Despite a busy month where I didn’t do much sewing, I still managed to finish my March Make a Garment a Month project on time. This is the MariaDenmark Day-to-Night Drape top, which is a very straight-forward PDF pattern. The pattern is for a sleeveless top, but I added sleeves by using the short sleeve pattern piece from the MariaDenmark Brigitte Tee, which is another PDF pattern. I just picked the sleeve size that gave me the upper arm circumference I wanted and was able to set it into the Day-to-Night pattern without a problem.
This is a dead-simple sew. The pattern includes instructions for finishing the back neckline with either fold-over elastic or clear elastic. I had both on hand, but went with a black fold-over elastic for the neckline and I think it makes for a really clean finish. The pattern piece for the front includes a facing that you simply fold over at the shoulder so you don’t have to to do any finishing to the front neckline. After attaching the elastic to the back neckline and then sewing the shoulders together, I attached the sleeves flat, sewed the side seams together, and then finished the sleeves and the hem. Done and done. I did everything except for the bottom hem in a single evening, which is saying a lot since I am a sewing n00b and rather slow.
I haven’t been totally happy with the hems on my last two knit garment projects, so I decided to try finishing the sleeves with bands, and I’m really happy with the way that it looks. It gives a very clean finish with very little effort. For the sleeve bands, I just cut out a strip of fabric that was 2” tall and just slightly less wide (by about .5”) than the finished circumference of the sleeve. For the bottom hem, I considered using a twin needle, but couldn’t figure out for the life of me how to do so on my new machine. It’s weird because the machine came with a second thread spool but I can’t find any place in the manual where it explains where to actually attach the second spool. So in lieu of using a twin needle, I created a faux-band hem finish like SarahLiz describes in one of her recent blog posts. I’m pleased with the way that it looks and, quite honestly, I think a band finish might become my go-to for simple knit projects like this.
I didn’t make any major fit changes to this pattern, aside from grading from an XL at the shoulder to a 2X at the bust to a 3X at the hip. I have some strain lines at the bust so I probably should have done an full-adjustment (the pattern even links to a tutorial that shows you how to do one on this particular pattern), but I didn’t. I’ll probably give it a try the next time I make this pattern. The only other change I made was to add .5” at the shoulder. Since this is drafted as a sleeveless top, the shoulders are more narrow than you’d want for something with sleeves. Even with the added shoulder width, the shoulders are still sitting too far in, although I think this might be an effect of the way that the elastic is currently pulling the back neckline in. The pattern tells you to cut the elastic 10% shorter than the length of the neckline, but I think that next time I might cut the elastic just a smidge longer.
The fabric is a cotton-rayon slub knit from Girl Charlee. The fabric color is described as burgundy, but it’s closer to purple than red, and the slub knit effect gives it some black texture throughout. (It’s been very gray in Syracuse so none of these pictures do a great job of capturing the color. The very first picture is probably the most accurate as far as capturing the color.) The fabric has good stretch and drapes well, so it was a good match for this project. It’s lightweight but not sheer and it feels very cool. This will be a good shirt to wear in the thick of summer—good news for me since I’ll be teaching during July and August. They have this slub knit fabric in a few other colors and I’m thinking pretty seriously about stocking up. Since I don’t really like wearing prints, it’s nice to have solid colors that have a bit of texture to them.
All in all, I’m really happy with the way that this project turned out—it’s comfortable, it fits well, and I think I’ll get a lot of wear out of it. I can definitely see myself making this pattern again. I’d love to try making this in a lightweight sweater knit with long sleeves. I’m also so pleased with the fit of this top, that I’m planning to try the Brigitte Tee, which is by the same designer, in hopes that it fits a bit better than the Kwik Sew pattern I tried earlier this year. But for the purposes of MAGAM, I’m going to set the knits aside for a bit and try to develop my skills fitting and sewing wovens. Onward!