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:
- End Knit Wavy Seam Syndrome
- Sewing Knits Without a Serger
- Conquering Knits: A Self-Help Guide
- How I Hem Knits
- How to Sew Knit Fabrics
- Guide to Stabilizing Knit Fabrics
- How to Hem Knit Fabric 5 Ways
- Knit Knowledge: Hemming Tips
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.