Monday, September 8, 2014

My First Parisian - Funky 70s Style

Friends, it seems I have accidentally turned my sewing room into a 1 woman t-shirt factory this week. I've had several knit top patterns I wanted to sew up, but after an unsuccessful attempt back in April, my dreams of cute t-shirts went by the wayside. Until now :) I had the good fortune of having the Labor Day holiday off work and the house to myself all day, and I decided it was the perfect opportunity to finally hash this out. Now I seem to have tapped into my new addiction, lol. It's only fitting that the first top I made last Monday was the pattern I failed at in April.
This is my first Parisian Top by Go To Patterns. I snagged the pattern in the Just Add Jeans Pattern Anthology collection - to be honest this shirt was the reason I clicked "checkout". It has a peter pan collar and 3/4 length puffed sleeves - it's so me! I had to have a million of them. I began by cutting the XL size (according to my measurements) in this crazy 1970s flower print knit I got at a thrift store for something like 50¢ a long time ago. I chose this fabric because A) it was cheap and in my stash B) I wasn't so in love with it that I would be upset if it didn't work out and C) I had a remnant of blue (also from a thrift store) that matched it perfect for the collar. So even though this isn't my usual chosen color palette, I decided to go for it on the assumption of a possibly wearable muslin. To be honest though, I actually really like the color combo now that it's done, lol. Judging by the fabric's design and condition, I think I can safely say the flower print is from the 1970s.
Back in April when I tried the pattern out, I thought my problem was that my knit was too crappy (I was using a set of jersey sheets I picked up at Target in their clearance section and they had like zero recovery). It turns out though that while it may have been bad material for the pattern, I also cut too big of a size. When I made the body of the shirt in the XL size this time around, I had the same problem - it was huge! Because it was huge, it was also very unflattering. I started by pinching in the sides and pinning in the excess in the mirror, but it was no joke 1.5 to 2" on each side that I pinched out by (both on the body and the sleeves). Instead of just sewing in and trying it on over and over again to get it to fit, I decided to lay the size Large pattern piece on top to see what the difference would be - it was exactly what I needed! Who knew that all that turmoil earlier this year could have been solved by just going down a size. At least it was an easy (albeit time consuming) change to make. I just recut the pieces in the new size (I had to fudge the collar curve a bit, but it worked out ok). I had ZERO fit problems after this change :) So anyone else who decides to make this pattern - it seems to go close to ready to wear women's sizing - I typically wear a size Large there too.
I had to do a little quick thinking when it came to the collar too. I forgot I needed to interface one collar piece and all I had on hand was for wovens, but I did have a roll of SewKeysE Knit Stay Tape. I decided to just piece the tape and use it as interfacing:
It looked pretty interesting inside the collar, but it seems to have done the job :) I love this stay tape and I use it for everything. I bought it after watching the Craftsy Zipper Class. I bought mine from Sunni's Shop, A Fashionable Stitch, but she doesn't have the knit tape in stock right now. I used the 1.25" wide inside the collar and I used 1/2" wide at the shoulders and around the neckline to prevent stretching out over time. The directions tell you you can use clear elastic in the shoulder seams, but ... eh, I didn't feel like pulling that out, lol. It is called Stay Tape, after all. It seems to have done a fine job.
Now, I am showing you the unsightliness that is the inside of my neckband only for posterity's sake - and for me to see how much I improve over time, lol. I had a helluva time with this neck band. The pattern only includes 3/8" seam allowances, which is great for saving fabric, but not so great for a first time neckband sewer. The directions tell you to to sew the sandwich of body, collar pieces, and neckband, then turn the neckband over, tuck the raw edge under and top stitch it down. Seriously? TURN THE RAW EDGE UNDER? ON A KNIT? It was curling anyway which would make it difficult, but it seems I didn't really stretch my neckband evenly, so it also made the remaining fabric almost not wide enough not wide enough to clear the other fabric in parts. I went extremely slowly and was able to stitch it down, but I didn't even bother to try turning the edge under. I figured it's inside the shirt, so only I will see it and I don't mind. It's a knit, it's not like it will unravel. So, it's not the prettiest inside neckband, but it does the job of encasing everything. Next time I make this pattern, I will cut the neckband piece a little wider and also I will cut it out of the same fabric as the collar. When I wear it, the weight of the collar wants to pull the neckband down a bit, revealing the top of the neckband. I think it would be way less noticeable if the fabric matched. I am quite proud of my collar matching perfectly in the center though.

So, there you have it :) My first ever successful foray into sewing with knits. I can already tell you it is a new addiction (*cough*I've made 4 shirts in 1 week*cough*). I don't want to bombard my blog with nothing but t-shirts for the next few days, so I'll try to spread these posts out more to break it up :) But there will be more, oh yes, there will be more! And even though this was intended as a muslin, I have already worn it out in the real world and it held up great. I think I like it!

(I've always loved how Cindy at Cation Designs does a round up of materials and cost at the end of her posts, so I'm going to start shamelessly copying her.)

Fabric: 2 yards of 1970s flower mystery knit from the thrift store, 1 yard remnant (as it cut up already) of blue interlock knit from the thrift store
Pattern: Parisian Top by Go To Patterns
Hours: About 4
Total Cost: Maybe $2.00 for fabric and notions, $7.50 for the pattern (but I will totally use this again - actually, I already have, lol)


  1. What a great pattern review. It gets so I distrust negative ease so much that I have to lay one of my fave fitting tees on the pattern piece before I'll follow the envelope. I love this silhouette, and it's great to feel confident that XL will probably be the perfect size for me. XO!

    1. Thanks so much, Laura! I didn't even think to lay out another shirt I like (doh!) - I seem to never think of that, lol. I actually made another of these that I ended up taking in all over so it was a closer fit and it was about a size medium in the end! So depending on how loose you want the fit, this is an easy change with this pattern. I hope you love it! It's such a cute design and very comfy :)


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