In my last post I spoke a lot about how my distorted perceptions of how I look affects the choices that I make for sewing clothes for myself. I’ve joined in a couple of sew-alongs, one of which is specifically for using patterns that have been sitting on the to-do pile for a long time. Quite often these patterns are sitting there untouched because I’m not sure how they will look on me once I make them.

I don’t fit into any of the often talked about body shapes – apple, pear, rectangle, inverted triangle and hourglass being the most common. My measurements, and shape don’t match any of those, there is always an exception – long torso, narrow shoulders, DDs, no waist. So, I’ve never had much luck following the guidelines that tend to be provided for these body shapes, not even for the ones that are closest to what I think is how I am.

So, I seem to have decided, slowly and over an extended period of time, to mentally move on from those ‘standards’ and to just move forward with some of the styles that I’ve been wanting to make, but haven’t really been brave enough to attempt. To help with that I’ve started looking into pattern drafting, and that has brought absolute enlightenment. From my earliest self-drafts of a fitted bodice I was immediately able to see why I have so many problems with getting patterns to fit – even those that match my measurements. There are always additional measurements that can be taken, and these lead to refining the shape of the flat pattern piece to fit the individual, in this case, me!

This doesn’t mean that I am going to throw away all my patterns (and I have a considerable collection), on the contrary I am further encouraged to continue my learning in the ways of pattern drafting and develop my skills at altering existing patterns to fit. This learning is a process that I plan to share here on this blog as it progresses, I am taking some professional classes on the subject, even though I quite enjoy text book learning and there is some fabulous materials available on the inter-web, there are some things that are best learnt from practical application and by having someone show you how to do it, and I intend to be a sponge and absorb as much knowledge as I can.

In the meantime, I’ve managed to pluck up the courage to cut into some precious hoarded fabric to sew up some of those patterns that have been lurking in my stash, and I’ve been quite pleased with the results. Today I’m going to share a top that I have made using an old Butterick pattern, No. 3626.

So this pattern is obviously 80s and features a raglan top or dress with either flutter or batwing sleeves and a midi-length skirt in two different widths. I made view E, the top only (not the skirt), using a lovely printed Japanese lawn. I have been in love with this print ever since I first saw it, to me it is reminiscent of a tudor rose, maybe with a slight Alice in Wonderland twist. It is a fairly small print however, and from a distance it just looks like a diagonal check.

This top has raglan shaping and beautiful full flutter sleeves. Because this is an 80s pattern it is designed to be worn with shoulders pads. I opted not to include this element! I guessed, correctly it seems, that the sleeves would simply be more drapey, especially in the soft lawn fabric.

The sleeves are very full, and they are cut as two pieces. This required some careful organisation as the pieces were not easy to tell apart when cut, and I needed to make sure that I kept track of front and back, I did this using the assortment of notches to mark various points on the pattern. The sleeve seam is also a curve, so the notches helped there too.

Overall this was a very easy pattern to make, with only 6 pattern pieces, no gathering, no zippers, no binding etc. And no darts. So this top is absolutely, completely, straight down, with no shaping around the body. It is designed as a loose top though, so I didn’t need to make any alterations to fit me, but it does need to be tucked in. I don’t usually wear my tops tucked in, I tend to prefer longer lines that provide some coverage – so I’m stepping out of my comfort zone here…and I like it.

I thought that wearing a top like this would cut me in half and make me look shorter (I’m only 159cm tall – about 5’3″) and “dumpier”. But I don’t think it does, here is the closest to full-length picture I got of me wearing this top – obviously too focussed on the top itself to get a full length shot!

Excuse the funny glare that is happening on my glasses – it was in every shot that day. Just in case you’re interested – the skirt that I’m wearing is RTW, it is just a basic a-line skirt in a medium-weight ponte with a wide exposed elastic waistband and pockets. I love it because it has pockets (I actually have two of them for that reason – I went back and bought another when I realised that it had pockets!). I mention the pockets because they stick out and alter the a-line shape a little, I recall during the first episode of the Great British Sewing Bee that Tilly added pockets to her a-line skirt for the challenge and it altered the shape of the skirt and she was penalised for that, but I think that the shape that is created by the pockets works for me, somehow it gives me a waist! I thought I had permanently lost my waist in between babies number two and three, but there it is, and I couldn’t be happier with that.

The top is loose fitting, as mentioned earlier I didn’t make any alterations to the fit, and it is just perfect for wearing on hot days. I feel very feminine wearing it, without melting in the heat. The fabric choice works so well for this, originally I was going to make it in a crushed velvet! I’m so glad I changed my mind (the crushed velvet was used for another project which will be shared here soon).

This top has a single button fastening at the back neck. This is really the only thing that I fudged. The pattern instructions said to make one of those little loops using thread and somehow finger knitting it or something – I don’t know how to do those. I’ve tried, and it hasn’t worked. So, I stitched a loop made from hat elastic onto the top corner opposite the button, and it didn’t end up looking the neatest, certainly not my best work. But I figure that no one is likely to be close enough to me to see it, so I’m not too worried about it.

The button that I used is one that I’ve kept in a jar, with a whole lot of other odd buttons, since I was a teenager. It is a nice rounded square shape, I like how it works in with the pattern of this printed fabric. The opening is constructed quite easily, there is no fiddly placket here. There are facings for the front and back neck edges. The back facing is shaped all the way down past the point where the opening is cut to. The facing is stitched onto the neckline, and down either side of the centre line at the back – I drew the line with one of those pens with the disappearing ink and then stitched either side of it. Here is a look at the finished facing inside:

The only alteration I made, apart from omitting the shoulder pads, was to the front neckline. I originally made the pattern as it is (without a toile, yes I know that’s a bit naughty, I like to live dangerously), but when I tried it on the neckline was too high and made me feel like it was trying to cut my head off. So I lowered it by about an inch. I did this, quite simply by turning the facing back inside out (so that the facing and bodice were right sides together) and drawing a line on the facing, again with the magical pen with disappearing ink, where I wanted the neckline to be. Then I stitched the facing and bodice front together along that line, trimmed and finished the seam, and turned it back out to the right way. Here is what it now looks like on the inside:

So the facing is just narrower at the front, I topstitched all the way around the neck, so it all sits quite neatly. Just for completeness, here is a picture of the inside neck where the appallingly badly sewn elastic loop is attached:

I actually think it looks neater on the inside compared to the outside. Nevermind. One part that also looks very neat is the tiny little hems that I did using the special hemming foot.

I’ve been getting quite good at using that foot, I think this was my best effort yet, the only trick that I know for it is to move the needle position slightly to right – about 2 ‘clicks’ on the needle position dial on my machine, so that it stitches directly onto the folded fabric and catches it all the way around.

Here is one last look at my sleeve, billowing in the wind, you can see how wide it is here:

A Giveaway and a Linky Party!

And now onto the funnest part of this post – the giveaway! Yay!

The giveaway continues throughout the whole month of January, there are some fabulous prizes to be won including 61 patterns and $235 in store credits to give away. I’d like to give a huge thank you to Sewing by Ti for organising this blog tour, including all these fantastic prizes!

There are two prize packs to win, and two ways to win them.

Prize Pack #1 includes:
2 patterns from 5 out of 4
2 patterns from A Sparkly Baby
1 pattern from Blank Slate
1 pattern from Closet Case Patterns
3 patterns from Create Kids Couture
2 patterns from Daydream Patterns
2 patterns from Duck Butt Designs
3 patterns from Everything Your Mama Made and More
1 pattern from Gracious Threads
1 pattern from Greenstyle Creations
1 pattern from Itch to Stitch
$20 store credit for Mummykins and me
2 patterns from New Horizons Designs
1 pattern from Laela Jeyne Patterns
1 pattern from Rad Patterns
3 patterns from Sew A Little Seam
2 patterns from Sew By Pattern Pieces
1 pattern from Street Style Patterns
1 pattern from Stitch Upon A Time
2 patterns from Winter Wear Designs
$100 store credit to Raspberry Creek Fabrics to buy fabric to start sewing up your new patterns!

To win this prize pack, click the rafflecopter link below and visit the Facebook groups for each of the sponsors. Just going to their group registers you for chances to win one of the huge prizes. You don’t have to join, but we would really appreciate if you give some of our sponsors some love! And of course, while you’re there check out their patterns and fabric and let it inspire you.

click here for the Rafflecopter giveaway

Prize Pack #2 includes:
2 patterns from A Sparkly Baby
3 patterns from Bella Sunshine Designs
1 pattern from Closet Case Patterns
3 patterns from Create Kids Couture
2 patterns from Daydream Patterns
2 patterns from Duck Butt Designs
3 patterns from George and Ginger
1 pattern from Greenstyle Creations
1 pattern from Love Notions
2 patterns from New Horizons Designs
$20 Store Credit to Patterns for Pirates
1 pattern from Rad Patterns
2 patterns from Sew By Pattern Pieces
1 pattern from Sew Straight and Gather
1 pattern from Sis Boom
1 pattern from Stitch Upon A Time
1 Pattern from Street Style
3 patterns from Wardrobe By Me (Akinori Kimono, Urban Joggers and Ziggy Zipper Hoodie)
2 patterns from Winter Wear Designs

And of course more fabric to sew up your new patterns!
$30 Store Credit to Pretty Posh Prints
$25 Store Credit to You Made Something
2 yards of Art Gallery Fabric and a Solid Coordinate from NR Fabrics

To be in the running for this pack, all you need to do is share your photos in the linky party by clicking on the link below:

Note: the fabric is only available for delivery within the US, sorry about that!

I’m really looking forward to seeing what everyone else, and their kids (or pets – anything goes!) is wearing this January.

Blog Tour:

If you’re ready to be inspired, make sure to check out the other blog posts on the tour this week. The last 2 weeks have been amazing. I can’t wait to see what my fellow bloggers do this week. Be sure to click through to see what we’ve all been up to! (Obviously, posts go live on their date.)

Sunday, January 22nd: Sewing By Ti , Embrace Everyday
Monday, January 23rd: Sewing By Ti, Tenille’s Thread
Tuesday, January 24th: Robynne & the Bobbin, Harper + Lu
Wednesday, January 25th: Mahlica Designs
Thursday, January 26th: Sew Sophie Lynn, Creative Counselor, Crafty Like a Rox
Friday, January 27th: Everything Your Mama Made and More
Saturday January 28th: Sewingly Michelle, Sewing By Ti, Wild and Wanderful

I will be posting again next week to round up the month so make sure to check back again.

Thanks for reading.

15 thoughts on “Watcha Wearin’ January – Butterick 3626”

  1. That’s a lovely adaptation of a vintage pattern. I’m inspired to go rummage through these bags of patterns my mother gave me when she moved

    1. Thank you, I’m glad that you feel inspired, it sounds like your mother has given you a wonderful treasure.

  2. I really like that fabric, it looks so nice and light. Your hems are wonderful! I’ve ordered a set of feet and am anxiously waiting for them to arrive, can’t wait to try out the hemming foot. Just an idea but what you said about the pockets on your skirt got me thinking that you would probably look really great in a skirt with a short peplum.

    1. Thank you Jodi, the peplum skirt is a great idea! I’ve added that to my to-make list, thanks again.

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