Tuesday, January 6, 2015

My Chambray Epiphany

I have an ambivilant relationship with pattern testing. On one hand I like the little push outside of my normal aesthetic, the motivation to try something new, or make something I wouldn't normally gravitate toward work with my tastes. On the other hand, there is no sewing community inspiration for a pattern no one has made yet. There is no advice, there is nothing to learn from the success or failures in my instagram feed.

The Lou Box Top is the first pattern from  Sew DIY's. Incase I wasn't clear in the first paragraph, I was a pattern tester. Normally, I would dive right into a project this straight forward, but I have never sewn her designs before (obviously) so I made a muslin. For the muslin I used a sad stiff, light sucking navy knit because it was the only thing I had around that I could stand to cut into. Yikes what a mess. I tried to jazz things up with a scrap of woven floral as an exposed neck, and a tie instead of a button, but there was no redeeming that crappy fabric. That top is destined for Good Will (no offense to Good Will).

I was feeling particularly bad after I saw Debbie's incredible tissue print version in all its drapey glory. I wanted something just as effortlessly simple and cool. I started frantically ordering fabrics online that had no chance of getting to me in time. In the midst of entering my digits into yet another online order form I had an epiphany - when in doubt, use chambray. I have a pretty significant stash of chambray, more that I like to collect than sew with. I held my breath and cut into a precious piece of linen blend, and instantly the project was redeemed (do you hear angels singing? I think its a Christmas miricle).
Is it weird that I had these earrings in mind before I even started sewing? They are from a small company in my neighborhood, and hard to resist when I walk by their window a couple times a week. I'm not that into jewelry, but I am pretty into these earrings. I emailed the link to M enough times that he finally took the hint and bought them for my birthday, which very happily coincided with a boutique sale. It is exactly the sort of thing I want to wear, and if I am going to wear something this big the rest of the outfit has to be subtle.
PATTERN: The Sew DIY Lou Box Top is a dolman sleeve t-shirt pattern written for knit or woven fabrics. There are with two options for the neckline: scoop or crew, and three options for the hemline: straight, dip, or curved (shown). The pattern is drawn as 4 pieces so you can mix and match the tops and bottoms. The line of stitching at about my waist is the break between the pieces. The instructions call for cutting your top and bottom as one piece, but with such a simple pattern and simple fabric I wanted to add a few subtle details. I added 1/2 of seam allowance between the pieces so I could sew them back together then do some jean-like embellishment with golden yellow thread. The instructions are expertly written and illustrated.

FABRIC: This is a long stashed piece of chambray that I think I bought at a local fabric store. It seems to have a bit of linen in it based on its tendency to wrinkle. I learned from my crumby thick knit muslin, that the fabric is key to such a simple top. Choose something with a nice drape, and you will look like a million bucks.

SIZE: I measured a small, I made a small, the small fits like a glove. I was a little worried it would fit at the bust, but not the hip, but that was not a problem.

ALTERATIONS: My only alteration was to separate the top and bottom pieces at front and back. I think the pattern calls for a center seam up the entire back for the woven version, but I only seamed the top piece, so I could jazz up the top stitching. Next time I would add 1" to the length. The split bodice design allows for super simple lengthen/shortening.
Left: Top stitching around the side vent and where the top and bottom pieces meet. Top Right: Back button closure (for the woven version only). Bottom Right: Center back where the top and bottom pieces meet.
In conclusion, the Sew DIY Lou Box Top is a great, infinitely flexible shirt pattern. I am going to churn out a few more of these in linen when warmer weather comes. The simple variations included with the pattern mean you can make quite a few and they will all be different.

Sorry for the bad pun, and please excuse the Holiday decor. I wrote this post before Christmas, but didn't have a chance to squeeze it into December. I'm posting today while those guys on the piano and I can still pretend we did it on purpose!



FOLLOW ALONG!
  



10 comments:

  1. You nailed it! Earrings and all! What a good idea to use that topstiching and the seam. Understated and very classy.

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    1. Thanks Ute! I've worn the earrings a ton, but its way too cold for the new top.

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  2. Oh wow, so Madewell! Also, made well. Haha. Love the chambray too, that topstitching you did looks super great. I love chambray too and buy it whenever I see a good one...but I always have trouble hanging onto it because I burn through it so quickly. It works for everything!

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    1. I have trouble remembering what I bought where (its all so similar, but still totally different). The last Mara blouse I made for L was the best chambray ever. I ordered more of what I thought was the same thing, and it's all wrong! No telling where the good stuff came from. My new year's resolution is to come up with an effective chambray labeling system! :)

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  3. I like it very much. I like the very neat finishing touches and the chmabray is perfect ofr it. Great job!

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  4. I'm on a total chambray loving stint at the moment. These sorts of patterns are the best as you can use a small amount of an amazing fabric and, as you say, feel like a million dollars. In fact I've got a chambray summer dress that is minutes away from being finished......

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    1. Oh and forgot to write this is gorgeous on you!

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  5. Oh Kristi, I totally could hear an entire chorus of Angels singing! Love your choice of fabric, it is among my favourites materials to make things. You look amazing and I really like the style of the top. You topstitch like a Pro!

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  6. I love your chambray version! I'd never considered using chambray for this top but it looks amazing! It looks especially good with that topstitiching.

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  7. I liked this shirt so much, I copied you! Except I'm having trouble with the hem rolling up. Any tips for me?

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