So, I am still very much into all the sewing projects. I am taking a break from buying ANY ready to wear apparel in 2018 and instead am trying to sew and knit anything I might like to wear or add to my wardrobe instead. One pattern that was new to me this year is top called Shirt no. 1 from 100 Acts of Sewing. (Here's a link to purchase.)
It's a super simple pattern (great for the beginner sewer!) with just two pieces, one for the front and one for the back. The neckline is finished with bias tape. If you need one, I shared a tutorial for attaching bias tape and finishing a neckline in my highlighted Instagram stories. You can see it here.
The first time I completed the pattern exactly as recommended. I used this beautiful nani iro double gauze fabric and it was a great weight for the top. I decided to add a contrasting striped pocket (just a simple rectangle).
The second time I had some patterned linen from Jo-ann fabrics that I wanted to turn into a dress. I use the top of the pattern to shape the top of the dress and finished it with a gathered skirt made from two rectangles (each were 36" wide and 26" long) sewn together like a tube. To get the top shape right, I folded the pattern up and cut in about 1.5 inches at the body so it was tighter around the chest. I shared a full tutorial for building this dress on my IG stories (you can see that highlight here).
I love how this one turned out! I probably could have used a bit less fabric for the skirt because there is a lot of fabric at the waist but it's a super easy wear.
For my next try, I got a little more complicated. My original plan was to make this top in a striped fabric (see the sample in the photo above) but I wanted to test the size and process first so I used white linen. I ended up loving the fit of the white so much that I'm saving my striped fabric for something else.
I extended the length of the pattern by three inches and chopped it into three different shapes (you can see a sketch of how I broke it up in the photo above). Then I sewed the shapes back together with a flat felled seam. The result is a more fitted and structured top. Because of the way I had to sew the pieces together it lost some width and length.
Next I went for more of a tunic top length. I added the same three inches to the pattern length but just cut one piece for the front and one for the back. I used silk noil fabric for this one and decided to paint a grid using solar dye. I LOVE the result so much.
Unlike fabric paint, solar dye really blends into the fabric so it looks like it's part of it, not just sitting on top. There is also no texture to the dye. BUT, unlike dye, you can really manipulate it during application because you can paint it on. I painted it freehand (no measuring) with a standard paint brush then let it sit in the sun for about 15 minutes.
AND FINALLY, I wanted to make a "fancier" version and experiment with an open back. For this one, I used a woven ikat fabric. The front is one piece but again, for a more fitted look, I cut in about an inch around the body. The back is three pieces.
For the back I cut a yoke (I hope I'm using that term correctly) and then two triangle like pieces. I stitched them together along the long horizontal seam and then used the whole piece as the back of the top. This was such a fun experiment. I think I like the math portion of sewing as much as I like the art portion.
I really enjoyed making these and to me they do feel like five different tops even though the base pattern was the same. I have decided to temporarily retire this pattern from my toolbox and am going to move on to other pieces this summer but exploring this one so fully was amazing and taught me a lot about construction. I realize none of these pattern hacks are full tutorials, but hopefully they give you an encouraging push to try something new! Figuring it all out (and ripping out stitches along the way) is part of what makes this hobby so fun.
links to the ready-to-wear pieces I am wearing above: madewell boyfriend denim (similar), denim vest, madewell high waist skinny denim, birkenstock gizeh sandals, daniel wellington watch (similar here)