Saturday, June 29, 2013

Scrap Happy

I had some rather large scraps left over from my graduation dress and the large print reminded me that  I wanted to make Hot Pattern 1146. The  Deco Vibe Shadow Woven T-Shirt & Tunic. A pattern for a woven fabric T shirt with contrast panels on the neckline, sleeves and side bodice.

Hot Pattern 1146 Deco Vibe Shadow Woven T Shirt
  This use of paneling in garments is a favorite look and I have many pictures in my inspiration file of it used in dresses, tops and even swim suits.

 I really like the bands on the bodice sides, on the neckline, across the shoulders and down the sleeve. Using  a darker color on the bands create a slimming  look in the torso, and horizontal lines across the shoulders. All good style lines for my pear shaped body.  I wanted to test the pattern first.  I have never made a Hot Pattern.   I have purchased several, some right after the company launched many years ago. The people that rave about HP are not shaped like me and there seem to be more reviews of knit tops than woven garments, so I have never been motivated to sew one before this. I could not find any reviews or even blog posts about this top.

 The body measurements on listed on the back of the pattern.   My measurements spanned sizes 12-16; bust a size 12, waist size 16, and hip size 14. The finished garments measurement was not provided for this pattern.  The difference between finished garment measurements and my body measurements is the ease that would be in the finished top. The ease, more than anything, determines the size I make in any pattern.  So I had to cut out all the pattern pieces, pin them together and measure the front and back bodice at bust, waist and hip, remembering to subtract out the seam allowances. I also assembled the sleeve (5 pattern pieces) and measured it too.  The finished garment measurements for a size 12 had 2 – 3” ease over my body measurement so that is the size I made.  Pinning together the pattern pieces is also a good way to check the pattern drafting accuracy and matching marks, and make sure you have cut out the correct size.  Hot Patterns have sizes 6 -26 printed on the same sheet with no differentiation in size line style (dots, dashes, colors).   The size labeling is sparse, often only printed next to the line on one side of the pattern.  It was under the size line on one piece and over the line on another pattern piece. Finding my size and cutting it out was a tedious, time-consuming activity. The differences is size are infinitesimal in places make a spirograph design of lines.  The size 6 line was barely visible on my pattern and since it was the only reference on some pattern pieces  (Size 12 was the fourth line  as in 6,8,10,12), it was very difficult to determine what line to use for the size I chose. 
Where is my size line?

Inconsistent  Size labeling
 There is a video on this top on YouTube Video. While it focuses on applying the decorative zipper in the center back, there were shots of the shirt in progress which helped me understand how to piece it together.   The direction  are sparse. The pictures were easy to understand.  The text on my copy of the pattern suffered from printing quality problems and was unreadable in many places . Sewing the top went very quickly after all the measuring and prepping.

The fabrics  for the first version were a print in a light weight cotton lycra woven and black fabric which was a rayon, poly, lycra ponte  knit. I was able to pull this top over my head so I did not put a zipper in the back.
partially assembled

  This pattern seemed to be "petited" from shoulder to bust. I had to drop the bust darts 2 inches.    The arm hole height was a bit short and the sleeve cap  height was only 3 inches.  Small sleeve heights are common in T- shirt sleeve to provide mobility and reduce the need for armhole ease in the sleeve.  I suspect this last reason is why the sleeves in this top were designed this way.  No ease  facilitates matching  the bands in the sleeve (4 seam lines) with the bands in the shoulder and side bodice area. But this armhole did not fit me well and had fabric bunched under the arm.  The back width was huge, over an inch and 5/8 wider than the body measurement.  Even for a T shirt fit, that is too much back width.  I took it out across the shoulders, moving in the back armholes but I should have taken it out all the entire length of the back. The top was huge in the waist area, even after I put in back waist darts.

Version 1 front

Version 1 side

  The sculpture I am posing with is an iron work door on the campus of Radford University where son #2, my baby, is going this fall. I thought the door  was symbolic of  my son  leaving home, opening a door on a new phase of his life, but able to look back and see us on the other side of the door. Can you tell I am not looking forward to an empty nest?  We were on campus for orientation. Temps in the 90’s F, severe thunderstorms interspersed with bright sunny skies and 98% humidity. My hair is an excellent hydrometer and in those conditions, will defeat any extra hold hair product on the market.  The schedule had us parents walking to different building at opposite ends of the campus for presentations, lectures, dining hall meals.  I think they wanted us exhausted and in “info overload’ for the final talk, which was about tuition and a few additional fees.

Version 2 of the top was made using my sloper with the band patterns superimposed over it.  Using the larger armholes on my sloper meant drafting a sleeve that had a bit of ease in it.  I was able to do this, add the panels to the sleeves, and still match the panels on the garment.
original sleeve versus new sleeve

 The second version is made from lightweight linen in black and light turquoise.  I really like the fit in the shoulder and sleeve much better.  Somehow the back is longer than the back on the first version. I need to shorten it,  as the first time I sit down , the back will be a wrinkled mess.

I love the style and fit of the 2nd version of the shirt. I strongly recommend making a muslin or test garment of this pattern.


  1. My size is similar to yours and HP patterns just don't work for me either. I do like your versions , Icahn sea better fit with your second one. I like the style!

  2. Audrey, I love both tops. The second one is my fave-I think the contrast bands are better served next to a solid. Cute, cute, cute-good luck in adjusting to your empty nest. Stay busy and try not to fret. :-)

  3. You definitely got the fit down with the second one. It's unique and looks like it came from a high end designer. Great job!

  4. I like this style a lot, and appreciate your in-depth review! Nice fabric choices, too. I especially like the blue print.

    I have found HP to be *huge* in the one or two garments I've tried. I don't know if it's just that I prefer a more fitted look, or whether there is something off in their ease assumptions.

  5. Both tops look very smart and modern. Sad to have your last child go off. But on the positive side, less work and more sewing time.

  6. Thank you for taking the time to post an in depth review. Both tops are pretty, my favorite is the second one.
    I know exactly how you felt at your son orientation. My baby (son) went off to college last September and I cried nonstop.
    The next time around your son will be back home next summer and you will amazed to see how much he has grown.

  7. Lovely tops and agree that the HP draft is very different even for my shape, great lines but the fit is another thing.

  8. I love your tops - interesting combos.

  9. Both tops are great, but I do like the second one a bit more, especially with the skirt. Interesting about the sleeve fit -- what a difference between the original pattern and your second draft! I'm sure it will be difficult for a while to have an empty nest, but on the bright side, you'll have more time for sewing! When I went off to college, my brother ended up moving out the same weekend to his own apartment (commuted to college until then). It was a shock to my mom, but she eventually got used to it and ended up enjoying having a quieter house!

  10. interesting post, the turquoise and black version is perfection. I have never tried a HP, thanks for the info.

  11. Love how you are trending the hi/low blouse! You nailed the fit the second go-around. Great choice of a color combo. I had to laugh about the orientation and how they wear you out to get to the final! How well do I remember with both of my kids.

  12. OOOOh, i've been wanting to make a dress with this type of color blocking. i think they are so flattering, like your tops.Thanks for pointing out this HP pattern. I've only ever made a bag from them, but i do love it, so perhaps this should be my next purchase from them.

  13. Both tops are very attractive. That color blocking with the vertical panels looks terrific in both versions. Love your black heels, too.

    I remember when my daughter went off to college. I sewed a lot and it was a pretty tough transition, but it really didn't very long to adapt to the new normal. Hang in there!

  14. The second top is the best as fa as I am concerned.
    I love it worn with the skirt and the fantastic shoes.

  15. These are really nice, especially the second version. The banding is a very appealing version of color-blocking.

    I tried a freebie from Hot Patterns once, but threw out the garment before finishing it. That didn't inspire me to buy any of their patterns!

  16. Both tops are great! My fave is the print one. I don't enjoy having to "work the pattern" to fit as you did so I probably won't be trying this one but you did an awesome job!

  17. What a cool pattern! love your tops.

  18. Late to comment - I just bought this pattern and didn't do my due diligence pre purchase review search! Thanks for the thorough review. Sigh...a muslin will definitely be needed! You really got the fit right on the last version!