Thursday, June 21, 2012

third time's a charm?

I'm joining Elizabeth's

needle and thREAD

My sewing and reading this week have gone hand in hand.

Last Thursday, after not having visited Alabama Chanin's journal in months,
I decided to take a peek and saw this top.

picture from Alabama Chanin
I never wear white ~ but I love this!
So much so, that I ordered the book that contains the pattern.
It just so happened to arrive the very next day 
(I love it when Amazon gives me overnight shipping for free!)
right as I was heading in to lay Lexi down for a nap.
Just like I did with my first Alabama Chanin book, Studio Sewing + Design,
I read it cover to cover in one sitting.
Being genetically predisposed to not following patterns or recipes exactly,
(although, I did follow Kacy's moms' recipe for Gumbo for Kacy's birthday exactly exactly)
I had to change things up.
The neckline, I knew, would need to be raised about an inch.
and I knew I'd want the shirt a bit longer in front.
To trace the pattern and make adjustments, I used my lightbox

also known as, a window.
I knew changing the neckline, since it was comprised of 2 pattern pieces, would be tricky
(plus, I don't think, when they made the larger sizes, they did it correctly; 
the upper left portion of the piece I am tracing in the above photo 
should only be a 1/4 seam allowance on the side, with no seam allowance at the neck. 
This caused me an hour of consternation and mutterings and texting my sewing buddy)
so what I did, was leave those neck lines intact when I cut out the pattern, 
then overlapped the edges of the pattern pieces 1/4 inch, 
folding the seam allowances to the side and marked then cut the new neckline.
It worked perfectly!
Not wanting to take f o r e v e r  handstitching a muslin, I opted to use the machine.
I used a size L instead of XL, hoping it would fit snug enough that I can lose weight and it'll still look decent,
without being too tight, right now.
But the L was too snug, and I wanted it longer still (I'd added about 1 1/2 inches to the front)
so I taped pattern sheets to the window again
and started over.
The results were much better, but still too short.
And the fit at the armholes wasn't exactly perfect, 
and the neck ended up a tiny smidge too wide, and it doesn't lay just right
so it was back to the drawing board to alter the pattern again.

You would think all of this work would be frustrating to me,
but it really hasn't been.
(I actually wore muslin #2 all day yesterday; I tried it on to check the fit before finishing the neck and arms
and I just never took it off. It is soo comfortable)
I'm going for perfection here.
Attainable perfection, at least ;-)
it's round three.
But hey, third time's a charm, right?

Yesterday, I pulled out and re-read Alabama Studio Sewing + Design again.
Then I ordered the second Alabama Chanin book (my third)
I just couldn't help myself.


  1. Go you! What a testament to your patience--two muslins. I think it's funny you never wear hit--I always wear white tops in the summer. I could easily have a whole wardrobe of them. However, I'm a little challenged when it comes to buying white fabric online...

  2. The shirt looks super cute and figure flattering. I can't wait for you to model this! White is refreshing, but you could always make this in black with the red stitching too!

  3. Lovely! I love Alabama Studio, and this shirt is beautiful! Good luck in getting it just right!

  4. This is exciting! I have just the first book, but it's the one with this pattern in it. I have always loved the look of it, but am skittish about knits. Do you have any advice about knits? I mean, I suspect they respond well to hand-sewing, but I have a hard time finding good quality knits, especially in white, especially if I were wearing it myself (sheerness issue!).

    Can't wait to see the perfection!

  5. Ok. I've heard about this 'Alabama' sewing before on another blog, but now I finally get it! I think I like it. Thanks.

  6. Oh Elizabeth ~ if you could see what a mess I am halfway through the day, you would understand ;-) I splashed chicken broth on my muslin yesterday in less than an hour : / I'm starting to get a little concerned with my choice...
    Fabric shopping online gives me a headache! I'd love to go to LA and shop the fabric district :-)

    Ter ~ All those seams, it's GOT to flatter!!

    Meg ~ thanks :-) I'll definitely be posting it when it's done

    Jeannine ~ when I sew with knits I reduce my presser foot pressure which helps it feed through evenly without stretching. ALWAYS use either a ballpoint or a microtex needle. and sew with a bit if a zig zag stitch (your machine likely has a stretch stich option) so your stitching will stretch with the fabric. Maybe you could just use an old t-shirt and make a few bean bags or something to gain confidence?

    I spent quite a bit of time comparing fabric online, I THINK I picked something similar to what AC sells (but $10 cheaper per yard!) we'll see....

    Oh Kaylana ~ you would just love AC style, I think! (with a raised neckline, of course ;-) all that gorgeous texture!! I wish we could look at my books together....


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