07 Apr Parisian Top by Pattern Anthology
This weekend I set aside time to do some selfish sewing. My wardrobe of handmade dresses was getting old and I needed something fresh to add to the pile. I also was feeling a little embarrassed that I kept wearing the same five outfits because I was so proud that I made them. Thank you to everyone that has seen said outfits being worn multiple times and have been nice enough not to say anything!
I have been
hoarding collecting women’s patterns ever since I learned how to garment sew, but they have been gathering dust and getting neglected in my files for far too long. This weekend I put aside my Pinocchio to-do list (every time I ignore it, it seems to grow) and was determined to finish something for myself.
I knew I would only have time to realistically complete one pattern so I chose to make the Parisian Top by Andrea Pannell. She is part of a group of amazingly talented ladies that make up Pattern Anthology. This group of bloggers and designers (Kate, Andrea, Melissa, and Shauna) release patterns in groups of 4; each person creating one pattern that is compatible with the other three. They just released their spring line called Just Add Jeans. This collection is comprised of simple, yet stylish women’s tops intended to be worn with jeans…or whatever you would like to cover up your bottom half (skirt, pants, slacks *i hate that word, hammer pants, leopard tights, jeggings). You get the point.
When they first released the patterns they offered a very generous discount if you bought the bundle of four. I luckily snagged it up before the deal ended (i think around 11:30 the night before…procrastination anyone?) and can’t wait to make the other three patterns in the collection. Don’t worry, you can still buy each pattern individually, even though the bundle deal is over.
The Parisian Top immediately caught my eye because of the Peter Pan Collar. I am a sucker for this romantic neckline and love the endless possibilities of mixing and matching that the pattern allows.
For my version of the Parisian Top I used the following:
Riley Blake Knit Basics: Small Stripe in Navy, Small Dot Knit in Navy (95% cotton, 5% spandex)
Collar: Ditsy in Multi by Dear Stella House Designer (Quilting Cotton)
I purchased all of my fabrics from Hawthorne Threads. If you haven’t checked out their selection, it’s pretty amazing. They are an online shop that carries a great variety of fabric and has incredibly fast shipping. They also have a tiered pricing system so as you buy more fabric, it becomes cheaper. This is great for fabric addicts/hoarders like myself. And also very dangerous.
*I always try to shop local, but if I can’t find it at Sewn, this is my go-to.
I’ve taken a few classes about knits at Sewn Studio, which ended up coming in handy. Jessica has given me some great tips along the way (check out her Kniterview at Made-by Rae), which made the process of sewing with knits less scary than it originally seemed. The Riley Blake knit I used was dreamy to work with and I would recommend it to anyone that is a beginner with knits.Here are some memorable and forgettable moments as well as my tips for making this adorable top:
1. I made an XS in the top but scaled the pattern to the length of a S. I have a long torso and didn’t want it to be too short. I love the way it fits and would make another one the same way.
2. I had trouble matching The Peter Pan collar to the knit neckline. I had some excess knit as I was pinning that I wasn’t sure what to do with. I ended up gathering the knit in the back, almost like a pleat. I could’ve also added the pleat/gather to the front, which I might try next time. I’m not sure how to fix this problem other than a little gathering, so if you have any suggestions, I would love to know.
Seam Ripper Moment: I managed to sew my hem band on incorrectly. By incorrectly, I mean inside-out. Yup, inside out. How I managed to pin this and think it would work out is still unclear. I didn’t realize I was doing anything wrong until the entire band was sewn on with miniature zig-zag stitches. It took me a good half hour to seam rip and another half hour to forgive myself for such a silly mistake.
1. Copy the pattern onto freezer paper because you can iron directly onto your knit and the pattern will stick (shiny side down). The genius that figured this out should be knighted.
2. Pin it, Pin it real good. Knits can be shifty beasts that need taming.
3. Read the directions carefully before sewing super-tiny-impossible-to-seam-rip knits (refer back to my seam-ripping moment)
4. Don’t start sewing at the edge of your fabric. This will prevent the sewing machine from eating your fabric and refusing to spit it out until it’s a jumbled mess of thread that can only be cured by scissors and sweet nothings. Trust me, it’s the worst! I usually start my stitching about a 1/2″ in and then will finish it at the end by turning my fabric around and sewing back towards the edge. I will try to do a tutorial on this because that previous sentence probably doesn’t make any sense.
Proudest Moment: Lining up the stripes on the side seams! Double pats on the back for that one.
Andrea’s pattern is easy to follow and the top comes together quickly. I love the style of it and already have my fabrics picked out for a second one.
This is how I felt when I tried on the top and it fit:
I joked with JB, my husband, that we should find a van down by the river to take the pictures. This was my way of trying to diffuse my nervous energy before taking them. Ever since I was little I’ve had a severe aversion to being in pictures, let alone pictures of just me. I was always the one on the side of my family photos crying because someone was forcing me to smile and say cheese (or whatever word they thought was appropriate at the time). Note to self: Never become famous because the paparazzi would definitely lead to death by flash.
Being married to a talented photographer has forced me to try to get over this fear.
Funny enough, we found a “vanish” vehicle parked down by the river. If only Chris Farley were there. Outtakes:
Then I turned the camera on JB. This was his best model pose:I would highly recommend the Parisian top and I can’t wait to try out the other three patterns in the group.
What are your favorite selfish sewing patterns?