If you live in the upper midwest, I’m sure you know what happened this week. Hint: It got cold. One day we were at the pumpkin patch sweating in long sleeves, and the next day we were at the park with friends and my head was screaming “WHEN DID IT GET SO FREEZING COLD AND WHY DIDN’T I PACK GLOVES?!” I came home to put the button placket on my polka dot dress, and it suddenly looked less like The Dress I Can Layer With Tights, and more like The Dress That Will Give Me Pneumonia. Such is fall in Wisconsin. I’ll see you in spring, sweet thing, when I feel like wearing a sleeveless flimsy lawn slip again.

My mind has already been wrapped around LONG SLEEVES for a few weeks now. And how I own very few items that aren’t full of holes, pilled to the point of embarrassment, over six years old (hi there, pre-kids clothes!), or maternity items still loitering in my drawer. Time for a clean out and a redesign.  And when you need clothes in bulk, why not make multiples of the same pattern?  It’s so much faster to make a second, or a third, because the pattern is already proofed and fitted. You’ve figured out how you want to stitch your seams, and the best order to do so. Making a multiple usually takes half the time, and keeps going down with practice.

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My first tops of the season were inspired by a little thing called Lularoe. A lot of you have probably seen this brand making the rounds as cute stretchy pieces billed as easy to wear and figure flattering.  You know by now what a sucker I am for a novelty print, extra points for holiday themes. I’m not even a person that wears leggings to sleep in, but I suddenly felt like I NEEDED Halloween leggings. And then realized after I bought two pairs that I gave away all my tunic tops, and I was up a s!%* creek when it came to styling these with anything.


I had McCalls pattern 7021 from last summer, which I’d passed over when I made my scuba peplum top in favor of a pattern with more shaping. This seemed like a great pattern for a drapey rayon/spandex jersey, and would work well for some *ahem* backside coverage in a tunic length. I like my tops to be slightly more fitted, with a waistline emphasis, and not too much volume.  Made up almost as a mini dress, this seemed to be the ticket.

The cut:  I sized down a size from my standard, because I like to utilize the negative ease in knits more than patterns generally account for.  I tissue fit the bodice pieces like in Make it Fit:  Bust points, and added a bit of length as it seemed too short.  I redrafted the neckline to be a scoop, following the line of one of my favorite T’s instead of the drafted boatneck.  I also lengthened the peplum for more coverage with leggings, and made it an even length figuring I could cut it off later if I wanted to shorten or do a high-low hem like the original.  With the changes, I barely squeaked it out of 2 yards, with a completely different layout than the pattern. The second sleeve piece had to be flipped the other direction and nested.

The first top:   I stitched everything initially with a zig zag to double check fit before taking it to the serger.  It didn’t have enough shaping, so I whittled down the waist and the sleeves.  I cut a neck band at 70% of the finished stitch line to finish the neck edge, which ended up being just a bit small for my liking but fine enough that I left it alone.  At first pass attaching the peplum, I realized the weight dragged the bodice down so far I’d need to cut off a lot of the excess length I’d added.  I tied a string around my waist, chalked off the adjustment, took it off, cut, and restitched.  One of my prepurchased peplum tops uses a clear elastic to stabilize the waist, which I tried to attach when I serged the seam.  It worked fine but was really scratchy, so I cut a binding and encased the finished seam.  I finished the sleeves with a zig zag hem, and left the peplum raw edge since it’s a circular piece that would surely curl up in the wash and never hang well after the initial wear. I’ve used this rayon/spandex jersey before and it washes fine left raw.

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Note the differences in waist construction; also all the stops and starts on the seams of the black (1st) versus the smooth lines on the purple (2nd).

The second top:  I immediately cut into the purple the next day, marking all changes onto the pattern pieces, and just going for it. No zigzag, just straight through my serger. The only seam I zigged on my sewing machine was the waist.  I wanted a different finish, so I made a casing between two rows of stitching, and serged the seam allowance shut after inserting the elastic. Less bulky, softer, and less steps.  The benefit of making two back to back literally cut my time on the second shirt in half.  It made up in a little more than an hour, and after midnight when your eyes are already starting to close but you just wanna push through. This is the true bonus of duplicates, they’re just automatic and you don’t even need to think.

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And look how cute they are!! Not my typical style for sure, but I think it ended up being a more flattering shape than most oversized tunic tops.  They’re so comfy, I may need to make one up as a full dress length.

Well, I really am my daughter’s mother.  Twirls just run in the family when you’re wearing a full skirt.

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I have to say, these are some of the coziest outfits I’ve worn in awhile.  Perfect for these rainy cold days when you just wanna snuggle up on the couch and knit, or have to go out but want to stay in clothes as comfortable as your pajamas.  Please pray no one calls me out on still wearing them through November.  Shhhhhh.

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Miss Cakes instigated this leaf fight.  I swear.

Happy Halloween from Wisco!  Stay warm out there!

Rebekah

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