Stevie the Second: Jersey Edition

A long while ago, I attempted two different projects with two beloved pieces of fabric and I managed to screw them both up. It was so incredibly disappointing to look at those failed projects and think about all the things I wish I would have done differently. But the fact that I loved the fabrics also made me hold onto them for much longer than I probably would have otherwise while I puzzled through a possible salvage operation.

 

Tilly and the Buttons Stevie

 

It took about 15 months, but I finally figured out how to get a wearable garment from both projects, starting with this shirt. While I was still working on my tulip-print Stevie Top, I ended up moving my fabric stash into a new storage cabinet and, in the process, found myself puzzling over the remnants of this gray and black pinstripe jersey and wondering how I might get some kind of top out of the pieces.

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This jersey is from Mood and it feels lovely—it’s a cotton, rayon blend that is soft and completely opaque while still being lightweight. It also has very little stretch—maybe 15% at most—which makes it a poor candidate for a lot of the knit top patterns I have. I didn’t really have enough fabric to make something with sleeves but also didn’t think I would get much wear out of a tank top. I started wishing I had a knit pattern in a style similar to the Stevie top when I realized that the Stevie pattern would probably easily work with a fairly stable jersey.

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The only significant change I made to the pattern was to eliminate the back closure, cut the seam allowance off the center back yoke, cut the yoke on the fold, and then redraw the back facing piece to match the new yoke. I kept the top-stitched facing because I thought the detail of the stitching would complement the fabric and the style. I wanted to keep the back yoke because it made it easier for me to work with the fabric scraps I had on hand, but I also wanted to play around with the direction of the stripes, so I cut the lower back with the stripes going vertical. I had just enough fabric to cut out the pocket piece, so I added that to the front for just a bit more detail.

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I love the resulting shirt. It’s not perfect—the floppiness of the fabric means I had to tack the sleeve cuffs down in a few places, sometimes the facing and necklines wrinkles a bit at the neckline, and the pocket has a tendency to sag. But there’s something about the whole look of the shirt, including its imperfections, that just looks cool and casual and modern. It’s really just a t-shirt, but it makes me feel fancier than any other t-shirt I own.

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I’m so happy that I’m getting to enjoy this fabric now, and even happier that I’ve turned a failed project into a big win.

Tulip Print Stevie Top

Just a couple of weeks after Jude was born, while I was still fully immersed in the post-partum haze, I did some ill-advised online fabric shopping. The history of this blog shows that I primarily sew knits. It furthermore shows that I primarily sew solids, mostly in neutral colors. And yet, despite these clear preferences, I order several lightweight woven fabrics in prints—some florals, some novelty prints, some bright colors. Why? I have absolutely no idea. But I do know that I now have 2 yards of a blue flamingo print rayon voile that I have no plan for.

Tilly and the Buttons Stevie Top

Maybe my post-partum brain could see something my rational, rested brain could not. Because I used this tulip-print rayon challis from Cotton + Steel to make the Stevie Top from Tilly and the Buttons and it’s become one of my favorite garment projects to date.

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I made the largest size in the pattern, which is labeled a size 8 and fits a 44” bust. I skipped the bust pocket and used a button loop closure rather than the back ties. I lengthened the body by 1″ but otherwise made the pattern as is.  This was simple, straight-forward, pure pleasure sewing. I love that the facing is stitched down—it means the facing isn’t flopping around but I also like the way the top-stitching looks. The boxy fit with the cuffed, cut-on sleeve is probably my favorite warm-weather style right now, and I wish I had a whole closet full of shirts like this for summer.

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The Cotton + Steel rayon was really easy to work with and the weight and drape is perfect for this top. The simple style lines of the Stevie make it a perfect pattern for a larger scale print. I honestly did not think I would ever enjoy wearing a floral top this much, but I feel very comfortable and very much like myself when I wear this. I’m so pleased with this shirt, I wore it to Convocation, which kind of made it my back-to-school outfit for this year.

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What will become of the other prints in my stash? I have no idea. I know that a lot of sewists find prints super inspiring to work with, but anything more adventurous than a minimalist, monochrome motif seems to really stress me out. And yet, I can’t seem to just get rid of these fabrics. So I’ll keep staring at them and keep looking for the right pattern and maybe in another 10 months, I’ll hit the project jackpot again.

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