Thursday 3 July 2014

Merino and Tonic

Nope, it's not a cocktail for a thirsty sheep farmer, but the recipe for the perfect winter basics for me!

Do you remember I made the free downloadable, Tonic 2 by Skinny Bitch Curvy Chick? It was here in my "I'm so fussy" blogpost.

For that one I made shorter 3/4 sleeves 'cause that was all the fabric I had in that super cheap, knock out a trial run, orange stuff. It never occurred to me that sleeve length may be an important aspect of making a muslin. (you can see where this is going right?)

For my next one(s) what I did do was split the pattern vertically on each side and add a 6mm in width so that the shoulder was truly at my shoulders rather than being a bit narrow as above.

Then I decided, seeing as it was winter, I would have a few of them in merino, and perhaps I should raise the neckline about 4cm at the front and add a turtleneck....

I simply ran a tape measure around my new neckline, then cut a rectangle that was the same length as the neckline and twice the height I wanted my neckband to be. The SBCC pattern has you cut the narrow neckband on the bias. I figured that wasn't really necessary so the big neckband is cut on the same grain as the rest of the top, sewn into a loop then serged on and the seam stitched down.

But eeeek, the sleeves were so short! Even unhemmed they were a good four centimetres too short. I decided a cuff would suit the neckband so I cut a cuff that was as thick as I thought I could get away with and attached the cuff the same way as the neckband.

For the next one I added 5 cm to the sleeve length and left the neckline as per the original pattern

It looks like the sleeves are OK here, but when I do stuff (which, as much as I wish I could avoid it, is what I spend my days doing) they ride up a bit and still seem to short.

I'd already cut this third one with only 3cm added to the sleeve as I was planning cuffs again.

The neckband on this one was a bit lower as I didn't have as much of this fabric as the others. In fact , this fabric was pilfered from the kids sewing stash, whereas the other two has been purchased with sewing for me in mind. Once I started on my selfish-merino-base-layer-sewing ride there was no getting off!

There was another bit of stashed, not-meant-for-me merino that was large enough for another one:

This time I had the 5cm extra sleeve length AND I added a small cuff. Finally, a happy sleeve length. I must have monkey arms as I've decided I need about 8cm extra length in the sleeves. However the top length is straight from the pattern (size L) and is perfect. The pattern comes in two size groupings; XXS-L and XL-3X, and considering it's a free pattern you don't even have to choose. There must be a size there for everyone, surely.

Apologies for the dreadful photos. I have a terrible headcold, am exceedingly grouchy and kept getting distracted by kids. Almost every face was a sour one today. Still, I've been wearing these four tops almost non stop since I made them and just getting them all photographed and on the blog seemed important. It's the everyday basics that really make you feel like you know what you're doing, right?!


  1. I commented yesterday, but it hasn't shown up so I'll try again. If you end up with two comments from me, you'll know why!

    The tops look great and I love the colours you chose. I bet you are wearing one of them on this chilly Melbourne day! Tell me, are there any tricks to sewing with merino or is it much like sewing with any stretchy fabric?

    1. Sorry about the commenting problem. I haven't a clue why it plays up sometimes, so I don't know if it's anything I can fix...
      I've been wearing these tops non stop. The colours definitely go with everything in my wardrobe. No tricks to merino that I know of. It's lovely to sew as needles just go through it like a hot knife through butter. It's very stretchy stuff so the hems really need a double needle with very loose bobbin tension.

  2. The tops look great! You can't beat a free pattern that works well for you.;) I definitely prefer longer sleeves too. Ones that hit right at the wrist when my arms are hanging down annoy me.

    1. Thanks Cindy. I held the sleeve pattern up to my arm, but of course a straight arm is decidedly shorter than a bent one. Lesson learned!


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