽƒ


      2. Thanks for that tip about replacing both sleeve opening and sleeve. I remember reading that too somewhere, now that you mention it. We’ve had 26 days of rain, with 180 millimetres of it in October. Today is lovely and sunny though.


  4. Gosh, I don’t want to be the inspiration for something you don’t like much… but the trousers are great on you; you have a fab legs. Top No 1 is not too good but it’s probably the mix of fabrics rather than the pattern I think. If you could be bothered, rip off the bindings and replace with a similar weight/stretch fabric.
    This is your style – you look comfortable and great.


  5. One more thing. It’s my opinion that there are a lot of travel insurance web-sites of dependable companies than enable you to enter a trip details and get you the quotes. You can also purchase the particular international holiday insurance policy on the internet by using your own credit card. Everything you should do would be to enter your own travel particulars and you can be aware of the plans side-by-side. Merely find the program that suits your allowance and needs and after that use your credit card to buy that. Travel insurance on the web is a good way to search for a reliable company with regard to international travel cover. Thanks for sharing your ideas.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.