Itch to Stitch Bellavista Top

I participated in one last testing before I had to pack away my sewing machine for the move. It is the Bellavista Top from Itch-to-Stitch.  The Bellavista Top comes in a comfortable swing bodice with a center-front panel. It also comes with two neck options and two sleeve options. I choose the cowl neck and long sleeve version.

Bellavista Top

Fabric:

I had this sweater knit in my stash for years now, and I have often tried to figure out what to do with it. As it is really bulky it took up a lot of space in my stash and I wanted to get rid of it. I thought the Bellavista Top would be a good pattern for this fabric. And it is. the cowl turned out to be really big, but I like it. I am not sure about the fiber content of this fabric. From the feel I would say there is some poly in it and it is a bit scratchy, but I can wear it on my skin. I always thought I have a lot of this fabric (as I said, it took up a lot of space), but in the end I did have to piece the second cowl piece. The fabric width was not the usual 140 cm, but somewhat smaller. The good side is, that I do not have scraps left.

Bellavista Top

Alterations:

I sewed a size 4. This is one size bigger than usual, but the pattern calls for a 50% stretch knit fabric and my fabric is not that stretchy. I did not want to end up with a tight sweater in a thick fabric. As it turned out, this decision was the right one. Else I did not make any alterations. The fit is quite loose below the bust area.

Bellavista Top

Construction:

The Bellavista Top is an easy pattern. Due to the bulky fabric I serged each edge, sewed the seam on my usual sewing machine and pressed the seam open. I had tried before on a sample to serge both seam allowances together, but the result was a really stiff and bulky seam.

I found it unusaul that the cowl neck is a double layer, which means you have two identical pieces sewn together. This way you will never see a left side of fabric showing in case the cowl shifts during wear. I could have reduced a bit of the bulk and use a lighter weight knit for the inner cowl, but I decided against it. I did want to get rid of my fabric and I did want to have an oversized cowl.

Bellavista Top

Conclusion:

Easy to sew and easy to wear. Dependent of the fabric choice this top can have a lot of different looks. Check out the other testers’ versions. Due to the center front panel you can even create the illusion of wearing a cardigan over a top. I did not yet wear my Bellavista very often as it just wasn’t cold enough. But maybe winter is still coming.

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2017 Sewing Year in Review

A Happy New Year to all of you!

Hopefully you are not yet tired of reading “year in review” posts. I am a bit late, but due to our move I am still unpacking boxes and trying to get rid of the chaos. I had hoped to catch up and blog all projects from 2017, but this did not happen. Nevertheless I will include these in my review (and write a detailed post later).

In 2017, I made finished 17 garments and two bags. Compared to others, this is not much (I just read about a 100 items per year challenge…). But nearly everything I made is already loved so much that I do not know how I got along before. I count this as a good sign and I rather own less garments, but every one is a favorite, than producing a lot just for numbers (honestly, what am I supposed to do with 100 new garments?).

Like last year, picking my top five is not easy, but here we go:

From left to right:

The Lago Tank from Itch to Stitch turned out to be a great basic top for summer and also for layering.

My yogabag from Keko kreativ makes me so happy everytime I use it. I had procastinated sewing it quite long, and I also cursed a lot while sewing (bags are just not my favorite thing to sew), but now I am so happy I finally made it. I love the yellow lining so much.

The North Point Trousers from Itch to Stitch (not yet blogged) filled a big gap in my wardrobe. I had to do a lot of fitting alterations, and there still might be room for improvement, but they are wearable and very comfy due to the stretch fabric. I have already nearly finished a second pair.

When I made the Paro Cardigan from Itch to Stitch, I wasn’t sure if I would wear it often. It turned out that I can wear it with trousers, skirts and dresses, so a definitive win.

I made these Knot-Maste Yogapants from Fehr Trade begin of 2017 (and did not get around to blog about), and they immediately became my favorite pants to wear to my yoga classes. I plan on making a long version, too.

Now to the items not worn so much:

As you see, there are only three garments. I just was not able to choose another two. From left to right:

I just do not love the color combination of the Danielle Batwing Top from Sinclair patterns. This top was out of my comfort zone anyway, but it turned out that it is great for doing housework. Tthe fit is relaxed and comfy and allows a lot of movement, but the sleeves are tight so that they are not in the way.

I love how my Chai dress from Itch to Stich turned out, and as the fabric does not need ironing, it is easy to care for. Nevertheless, the waistband sits a bit too high for me to feel comfortable. Should I make this dress again, I will lower the waist by 1-2 cm.

The Anza dress is lovely to wear, but the fabric is rather thin, and at least this summer, there weren’t a lot of days warm enough for this dress. I once wore it with tights, but the fabric was clinging to them, so I will either line the dress or sew an underdress (which is on my to-sew list for a few years already).

Looking at my goals from last year, I was not so successful. I wanted:

Sew up as much of my UFOs as possible. I think I finished 1 UFO and produced some more. I need to improve here.

Work through some of my Craftsy classes. I watched 1 class, and browsed a bit through others, but I did not really work through a class. Instead, I bought some more, hm. I plan, however, to sew a lace skirt with the help of Susan Khaljes class “The couture lace skirt”. I already have all the fabric needed.

Participate in the 365 challenge Ok, I finished two months, but I did not expect to follow this challenge the whole year anyway.

Sewing Active Wear. I started with the Yoga pants and did not get around to sewing more.

Build my business. This is a tough one. I have now six patterns in my shop and this is a lot more work than I expected. It is not the translation itself, but finding enough testers and coordinate everything. I have a core team of testers now, but still not enough. So this is something I will have to work on in the new year.

The goals from last year are still good for the new year and I will stick to them. And I will participate in the RTW-fast again. there are over 1000 members in the FB group. Isn’t that amazing? But most important, I want to enjoy sewing and have fun.

What about you? Do you have sewing related goals for the new year?

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I am moving

I hope you all had a lovely holiday and spent a few quite days with your family. I was at my mother’s as every year, but returned one day earlier, as we are moving into a new flat on the 29th. This is also the reason why it was so quite here.  Besides work there was and still is a lot of organizing, planning and packing so that I did not have any energy left for writing blog posts. I still have a few unblogged garments, but they have to wait until I am settled in the new flat.

I want to thank you all for reading my blog this last year and hopefully I will be back soon.

Happy New Year to you all!

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New in the Shop: Zamora Blouse

I translated the next pattern from Itch to Stitch, the Zamora Blouse. This blouse is very versatile and with the right fabric perfect for the holiday season.

Zamora Blouse

So, all of you who are German speaking, please go to the German page to learn more details about the pattern. And for the rest, feel free to grab your English version from Itch to Stitch here and support Kennis to recover from the house burglary 🙂

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Itch to Stitch Lago Tank

I made a few items I haven’t blogged about yet. One of them is the Lago Tank, a free pattern from Itch to Stitch.

Lago Tank

Here I wear the top with my already very faded Angelia shorts in Bastia, Corsica, where we spend a lovely week end of October. I made the Lago Tank sometime during summer on a Friday evening. I had a lot of other things to do, but I just wanted to sew something, so I was in need of a small project. The Lago Tank is fitted around the bust, has some flare in the hip area and features a racer back. The straps are set a bit to the neck which makes the Lago Tank look a bit different from your usual tank top.

Lago tank Lago Tank

Fabric:

I used some left overs from my Singe summer dress. It is a rayon knit.

Alterations:

None. I could rely on my usual ITS-measurements, size 2 for the bust and size 4 for the hips.

Construction Notes:

This is a really simple sew, nothing special to say about the construction. Just sew the shoulder seams, bind the neckline, sew the side seams, bind the armholes and hem the top. As I was afraid that the rayon might stretch out a lot, I added kind of a stay in the bust area to keep the neckline and armholes in place. This is a more stable knit I found in my stash. I simply finished the lower edge, basted the stay to the front piece and sewed the top as per instruction. 

Lago Tank

Conclusion:

I was not sure if I would wear the top often, but I did. It is great for layering and I could use some more. Only disadvantage is that the bra straps are showing. I will need to sew some bras with crossing straps in the back now.

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Sinclair Patterns: Danielle Batwing Top

On a whim I applied for a pattern testing for Sinclair Patterns. I never sewed a Sinclair pattern before, so  I was quite exited when I was chosen as a tester. The new pattern is the Danielle Batwing Top, a loose fitting top with tight cuffs and bottom band which allows to drape the top in different ways.

Danielle Batwing Top

The pattern is well drafted and the instructions are easy to follow. I liked especially the pictured tutorial. On the downside each size comes in a separate pdf file, so you cannot easily blend between sizes. For this top I sewed a size 2, even if my measurement put me to a size 2 for the bust and a size 4 for the hip.

Danielle Batwing Top

Fabric:

You need a knit with a very good drape to get oust most of this top. I knew that I would have to buy fabric for the test. But a nasty cold kept me in bed during the only day of the week when I would have had the time to go fabric shopping. In the end I destructed a knit dress that I loved a lot but did not wear anymore as the rayon knit had streched over time and the neckline had become too low for my liking. I had to do a lot of piecing and still use a different knit for the cuffs and bottom band. Due to the busy print the piecing is not too obvious, I think. I am a bit sad though that the dress does not exist anymore. I need to make a new one.

Danielle Batwing Top

Alterations:

This is a size 2 out of the envelope. Only change I made is that I kept the longer and wider sleeves from the first test version. If I want to I can pull the sleeves over my hands which is great for somebody like me who is cold easily.

Construction:

The Danielle Batwing Top is easy to sew. It is just shoulder and side seams, adding straps and neckline and then the cuffs and bottom band. The most “difficult” part is the straps/neckline binding. With the pictures and clear instructions this is easy going as well.

Danielle Batwing Top

Conclusion:

It was a nice experience to test a pattern from a different company and the top itself is also a bit out of my comfort zone. I did not expect it to be so comfy. The perfect top to spend the day at home. With a different fabric choice it can be dressy for an evening out. I am not sure if I will sew the Danielle Batwing Top again as this is a quite unique style and at the moment I have enough long sleeved tops/pullovers in my wardrobe.

 

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New in the shop: Newport Top

Here in northern Germany summer has come to an end and I am already thinking about sewing for fall. A perfect start for your fall sewing is the Newport Top from Itch to Stitch, which is now available in the German translation in my shop

Titelbild

So, all of you who are German speaking, please go to the German page to learn more details about the pattern. 

There will be a blogtour with the lovely versions of my testers. And though their blogs are written in German, you can surely enjoy the pictures. Here is the schedule:

12.9.: @nani_christiane
13.9.: Brülläffchen, ChriBi
14.9.: kreamino, madebyminoukiMein gewisses ExtraStrickprinzessin
15.9.: sewsloppy
19.9.: liesylotta

 

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Itch to Stitch Chai Shirt & Dress

Shirt dresses are popping up everywhere at the moment and I had one on my todo list for quite a while. When I saw the Chai dress from Kennis from Itch to Stitch I was sold and applied for the testing without second thought. The dress features a classic collar with collar stand, close fitting waist band, gathers insted of darts, a flared skirt and gathered sleeves. It has a classic, vintage inspired and very feminine look.

Chai dress

Chai dress

Chai dress

Fabric:

I used a crinkle cotton, embroiderd with little flowers, that I had in my stash. I bought the fabric years ago on the fabric market in Hamburg. In order to avoid that the fabric would lost the shape I underlined it with a cotton batiste. Usually I have a big stash of white cotton batiste, as this is my preferred lining/underlining, but I just had enough for this dress. I even had to piece the fabric for the skirt and the sleeves. Ever since reading that article in Threads about piecing to save fabric, I try to incorporathe this technique into my sewing, and it works quite well. 

For the piping, inner collar stand and fabric coverd buttons I used scraps of a ruby colored cotton. The color is very close to the darker flowers of the crinkle fabric.

Alterations:

Usually for Itch-to-stitch patterns I use a size 2 for the bodice and size 4 for the hips. Kennis encouraged us to remeasure ourselves and choose the size according to our measurements. This put me to a size 0 for the waist. I was a bit afraid that this might be too tight, but the muslin turned out ok. The waist is designed to have a tight fit. If you do not like this, you should consider to go up one size.

I had to do a small bust alteration. Even as the pattern comes with different cup sizes, the A cup was still too big on me. As the front bodice does not have darts, but gathers, I consulted my  Craftsy class “Adjust the bust” how to make a SBA for a bodice without darts. In the process the front armhole is decreased a bit, but I thought I could get away with that. After the first wear it turned out, that the armholes are a bit tight, but still ok.

I was quite happy with my muslin after these alteration and started sewing the dress. As I am a bit paranoid about fit, I always try on my makes during sewing. So I did after attaching the waistband to the bodice and somehow felt unhappy. The bodice wanted to ride up and there was still too much fabric below the bust. I decided to follow the demands of the fabric and shortened the bodice by taking out 1 cm at the shoulder seams. The whole thing immediately felt so much more comfortable and the ease created by the gathers was now across my bust and not below. This is, of course, a quick and dirty fix, but I was not in the mood of unpicking the waistband with my already trimmed and graded seam allowances. This alteration made the neckline opening smaller too, and I had to change the collar pieces accordingly. I am not able to close the collar, but I would not do that anyway.

Construction:

As always the instructions that come with the pattern are very thorough and we had some testers that did their first collar with collar stand with great results. For the bodice I used french seams and was tempted to do so also for the skirt. I have never made in-seam pockets with french seams, and although I found a good tutorial, I was afraid that time would run out and I decided to go the safer way and just serged the seam allowances. I handstiched the inner waistband to the skirt as well as the inner collar stand (I am still not able to do a proper stitch in the ditch, and I love handstitching. It makes me feel more connected to my garments).

For the piping I cut a 3.5 cm wide strip on the crossgrain. I did not cut on the bias due to fabric limitation. As the waist seam is not curved, I decided this would be ok, and it is. The piping added a lot of bulk where the button placket is turned to the inside. I trimmed as much as I dared at the fold lines.

Chai dress

Conclusion:

This is a great pattern, and probably not my last make of it. I can also imagine it with a more gathered or circle skirt. This pattern offers a lot of possibilities. Check out all the testers’ versions here.

This post contains affiliate links.

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Vienna Tank Top Sew-Along, Part 5

The top is nearly finished, there is only the hem to do! You have different possibilities for hemming your Vienna.

Hemming knits

Fold the hem allowance to the inside and pin.

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You can use a cover stitch machine. Then you get a hem that looks like in RTW. 

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If you do not have a cover machine, you can get a similar look with a twin needle. You have the double stitches on the outside and a zigzag stitch on the inside. Take care that the thread tension is not too high and increase your stitch length. It should also help to set up one spool so that it rotates clockwise, and the other spool in the opposite direction. And thread both threads at the same time, although I haven’t tried these tips by myself yet.

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You can also simply use a zigzag stitch. I decided to use one of the many embroidery stitches that my machine offers and which I use not often enough. 

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Hemming woven fabrics 

Doublefold the hem allowance to the inside and stitch along the upper edge. To make the folding easier you can staystitch first at a distance half the hem allowance from the hemline.

For a beautiful small hem I used a method the Carolyn shared some time ago:

Staystitch at a distance of 1 cm from the hemline.

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Fold along this stitch line to the inside and press. Stitch a second time at a 3mm distance. Trim the edge.

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Fold again to the inside and stitch. The result is a nice small hem.

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Vienna Tank Top is finished!

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I hope you had fun with the Sew-Along and you all have now awesome Vienna Tank Tops. I am so excited to see your work so please share.


 

 

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Vienna Tank Top Sew-Along, Part 4

The top is already looking quite nice. We still have to do the neckline and the hem. Today we are sewing the neckline. But before we start, we finish the front. You have two opportunities: the facing can be folded either to the outside or to the inside. This is independent from how you finish the neckline, with or without ruffles.

View A: Facing on the outside

With left sides together pin the two front pieces at center front and stitch. I marked the center front with a trick marker.

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Press the seam allowances of the facing.

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Press the center seam. 

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Before topstitching the facings I pin. 

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When topstitching along an edge I like to use my quilting presser foot. It does have a  guide in the center which helps to keep the pressure foot in place. I shift the needle position to the left. 

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View B: Facing on the inside

If you want to put the facings to the inside, you make the opposite. With right sides together pin the two front pieces at center front and stitch. 

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Unfortunately I do not have more pictures for this view. But the steps are the same as above.   

Preparation of the neckband and tie

Now we prepare the neckband and tie. This is the same for both versions. First with right sides together pin and stitch both pieces together at the short ends to get one long strip. I also stitched the ruffle pieces together at the same time.

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Fold the strip in half lenghtwise with left sides together and press. Then fold the sides to the center and press again.

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The strip should look like this. You could also use a bias tape maker. 

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View A with ruffels

We already sewed the ruffle pieces together to get a long strip. Now fold the strip in half lengthwise with right sides together and stitch the short ends together.

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The ends will be turned right side out. With rectangular corners I do not trim the seam allowances but fold them to one side…. 

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….grap with the thumb from the inside and with the index finger I hold the seam allowance down while turning everything outside. 

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As a result you have perfectly shaped corners.  

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Now prepare the ruffles for gathering and stitch two rows of stitches with a long stitch length within the seam allowance along the raw edge. 

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Place the center back of the ruffle to the center back of the inside of the bodice. The raw edge of the ruffle is even with the raw edge of the neckline.  

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Align the end of the ruffle with the center front.  

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Now with a lot of patience pull the threads and start gathering the ruffle, distribute the gathers evenly and pin. 

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Now place the prepared neckband and tie on top of the ruffle so that the center crease lays upon the seam line. We have a 1cm (5/8″) seam allowance and the distance between the creases is also 1cm (5/8″), so if you align the upper crease with the raw edge of the neckline the center crease is placed over the seam line automatically.

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Pin and stitch from center front to center front along the neckline. Secure seam.

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Grade seam allowances ….

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…and press ruffle up.

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Now fold the edges of the neckband and tie to the inside and then fold the upper part down and pin.

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Before I pin the ends of the tie this way I fold the short ends to the inside. I don’t like raw edges. 

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Edgestitch along the open edge from one end to the other. You can leave the ends as is. I made some knots. You can also add pearls to the ends.

View B without ruffle

Place the center back of the neckband and tie to the center back of the inside of the bodice. But, different from view A, align the upper edge of the neckband with the raw edge of the neckline. The upper crease is now placed over the seam line (This is not described correctly in the instructions, but the picture is correct).

Pin and stitch along the upper crease from center front to center front. Secure the seam. Trim seam allowances and press the neckband up. Fold the neckband along the center crease so that the seam allowances are enclosed. Pin and edgestitch. The ends of the tie can be folded to the inside as described above, so you do not have any raw edges.

Now the only thing to do is hemming!

 

 

 

 

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