B5011-frontWay back in September of last year, I sewed View A of this pattern, and while it was cute, and I loved my fabric, it had a horrible saggy back which I now think the only way to fix it is to tear it down, interface the back panel, and add elastic inside of the panels. Its just not a good top for me, and I don’t think my fabric choice had much to do with it. :getlost:

Our friends Tracy and David are having a BBQ next weekend and Tracy suggested attire or bad Hawaiian shirts and the like. I decided I’d go with the Hawaiian theme, but I was going to make an awesome shirt, not a horrible one. I had this absolutely beautiful red and white hibiscus flower fabric in my stash, but after washing it, there was barely 1 2/3 yards of it, so I knew that would limit what I could use it for. I actually got this fabric back in about 1994 while shopping at Joann’s with my grandmother and intended to make a dress with it. I still have that dress pattern, but there’s no way I’m going to see my 12 or 13 years old body again. :tongue:

Butterick 5011 View B of this pattern was my one top pattern that used the least amount of fabric, and the only reason I was able to cut all the pieces for this was because the print is largely non-directional, so I could place the pieces any way they would fit. Even so, it was a close thing. I cut all the pieces yesterday, making it a size smaller than when I sewed view A, and today I spent about two hours actually stitching it up.
The only pace I wandered from the directions was where it said to slipstitch the opening left in the shoulder strap after stitching the tops of the straps together. I busted out my best matchy-matchy thread and just turned the edges in and top stitched it there. I though about top stitching the whole thing but really the thread match is good enough its barely noticeable.

 

If I make this pattern again, I will be leaving out the waist ties. I get that they are there to give the garment some shape as it has to be loose to get it on as its a woven, but they’re kind of annoying and honestly I can’t decide if I should tie them in the front or the back, wrap them all the way around me, or not.

B5011-back

 

Other then the weirdness of the waist ties, the pattern envelope did not lie- this top is super easy to sew.

If you haven’t read the previous post, go back here to catch up. There’s a nice close-up of the fabric in that post too. 8)

I headed out to my craft room after doing the grocery shopping today and got to work on this hoping to finish it today. I followed the directions almost exactly, except where the upper part meets the lower, I used a French seam to hide the raw edges. Everything seemed to be going along nicely, until I tried it on. The back gaped something awful. There was at least 3 1/2 inches of extra fabric back there, even though I had been super careful in cutting everything and had taken my measurements just a days before.

I didn’t want to completely deconstruct the top (those French seams take time to pick out) so instead I ripped out the seam connecting the top to the bottom in an area in the center back about 6 inches wide. I already knew how much needed to come out of the back, and had pinned up the excess and was still able to pull it on and off easily, so I went ahead and cut the excess off from the upper back panel. Then using a French seam, I connected the two sides again.

That left me with a few extra inches of fabric in the bottom portion, and since I hate gathering, I made four tiny pleats to take up the excess and stitched the top and bottom halves together again. The result was very nice, no ugly spots, and it went smoothly. I still think the back sits too low, and if I make it again I’ll use interfacing in the back panel to stiffen it up a bit, but overall this was a quick and easy pattern to do and it turned out really well.
yellowtopside
Sashi says she approves of my new top, though she’d much rather be digging a hole in one of the flower beds.

yellowtopfront

I think the bust could have been a little roomier, but for women who aren’t big on top, its probably just about right.

yellowtopback

The back still sits low, but nowhere near like it did before, and the gape is gone! Success!

I would definitely make this again in the future when I need another cute halter top, or I may try the tank top version instead next time.

I started washing all my cotton fabrics in my bins today, which while the first load was half actual laundry, the next two were fabric only. After it was washed and dried, I measured each piece, refolding it, and then pinning a note onto it so I know how much is there at a glance later. Part of my problem with the fabric I do have is not knowing how much is actually there. If its all clearly labeled, I have no excuses for not being able to put a piece to good use, and I’ll hopefully be doing less buying of cuts I don’t really need. I got it done today but it was tough as its hot back there in my craft room and there was a lot of fabric to fold and measure. The plus side is some of the pieces were still sealed in plastic and clearly marked as to how much fabric was there, so I saved the labels and just pinned them back on the cuts afterwards. Of course they all need a good ironing, but I’ll worry about that as it comes up.

While I was folding and measuring all that fabric, I found a dress my grandmother had started making many years ago. Most of the dress is sewn together, but it doesn’t have any facings or a zipper. I wasn’t sure what to do with it right now so I just folded it up and placed in in the drawer next to the pink dress she cut but never sewed together. I still haven’t looked to see what is there or not there in that one- I was about to use the fabric for something ages ago, and when I pulled out the pin holding it into a roll, I realized it already was something.

Anyway, I’ve now got two drawers full of cotton prints, one full of cotton solids, one drawer full of knits, one drawer full of flannel, and one drawer with some specialty fabrics and several colors of satin.

I have also been poking around on eBay looking at large lots of vintage patterns. I found one lot that had quite a few I liked it in, but the largest sizes were two or three sizes below me at this point, especially considering older pattern sizing runs smaller then modern sizing does. I did make a bid, but walked away after making one last one about a minute before the auction closed. The final bid was $13.00 above my last bid. I’m kind of glad I missed out on it, though part of me wonders if I couldn’t have resold most of them later if they were in good condition.

After that I found a lot that had 41 recent patterns in it. There was a buy it now option on it, and the price wasn’t bad at all. It was actually a good mix of patterns, many of which are in my size and are something I’d like to make. Almost all of the patterns are new and uncut as well. This is the breakdown of the patterns in the lot. They’re all Butterick, McCall’s, and Simplicity patterns.

Will fit now (20 patterns)

  • B4929, B5315, B5455, B5491, ^B5638, B5641, ^B5662,
  • M6116, M6321, M6349, M6518, M5855, M5932, M6318,
  • S2355, S2359, S2365, S2694, S2966, S4080

Will fit when I drop 1 to 2 sizes (4 patterns)

  • M5006, M5400, M5525
  • S2338,

One size patterns, mostly accessories (6 patterns)

  • M6523, *M6090, *M6089, M6045, *M6047,
  • *S2273, S2274

Stuff I’ll probably never use (due to either small size of being children’s patterns) (10 patterns)

  • MP367, M5382, *M6326, *M6118,
  • +B4790, B5555,
  • S2941, S2561, S2692, S2364

The pattern numbers marked with:

  • * Already cut
  • ^ On my favorites list, I was already going to buy these
  • + already own it

Even if I only use 15 of these patterns, I still paid under $4.00 each for them and I can always sell the really small ones. I’m probably never going to fit into a pattern size 12. That’s about a 34″ bust and a 26″ waist. Tiny!

After spending all day washing, drying, measuring, and folding fabric (imagine folding your laundry for 3 or 4 hours, it wasn’t the most fun way to spend an afternoon) I wasn’t sure I wanted to actually do any sewing. I was instantly burned out on the idea of even touching fabric, let alone laying it out, cutting it, and pinning it to sew. That didn’t last long though and by about 8pm I was back in my craft room looking at what cuts of fabric I had enough of to make Butterick 5011’s view A. While the gingham I planned to use was an okay choice, it wasn’t really what I wanted. I ended up finding this cut almost on the top of the first drawer I looked in.

strawberries

 

This cheerful fabric is a cut my mom bought when I was a little girl, and I think I remember having a shirt or maybe some overalls in this print when I was about 4. The yellow is pretty bright but the red strawberries and blue stars actually tone it down a little so its manageable. I cut out all the pieces, one of which I had to go back to cut after I started sewing because I forgot it the first time, made the ties, stitched the back to the fronts, did the same to the facing pieces, and stitched the facing onto the outer part. I turned it but I didn’t understitch it yet. I’ll do that tomorrow. So far the only modification I’ve made to the pattern was the ties- instead of stitching down one side and then turning them, I folded the edges to the center, folded it in half, and stitched down the edge. Its so much easier then trying to turn a narrow tube (I know, there’s lots of tricks to do it easily but its something that frustrates me like crazy) and the ties sit flatter that way too.

I am so glad I picked up my Reader Digest sewing book a few weeks ago when I was out at my mom’s. That book is excellent for explaining what different terms mean and giving good detail as to how you actually do them. We had to buy the book as part of our class materials when I took a sewing class several years ago, and it has proven useful over and over.

Anyway, that’s all for tonight. Tomorrow I should have quite a bit more done and something to actually show you. Maybe I’ll even finish it.

b5011My next project will be Butterick 5011, view A. The only difference between the two of them is one is a tank top style (B) and the other is a halter neck (A). The fabric I’m using is a red and white vintage gingham that either came out of my Mom’s fabric stash from when I was a small child, or out of my grandmother’s fabric stash, which was from the 60’s and previous. I’ve actually got quite a bit of vintage fabrics in my stash, and am looking forward to giving them a life besides just sitting in my drawers. Anyway, the pattern pieces are cut and tomorrow I will pre-wash the fabric just to be sure. There are zero frayed edges on this stuff so I don’t think its been washed yet even though its probably older than I am.

I also received the stackable drawer units I ordered from Amazon thinking (wrongly) that my patterns would fit inside them. I was going to refuse the package at first and just send them back once I realized (too late) that they wouldn’t work for what I wanted them for. Then I realized they were pretty much perfect for storing my smaller cuts of cotton fabrics (and larger scraps) sorted more or less by color. I’ve got reds and pinks, yellows oranges and browns, greens, blues, purples, and black and whites.

I’m thinking about using some of the smaller pieces to practice making quilt blocks with so when my fabric order with my quilt picks comes in, I can be ready to start making the blocks for it.

Well, that’s all for now. Tomorrow, after I wash a drawer full of fabrics, I’ll hopefully get started on the cutting and sewing of the new top, and hopefully it turns out cute with no weirdness like that dress had.