“I’m a big fan of the patterns published by The Sewing Workshop. They suit my personal style well and offer lots of options for fabric play. Since the Odette and Ivy Top pattern designs involve color and print blocking possibilities, it was perfect for my most recent make – all from my carefully, curated fabric stash!
Years ago, I purchased a sharp looking 100% Organic Cotton, tone on tone, stripey knit from Texture Clothing in Bellingham WA. They have gorgeous clothing and will graciously sell you fabric if asked. You’ll also find tempting packs of scraps near the front door that could be really yummy for future pieced tops.
The lovely, stripey knit has been with me for a while, in my ‘fabric aging” cupboard, waiting for just the right project. The Ivy Swing Tunic really excited my inner sewing self, but I wasn’t sure what to put with it, until I found a remnant of Jacquard knit I bought at Pacific Fabrics. I find little bits of fabric very inspiring and had purchased this from their Sewing & Stitchery Expo booth one year when I was an employee.
The Ivy view of the pattern calls for three fabrics, so I had the pleasure of sitting down with my Cashmerette Curvy Sketchbook to figure out how to use two fabrics instead. I decided to use the Jacquard as the accent pieces for the front body inset, sleeve inset, the left front swing panel and the neck and sleeve finishes. It was really fun to flip the stripe around in different ways on the sleeve, back and bottom swing panel, too.
So. let’s talk sizing. I cut the XL through the neck, arms and shoulders, then went up to XXL through the bust and body. I’m pretty much a Washington State Apple shape and frequently size my patterns in this way. The seam allowance is 5/8″ and at the last minute, I decide to use a ¼” S.A. from the bust down on the side and back seams to avoid potential clinginess. Turns out this was wise (for me) and I’m very pleased with the fit of the tunic body.
After measuring the sleeve pattern and consulting my arm measurement, I added to the sleeve width, flaring out to 3/4″ more at the bottom of each side of the sleeve. That added 1-1/2″ total to the sleeve circumference, worked out well, and I’ll be making a permanent width change on the pattern piece.
Following what I planned in my Sketchbook, I cut out the main pieces from the stripey and the accents from the Jacquard. A word of caution here . . . follow the cutting instructions and diagrams carefully. Several pattern pieces clearly say “Cut One, Right Side Up” and yet, I still made a little mess of that on one significant piece. Since, I do think you can always turn a mistake into a new design, you’ll see the results later!
Topstitching always helps seams to lay nicely and looks very Ready to Wear, so I love using it as a tool when there’s piecing in a design. For my Ivy, I topstitched the seams where the Jacquard knit was pieced in, the neck and sleeve finishes and the bottom swing panel. All of my seaming was done on my serger, which I cannot even begin to imagine sewing without. I used a 3mm, 4 thread overlock and size 80, Schmetz Stretch needles – my standard for sewing knits.
My version of Ivy included a design adjustment as I mentioned earlier. Instead of cutting the upper front Right Side Up, I cut it Wrong Side Up and it changed everything about the bottom of the tunic. I had to change the line of the Jacquard inset piece and the bottom pieces did not line up in the wonderful flowing way they should have. After a few tears and sighs, I just went with what I could do and have been assured that unless I carry the pattern cover with me, it looks fabulous.
I also closed the side seams on the bottom panel instead of leaving them open as vents and overlapped them about ¾” on the front. That all just seemed like a better look for this particular project. Not that I would ever doubt The Sewing Workshop owner and designer, Linda Lee!
My Ivy Tunic was just finished last week and I’ve worn it three times so far. So, do I like it? I LOVE it! It looks professional, fits well and I feel great in it. I will definitely make this pattern a couple more times. For one thing, I’m determined to cut the pieces out correctly so I can match the front panel properly next time!