Search for the Perfect Knit Top – Attempt 2

Alabama Chanin Tank Top

Alabama Chanin Tank Top

Have huge ugly T-shirt – can remake!

Alabama Chanin designs caught my eye recently.  The neon pink 3XL T-shirt had more than enough fabric for her princess seamed tank top.

Princess seaming is one of the rules guidelines for the Perfect Knit Top.  So is muffin top camouflage width below the waist.  Alabama Chanin’s tank top included both.

Her books include embellishment stencils and ideas.  So Attempt 2 was sewn.

The fit is wonderful.  Love the wider hem – it does its camouflage job perfectly.

The straps are a bit too narrow to hide “undergarment” straps – but even so, the top is perfect for working out in.

Tank Top Embellishments

Tank Top Embellishments

The embellishments are on the back of the tank.

The heathered knit used for the flower petals is from The Stash.  The raspberry accents and neckline edging were cut from an old workout top.

Children’s washable markers were used to transfer the design to the fabrics.  They worked well – and washed out completely!

As the top must stretch, the hand stitching must stretch as well.  The Alabama Chanin books provide excellent instruction on how to stitch with stretch!

Is this the Perfect Knit Top?

No.  It is a nice workout top.

Embellishment Detail

Embellishment Detail

Can’t wait for another ugly T-shirt so I can revise the pattern and try again!





Posted in Clothing, Embellishment, Sewing, Stash Couture, T-shirt remake | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Search for the Perfect Knit Top: Attempt 1.

Beading and Outline Stitch Embellishment

Beading and Outline Stitch Embellishment

T-shirts are, well, not complimentary.

The neckline of a Tshirt works for him!

They are boxy and have a neckline that may have worked for Dennis The Menace, but has never been included in a list of “fashion musts” or “this spring’s runway styles.”

But knit fabrics do win for comfort.  So, the Search for the Perfect Knit Top  – Not a T-shirt – was commenced.

Fitted, Comfortable and Embellished!

Fitted, Comfortable and Embellished!

Rules (more like guidelines):

  1. Stash Fabric
  2. Princess seaming
  3. Flared below the waistline (AKA:  muffin top camouflage)
  4. Sleeveless preferred.  No raglan sleeves.
  5. V-neck preferred
  6. Curved hem, slightly longer in back.
  7. Embellishment whenever possible

The combination of princess seaming and v-neck did not appear in the Pattern Stash.

Simplicity 1466

Simplicity 1466 seemed to meet all rules guidelines except for the V-neck. The princess seaming with the curved hem (and the $2.00 price tag) won me over – even though I am not a fan of a wide horizontal yoke.

The fabric is a knit remnant left over from a failed attempt at a different blouse.  Failed garments happen to us all.

Lower Hem Curve

Lower Hem Curve

The top went together easily.  I toyed with a plain colored yoke, but did not want to emphasize the width of the yoke.

Pattern modifications included adding width (a total of 2″) to the hem.  With all the seams, this was accomplished by adding just a slight amount to each  vertical seam starting just below the waist.

The brown and off-white print was a bit too brown and off-white.  It needed something.

Bright raspberry pink beading and edging were added to the yoke. Running stitch in the same color embroidery thread highlights the printed design.

Yoke and side seam embellishment

Yoke and princess seam embellishment

A slight vertical accent was added by adding decorative hand stitching to  the front princess seams.

Is this the Perfect Knit Top – close, but no.

It wins for fit and the hem curve is perfect, but the high horizontal yoke is too high and too horizontal.

With a V-neck, it might have been The Perfect Knit Top.



Posted in Clothing, Embellishment, Scrap Couture, Sewing, Stash Couture | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

SLS Summer Top Series 4

Does anyone else feel they should set a phone reminder so as not to forget to purchase Vogue patterns when they are on sale?

Vogue 8982, Marcy Tilton

Missed one sale – and found another.   Which allowed my to purchase Marcy Tilton’s vest/jacket pattern (Vogue 8982.)

Vogue 8982 Options

Love the simplicity AND the complexity of the design.  The pattern includes options for both knit and woven fabrics.

The SLS (Sizeable Linen Stash) contained some very gauzy black/ecru stripe.  It was not exactly in the form of yardage – it was a pair of wide-leg pants I had made years ago and never really worn.  The fabric was too nice – and at would, of course, be perfect for something/someday so I kept the pants.

Striped Linen and Buttons from The Stash. Lining is a new purchase.

Striped Linen and Buttons from The Stash. Facing Fabric is a new purchase.

With just a bit of piecing, I was able to cut out the vest main pattern pieces.

I searched through The Stash looking for a bright pink/magenta print facing fabric … and to my surprise was not able to find anything.

So (merrily) off to the LFS to break the Destashification Rules.

This 100% cotton eyelet weave with an aqua background could not have been further from the pink/red combination I set off to find, but I kept going back to it.  The colors include a “weathered” black and ecru that matched the linen perfectly.

Striped Top

Striped Top

Luckily, The Button Stash had the perfect matching aqua.  I layered them over some appropriately sized plain ecru buttons.

The facings used almost as much linear fabric as the main vest pieces. The front band facing piece extends under the collar so it is quite a long single piece.

Note to self:  Gauze linen stretches.

Especially in comparison to a 100% cotton eyelet weave print that has been interfaced!.

Much hand basting was required prior to topstitching the facings to the linen.

I love the top.  It will go nicely with ecru or black shorts when the temperatures soar (like tomorrow – 97 degree expected).

Back View

Back View

With the exception of the stretchiness and some confusion as to which way was up on the back side piece, the pattern went together very easily.

Waist shaping was added to the back by curving a modified center back seam.

Striped Top

Striped Top

I will definitely make this top again….

…and have already searched the SLS for another gauzy linen.

If I modify the pattern for the second top, it would be to make it just a just a bit longer in the back.





Posted in Clothing, Scrap Couture, Sewing, Stash Couture | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

SLS Summer Top Series 3

FLoral Linen Tunic

Floral Linen Tunic

Different Fabric and Different Pattern.

Vogue 8810

This top began as Vogue 8810. The V-neck front bands were what I was looking for.  Unfortunately, that pattern was a bodice and had gathered shoulders.  So, the length and shoulders were gleaned from Vogue 8854.

During the process of sewing, shaping and embellishment morphed it even further.

New Look 6082

If I had found New Look 6082 prior to cutting this top out, there would have been fewer modifications.   The Jacket in New Look 6082 has V-neck front bands and princess seaming for shaping – and comes in a longer length!

Embellished Front Bands

Embellished Front Bands

Next top, maybe!

The body is another lightweight linen. This one has a black background and many greens and blues in a large floral print – almost a Magnum PI Hawaii Print!

The black bands are dupioni and the embellishments are quilting cotton scraps.

For those of you that think people who sew know exactly how garments will be made BEFORE we sew, allow me to recount the journey that was this top:

1.  The tunic was originally sewn with front bands of the same linen print – too busy.

2.  Then the bands were sewn of black dupioni (the only sizeable piece of black fabric in The Stash) – too dark.

3.  Neither were “just right” so the stitching was removed (twice, yes twice).  During that process, a “clip” in the back neckline extended itself into a “rip”.

Back Neck "Clip to Rip" embellishment

Back Neck “Clip to Rip” embellishment

4.  The rip was sewn closed and a fabric triangle sewn over it as another embellishment!

5.  The new embellished bands were sewn, interfaced and then attached to the body.

Side View

Side View

6. The resulting large print rectangular bag, was very shapeless and …well, not attractive – although it might have worked on Thomas Magnum!  I had to walk away.

7.  To resolve the shapeless bag look, a waist was added to the  vertical back and side seams.  Front darts were also added.  In all, the waist was reduced by over 4″.

Embellished Front Band Detail

Embellished Front Band Detail

8.  The side view shows the openings left at the lower side seams – the longer length fits better with the slits.  The back was made just slightly longer than the fronts for no special reason.

In the end, the top had been revised numerous times.  Each revision I liked better than the previous.

More Band Detail

More Band Detail

The revisions require a bit of ripping out (and this time apparently, a bit of just plain ripping!), but it is enjoyable to see the garment evolve.

As with the other SLS Summer Tops, the buttons for this top are double-layered Stash Finds.  Plain black buttons layered under a smaller plain blue button.

Total Cost:  Less than $4 (I had to purchase the blue and one green quilting cotton)

Comfortable, lightweight and Stash Couture!


Posted in Clothing, Embellishment, Scrap Couture, Sewing, Stash Couture | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

SLS Summer Top Series 2

Linen Top 2

Linen Top 2 – Butterick 5891 in a print!

Different Linen, Same Pattern.

This one is definitely summer.

The print is larger than I am typically comfortable with, but it was too pretty to linger in The Stash any longer.

Butterick 5891 by Katherine Tilton with the same modifications.

White Voile Inner Collar

White Voile Inner Collar

The large print did not need any coordinating fabrics, so the bias binding for the outer collar was cut from the same fabric as the body.  The inner collar and front facings are a plain white voile from The Stash.

The entire top must weight only a few ounces – the linen is very lightweight.

Stash Buttons

Stash Buttons

The buttons were Stash Finds that were double-layered.  The ballet pink base buttons are actually upside down! The vintage “lace” buttons are perfect for such a lightweight top.

Linen Top 2 - Back View

Linen Top 2 – Back View

The back view shows the angled hem of the top.  By adding length to the body, the hem hits at about the hip.

Lightweight and Lovely!

Perfect for Summer!

Posted in Scrap Couture, Sewing, Stash Couture | Tagged , | 4 Comments

SLS Summer Top Series

SLS Summer Top 1

SLS Summer Top 1

The SLS (Sizeable Linen Stash) was calling to me.  It contains beautiful fabrics that would make wonderful summer linen tops.

Butterick 5891

Oddly, my first selection was not one of the beautiful prints – it was a heavy weight natural colored linen.

The true linen color would need some coordinating fabrics. Not an issue though – with Butterick 5891 by Katherine Tilton as the  pattern of choice (again), coordinating fabrics and embellishment is almost a requirement for the collars and asymmetry!

Back View

Back View

The selected coordinating fabric is actually a home dec remnant.  The background matches the linen perfectly and the red and coral colors it contains are currently my colors of choice.

Modifications to the pattern:

  1. Lengthen body by 3″.
  2. Eliminate peplum.
  3. Eliminate all facings – hem is 3/4″.
  4. Inner collar is faced and finished on all edges.
  5. Outer collar is finished with bias binding.
  6. Angle of “wedge shape” was narrowed.
Collar(s) and neckline detail

Collar(s) and neckline detail

Using the modern look coordinating fabric for the larger back piece and the collar provided the opportunity to use two other coordinating fabrics for the front facings and the collar binding.

The fabric used for the outer collar binding contains both the  red and the coral colors! Love it!

Double-Layered Button

Double-Layered Button

The buttons are from The Button Stash.  Red larger buttons with vintage caramel colored smaller buttons sewn together.

Side View

Side View

The heavier weight linen of this top makes it perfect for the cooler spring evenings – and the colors will work through the fall!

Only problem – I don’t really have any coordinating shorts to wear with it!

Ummm.  Wonder if the SLS has any caramel colored linen?

Posted in Clothing, Scrap Couture, Sewing, Stash Couture | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Alabama Chanin Inspired Stash Couture Skirt

Alabama Chanin - Destashification Style

Alabama Chanin – Stash Couture Style Skirt

Handstitching, stenciling, reverse applique – all fun embellishment techniques currently being showcased on organic cotton knits by Alabama Chanin.

Had to try it!

With some Stash Couture modifications, of course!

The Stash contained a short piece of stretch linen in a summer green and several small pieces of blue/green/purple hand-marbled cotton.

Not exactly (or even close to) the dark knits of Alabama Chanin – But perfect for the heat of Arizona!

Simplicity 7229

Skirt Front Reverse Applique

Skirt Front Reverse Applique

The Pattern Stash included Simplicity 7229 (unfortunately discontinued.)  This is the most comfortable skirt pattern!  The only modification made was to change the drawstring to an elastic back waist.

The methods for true Alabama Chanin garments are detailed in her books. One of the Alabama Chanin stencils was modified slightly for use on this skirt.

After being drawn onto paper-backed fusible web and fused to the linen, the leave shapes were cut out.  The linen was then fused to the marbled fabric.

Stitching Detail

Stitching Detail

In keeping with the Alabama Chanin methods, embroidery floss was used to hand sew short running stitches to reinforce the raw edges of the reverse applique.

Narrow vertical pleats were added to the other side of the skirt front.

The beautiful colors of the hand marbled fabric are visible through the cut-away leaves.

Alabama Chanin - Destashification Version

Alabama Chanin Inspired Stash Couture Skirt

The skirt is very comfortable (did I mention it is S-T-R-E-T-C-H linen?).  It will get plenty of use when the temperatures soar.

Total Cost = $0.

I may attempt another Alabama Chanin inspired project -  possibly even a knit!

I wonder what knits might be hiding in The Stash!

Posted in Clothing, Embellishment, Scrap Couture, Sewing, Stash Couture | Tagged , , | 1 Comment