Sewing Indie–Pattern Hacking a Running Top For the Volume-Lover

Getting in just under the wire, here’s my go at a pattern hack from our beloved indie pattern makers: A running top with the wonderful Y-back from Fehr Trade’s XYT top, but with the drapiness and volume that I prefer. As a woman of prodigious hips and glutes, I find running tops with negative ease have the tendency to shimmy up my torso, revealing my little pot belly to the neighborhood. Not my favorite look!

However, I loved Melissa’s design and instructions for the XYT top, so I’ve known ever since the first (very failed) muslin that I wanted to mix it up with a more capacious body design.

Enter the Dixie DIY Summer Concert T, from Perfect Pattern Parcel #1. I sewed this up a couple of weeks ago, and while I’m not quite sure how to style it (it feels a bit young for my grown up life), I DO find it incredibly comfortable, and keep wearing it around the house.

Me Made May featured the Summer Concert Tee a few times!
Me Made May featured the Summer Concert Tee a few times!

Well, life has definitely been a little busy lately, with the early arrival of my new nephew last Friday, and a quick flight down to Los Angeles for the weekend. So I am basically posting my muslin for this mashup tonight, to make it in under the deadline, and looking forward to tweaking a bit and making more version of this in more fun fabrics.

The first thing I did to create this mashup top was to bring together the back pattern piece from the Summer Concert T (which I just love–the swing, the length!) and the front pattern piece of the XYT:

XYT on top of the Summer Concert Tee
XYT on top of the Summer Concert Tee

Traced the Summer Concert T up to the armpit and the XYT, uh, strap and boob area.

Tracing the two pieces
Tracing the two pieces

I didn’t initially connect the two pieces, but put my knit sloper down for comparison to determine where to draw the . . . um, side-boob. Seriously, there have to be words for this stuff, right? It’s not the armscye, but just below it.

Lined up the top of the strap with the shoulder of my knit sloper for comparison
Lined up the top of the strap with the shoulder of my knit sloper for comparison

I picked a point between the two armscye ends (yeah, that’s what I’ll call them!) and drew a line down to the Summer Concert Tee side seam from there. Smoothed out the armscye a bit.

Then it was time to create the back pattern piece. Well, that was simple*, as the basis for the back of the XYT top is pretty much a cut-off version of the front pattern piece. I traced and then drew a line across. (*As you’ll see, I need to revisit this pattern piece, as it came out voluminous in a way I’m not sure I like.)

Drawing the line across for the back pattern piece
Drawing the line across for the back pattern piece

I had gotten a really cheap and really large technical T for the very purpose of muslining running gear, and I cut that into its various parts. Placing the pattern piece over it, I realized I had to lose a little of that side-swing. Knowing the Summer Concert Tee is REALLY voluminous, I reckoned that wouldn’t hurt.

Folded out a little width on the side seam to fit on the fabric I had available.
Folded out a little width on the side seam to fit on the fabric I had available.

I was even able to cut the Y from the same shirt! In the future I look forward to using non-technical (but awesome) scraps for this piece.

Y-section of the top
Y-section of the top

I constructed the top pretty much per Melissa’s instructions, though since I wasn’t including a self-bra I chose to use a softer, simpler edge finishing. I simply turned and coverstitched the edges.

Pinning the edges of the neckline
Pinning the edges of the neckline

I coverstiched right over my coverstitching to secure the Y-piece to the shirt back.

Pinning the Y-piece for coverstitching on
Pinning the Y-piece for coverstitching on

When all the edges were hemmed, I tried the thing on. And it’s SO comfy! However, I am not really sure whether I got it right. I have a very relaxed shirt at this moment, but I’m not sure whether I’d prefer it if the back were snug to my body. What do you think?

Sorry for the grainy photo--this is the unamended back view
Sorry for the grainy photo–this is the unamended back view
This is the view of what the top would look like with the side seams taken in (they are pinned).
This is the view of what the top would look like with the side seams taken in (they are pinned).

I will try running in this top and then see how it feels. I kind of like the very loose back, but I may try with some color- (or pattern-) blocking elements in the Y piece and a snug band at the upper back, with the main back piece gathered in. I think this is going to be great fun!

Let's have fun with this!
Let’s have fun with this!

 

Pyjama Dresses

Since my goal in sewing is to make clothes I really want to wear every day, I’ve been sewing a LOT of knits. Some of this is just practical, as for example the Style Arc Nina cardigans that I have (one acrylic sweaterknit and one merino doubleknit) are workhorses that I wear all the time. Here’s one Me Made May selfie of me in one of them:

It's hard to see, but this is one of the Ninas--I wear them ALL the time.
It’s hard to see, but this is one of the Ninas–I wear them ALL the time.

And some of it is because I love walking around the world looking put together but feeling like I’m wearing pyjamas!

I have two pyjama dresses to share with you today, one which I made up in April, and one that I schemed and dreamed and lusted to sew up for weeks while stuck finishing my homework for the moulage* class I took at the local community college this spring. I finally made that up this past weekend.

(*The moulage, or “French pattern” is a kind of skin-tight sloper drafted to measure, from which one can draft a sloper, a jacket sloper, a knit sloper, etc. I took the class from Lynda Maynard at Canada Community College, with Cindy and a bunch of other wonderful ladies–and a gent! It was fantastic, even if I did spend 15 hours trying to get my sleeve and my sloper to kiss and make up.)

The first I’ll call the Easter Egg dress, and it came to life because of a confluence of events:

  1. I wanted to make another Craftsy Weekender dress for its pyjama-esque qualities
  2. I had fallen in love with Seamster Patterns’ new Rose Hip Tights pattern and found an amazing fabric for them
Seamster Patterns Rose Hip Tights
Seamster Patterns Rose Hip Tights

3. I found some Robert Kaufman cotton/spandex jersey in colors that would coordinate with the tights.

Next thing you know, this fabulous outfit was born!

Easter Egg Dress, Tights and Ocelittle
Easter Egg Dress, Tights and Ocelittle
Easter Egg Dress in the wild, Me Made May 2014
Easter Egg Dress in the wild, Me Made May 2014

This next one started as a twinkle in Heather B’s . . . pyjamas. What can I say? I learned from her pyjama sewing (and then Katiediddiehopper’s fantastic Trifecta tops and more) about the existence of Lillestoff. Otherwise known as the cutest prints on earth on organic cotton jersey—Oh my goodness I love this stuff.

Since Night Foxes seems to be all sewed up in this world, I chose my second favorite print, World of Knights, and ordered enough for a Kitschy Coo Lady Skater. Which I purchased as part of the Perfect Pattern Parcel #1. What could be better? It just took a while before I could attend to making the dress up, as I had homework to finish (gardblangin’ sleeve!). Thank goodness, however, said homework helped me do my very first flat pattern adjustments for a great fitting experience. W00t for me! It’s actually been a really great sewing month or two for me.

Just in case you’re interested, here’s what I did with the moulage and the tracing from Kitschy Coo’s pattern:

Figure out how to line up the two pieces for comparison (center line, of course, and inside shoulder points)

Comparing Moulage and Pattern Piece
Comparing Moulage and Pattern Piece

See that I would need to take a LOT of length out of the bodice to get the waist to my natural waist

Overlapping at "Lengthen/Shorten" line
Overlapping at “Lengthen/Shorten” line

Make up a muslin (not pictured)
Check the half-hip circumference against my own half-hip measurement and decide I wanted just a skosh more swing to the skirt to skim over my prodigious hips, then
Slash and spread the skirt piece by the needed 1/8”

Slash and Spread!
Slash and Spread!

Draw in the curve for the extended hem.

Fix the Curve!
Fix the Curve!

After muslining the bodice I added a bit of length back in, but as it happens I think I’ll want to take it up about ¼” next time. But it’s still pretty great, and it’s my first time really comparing a pattern piece to good measurements and succeeding in making proper adjustments.

That’s pretty much the whole story. I used ¼” clear elastic for the first time, having used knit stay tape on knit shoulder seams in the past. This pattern calls for elastic on the waistline as well, which seemed wise, so I anted up and used the real thing. It worked just fine, even though I skipped straight to attaching it while serging the seams. I also set the neckband in the round as I like that finish better. I’m very pleased with my coverstitching, which is getting ever better as I get used to my newish Babylock, and I’m pleased as punch with the dress.

Knights in a Garden!
Knights in a Garden!

Aren’t you?

KnightDress09 KnightDress08

The best thing is, this one won’t get worn to work! All my other pajama dresses are work-appropriate (in my line of work, software development, the dress code isn’t too formal), and I love that now I have a super-happy dress just for leisure time!