Monday, 11 August 2014

Sewing for Me ~ A Knock Off...


Ha, ha... I didn't make this top! It's one I bought last Winter, or maybe the year before, and I've worn it SO much. I like the style and colour, it fits well and it's oh, so comfortable. And, to top it off, it's made in Australia. Most of our garment industry has gone off shore, so it's really pleasing to see a brand which has some of their items made here.


It wasn't an expensive top, but nor was it cheap; from memory, around the $80 mark. I bought it at a Postie Fashions party - sort of like Tupperware parties. (Can you still buy Tupperware?) A good friend hosts a party at her place each year. It's a LOT of fun - trying on clothes with a bunch of friends who give their honest opinions on how you look. I'm hanging out for this year's get-together.

The thing is, I view clothes differently now that I have more time on my hands. I look at how they're made and wonder if I could make them myself.


So I gave it a go and this is how my new top turned out. It's by no means perfect, but I am thrilled!!! I suppose I could have found a pattern, but I thought I'd jump in at the deep end and just trace over the original.


Look at the cowl neck!!! Much easier than I thought. Well, apart from the fact that I sewed it on inside out and had to redo it.

The hardest thing was finding the right fabric. The original is a polyester knit with a reasonable amount of stretch. I couldn't find anything similar in stores, and I wasn't game to buy online. I wanted to feel the weight and see the quality first. Leave me a link in the comments if you know of Sydney stores that sell a good range of knit fabrics.

The fabric I ended up buying is much thinner than the original and also more stretchy. I wear up to three layers underneath the original, but the new fabric is too clingy for that. 

You can see in the photo above, that the shoulders are too wide. The sleeves need to be set higher. I suppose I could redo them, but I almost never alter a garment once it's finished.


The right shoulder / sleeve seam also has a couple of bumps happening there. Not sure why it's just on the right shoulder... LOL!!!


With the exception of the hems, the top is sewn with an overlocker (serger). For the hems, I used a twin needle, the same as I did for the Charlie Tees. I have a lot to learn about stretch fabric. The hems on the Charlie Tees worked out well, but not so this top. I'm almost certain that the waviness is due to the fact that this is a very stretchy fabric.


I've since done some research on hemming knit fabrics and am going to experiment with the following on some left over fabric:
  • walking foot
  • fusible double sided tape
  • tissue paper underneath and maybe on top
  • fusible elastic interfacing

I've pinned like crazy to my Sewing with Stretch Fabric board on Pinterest. Here are some of the resources I've referred to:

    Have you sewn with really stretchy fabric? What tips do you have for hemming? I would really love to hear your thoughts and I know others reading this post would also.


    Even though my top may not be perfect, I'm very happy with the process. I've been able to recreate a garment, from one that I love, without buying a pattern. If I ever find the right fabric, I'll have another go. With the right fabric and a few alterations to the pattern I've made, I know I'll get much closer to the original.

    Whilst sewing my first knock off, if you don't count pyjamas, that is, I began to question whether it's ethically and morally OK to copy the work of someone else. A quick Google images search of Kate Middleton wedding dress, shows lots of knock offs. The fact that they exist and are sold, doesn't in itself, make it right. 

    I'm not selling my outfit or the pattern I made, nor am I telling you how to do it, so I figure it's OK. Deconstructing clothes is not something new. It's actually a really good way to see how clothes are made. When I make something from a pattern, it's quite mechanical, but making it up from an existing garment, has taught me a lot more. (I didn't actually dismantle the original top, so deconstruct may be the wrong word to use. The deconstruction was all done in my head.)

    Don't worry Postie Fashions. I'll still be buying more of your garments and not just to copy them. There's no way I'm going to try and knock off the leggings I'm wearing. They're not just made from two pieces like most leggings.


    ... Pam

    Edited to add: I've since experimented with hemming stretchy fabrics.

    28 comments:

    1. Very nice. I'm so afraid to work with knits. Congrats on the finish.

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    2. Great looking top you made. Tupperware is still around in the USA.......my friend sells it. Enjoy reading your blog.

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      1. Thanks, Mary Ann. If Tupperware is still sold in the USA, then it's probably still sold here as well.

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    3. Lovely top Pam. I've de-constructed clothes a few times to remake ones for myself, I remember doing it for the first time on a dolls dress that was all ripped and torn! You're right, it's a great way to learn about sewing clothes - You did a fabulous job on your top!

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    4. Oh great job!! I love it. So fun watching you constantly pushing yourself and learning new things!

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    5. Lovely top, Pam! Great work! I love the pics too :)
      Hope you have an awesome week!
      Hugs from Portugal,
      Ana Love Craft
      www.lovecraft2012.blogspot.com

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    6. Pam you did a great job and it is inspiring me to get in and try some sewing for myself - I can't remember the last time I tried! :)

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    7. Pam I think that you have performed a feat of magic with your new top. I saw an under-tunic / nightshirt on a medieval clothes website and I thought that I would give it a go without a pattern also. The shoulders seem to fit alright so far but I may need to keep loosing weight in order to wear it properly without splitting the side seams! Keep up the good work.

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      1. Thanks so much, Richard. It was fun to make and taught me a lot. Good on you for making the under-tunic without a pattern. Hope the side seams don't split.

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    8. Great job! Tracing our RTW clothing becomes addicting. Now when I shop for things in a store, I'm turning them inside out to see how they are constructed to see if I can recreate it. It makes for a bonus when I shop now because I get a new outfit, and if I am lucky, a new pattern also! My girls are now doing the same thing. I agree with you on the legality of tracing things. If it is just a normal run-of-the-mill type piece of clothing that pretty much every store sells, that is one thing, but a private store or definitely something really expensive, I think that is just a do for yourself kind of thing.

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    9. Oh love your new top! Well done recreating your fave top! I too get excited when I get an Aussie made garment. My latest find was a skirt, and I got it from an op shop. Re-creating fave clothes sounds like a fun challenge!

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    10. You did a beautiful job! Working with knits is a challenge but using a serger is a step toward perfecting the technique. I've just started back sewing apparel after taking many years off and my first project was a knit...geez it was a challenge. I have a top I really like that I've been considering deconstructing...you've inspired me!

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    11. Great top Pam! How smart to be able to recreate a garment without a pattern, way beyond my abilities I am afraid :)

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    12. Great job on your new top! This does not look like a easy top to trace. I do not have any tips on knit, I recently struggled hemming with knit myself, I will be reading your list! I too wonder where to draw line on knock-off. Copying designs are definitely done everywhere, but making a fun sewing challenge without selling a product should ok!

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    13. That looks sooooo comfortable and fashionable. It is hard to get both. You look great!

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    14. Your top turned out great! I am impressed that you did it without a pattern. Looks like it will be very comfortable and will go with a lot of things. Some knits are easier to hem than others, I have found. I have tried before using a narrow zigzag for a hem on really stretchy knits that have lycra in them and that seems to work better than using a straight stitch.

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      1. Thanks, Kimberlee. You are so right - some knits are much easier to hem than others. Less stretchy knits are fine with my twin needle, but not this one. Thanks for the tips on using a fine zigzag - definitely one for me to try.

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    15. Well done Pam, it looks great! you say it's not perfect, but if you pull out any garment from your wardrobe (discounting expensive ones (and I consider $80 expensive!)), I bet you'll find imperfections. I was wearing an M&S shirt yesterday, they're synonymous with quality over here, I found several glitches in the construction - not that anyone else would notice.

      The knock off thing gets me too. In this case, I think it's fine. You've taken a top and made a second version for yourself. You're not sharing or selling. I bet if you wanted to buy another one the same from the same company you couldn't as it's a year or so old so they won't still make it, so I'd be OK with it. What does get me is all the "Pottery Barn knock-off" and "Anthropology knock-off" posts with tutorials. There's a lot of fuss on the internet when an indie designer has their design copied, but it's made to seem OK if an indie designer copies the design of one of the big boys. To me, that's not OK. You can't take something in store now and show how to recreate it, if it had been an indie designer and they'd done the same thing, they'd be reviled.

      I don't think that's what you've done though!

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    16. First of all, great color, Pam. And you really did well replicating a lovely top. Wow. I'm amazed, and if you had fun, that makes it worthwhile.

      Hugs and happy week,
      Kelley~

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    17. This looks really great! Did you try steaming the wonky seams? That seems to help a lot.

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    18. Love the top. You did a great job.
      Debi @ Adorned From Above

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    19. Wow! You are a talented seamstress!

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    20. Beautiful top Pam and when you have a piece of clothing you love make it in every color! It has been a while since I sewed clothes but I remember adding a small piece of cotton twill to the shoulder seams to keep them from stretching, even a ribbon would work. We still have Tupperware parties in Iowa :)

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    21. Pam you are too cute!!! I love the top and the color! Pinned it! Featured it! thanks for linking up to Create Link Inspire... spreading the word on social media... EMily

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    22. You've done a fantastic job on recreating your top. This is something that I'm just starting to do and also working with stretchy fabrics.
      Ali xx

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    23. Your new top turned out fantastic, Pam! I could not tell which was the original and which was the knock off... Until you showed the close up pics. You did an amazing job! I have never sewn knits, so I have no good advice to share. Lovely top!

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