Friday, October 25, 2013

Baby's First Pattern Hack

I finally sewed something that's not a quilt!  (There's been a lot of quilt-sewing going on around here lately - I've already started a new one.)

A couple months ago I was reorganizing my fabric stash, and came across a lovely floral knit I'd completely forgotten about!  I bought it in spring during a sale, but it's really more appropriate for fall so I set it aside.  After I found it, I spent some time thinking about what it should become, and I finally settled on a scoop-neck tee with medium-full sleeves gathered at the wrist. 

So out came the Renfrew, and I gave the sleeve the ol' slash and spread.  And I took pictures along the way in case you'd like to try it too.

After tracing my sleeve pattern, I drew some lines parallel to the grain line, about 1.5" apart.


I also drew in the seam allowance on the sleeve head.


Then I cut up all the lines except the center one, almost up to the seam allowance line.  It looks like an octopus, doesn't it?!  There are 7 strips though, so I guess it's a heptopus . . .


I cut in from the outer edge almost to the seam allowance line, to create a little hinge at the top of each strip.


I order to get everything lined up nicely, I decided to tape my original pattern to my mat, and then tape the slashed pattern on top of that.  Then I decided how wide I wanted my sleeve to be at the wrist.  I didn't want it to be too full; the original sleeve measures about 10" across at the wrist.  I went for 19", just under twice the width.  I measured out from the center to get that width, then lined up my outer strips and taped them down.  Then I distributed the rest of the strips as evenly as possible.


Once I had everything positioned the way I liked it, I traced over the whole thing again.  I felt that was easier and quicker than taping pieces of paper into the spaces.


Here are my two sleeve patterns:  hacked sleeve on the left, original sleeve on the right.  It was a very easy piece to draft, but I'm still super proud of myself for doing it because usually I'm too lazy to do this sort of thing!


Then I went about constructing the top in the normal way.  Once I had the shoulder seams sewn and the sleeves attached, it was time to gather the bottoms.  I thought of getting out my sewing machine, but then decided to try out gathering on the serger.  It's one of those things I knew you could do on a serger, but had never actually done.  And it's really easy!

I did a few samples with different settings on the differential.  I started out with the dial all the way up, and then worked my way down, notch by notch.  It was interesting to see the samples get incrementally less gathered.



What I didn't do though is to measure my beginning and ending width, so I didn't know the percentage of gathering on any of the pieces!  I decided to gather my sleeves like the middle piece, but once I'd done it I felt it was still too wide, so I went back over it with the setting turned up as high as it goes. 


And then I continued with construction as usual.  For this look, I wanted a narrower wrist binding, so I cut the pattern piece in half. 


And here's the whole top:


I think it's really pretty.  I love this fuller sleeve.  The only thing I wish were different is the wrist binding:  my fabric doesn't have a lot of stretch, so the binding doesn't hug the wrist as much as I'd hoped.  Next time I will probably add in a little elastic there.  But still, I'm very happy with this make!

I had a terrible time getting a good picture to show the puff of the sleeve while wearing it.  Here are three mediocre snaps, because it's all I have time for!




Trust me, it's blousy :-)

37 comments:

  1. Hi Gail, it's lovely! And the clearest tutorial on slash and spread I've seen. It almost makes me feel like I can do it, which is saying something! :) I'm going to try to make a "blousy" renfrew of my own!

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    1. Wow, thanks, Kari! That makes me really glad that I remembered to take pictures as I worked - I usually don't remember until after the fact!

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  2. Wow, this is a great top, the gathered sleeve is a lovely detail and I'm crazy about this print, it's gorgeous!!!

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    1. Thank you! I love it too. It's one of those that's no longer available - if it were, I'd probably get more!

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  3. Terrific tutorial - and nice hack.

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  4. We must be on the same pattern wavelength again because I've been contemplating a Renfrew hack myself (a dress version). I really like your sleeve change - it gives your shirt a fancier look :)

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    1. We seem to do that a lot!

      I agree with you - a tiny bit dressier, less t-shirty, but still not too fancy. I'm sure I'll do more of these.

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  5. Ooh pretty! Can I add you to my list of pattern mods for the Renfrew? You'll be famous (lol yeah right! ) but still, this is really cute and a great idea! :)

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    1. Yes, please do! I looked for a tab or button on your blog, but couldn't find one. I was thinking how my spread is at the opposite end of the sleeve from yours :-)

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  6. Oooh so pretty and feminine! Great idea :)

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  7. nice pattern hack! hadn't thought to do this with the renfrew--i love it!

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    1. Thanks, Lisa! I was inspired by some tops I bought from Boden many years ago with sleeves like this.

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  8. This is a nice, comfy blouse to be wearing. I like how it goes with your minty skirt.

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    1. Thanks, Stef! I wish the skirt fit me better, because the color is perfect!

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  9. You are so clever! The blouse is adorable, as always!

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  10. Ooh that's really nice! It makes the Renfrew (which I still haven't made, reckon I must be the only one in the entire world...) look really fancy. Nice fabric too. Right clever!

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    1. Wow - I think you are the last one in the world! Make this pattern! You won't regret it!

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  11. This is brilliant! Thanks for the detailed instructions.

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  12. Oh, I love it! I finally got around to buying the Renfrew at the last sale, and I really can't wait to delve into it. Your hack is great!

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    1. Thanks, Kelly! I think this is my most-used pattern ever. This top is number 13 or 14! I've lost count! Such a basic.

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  13. This is adorable. I love the fuller sleeve.

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    1. Thanks, Kirsty! This is something I could see you wearing!

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  14. that's a great idea! I think it's a great look, less sportswear if you see what I mean. and congratulations for going all the way into hacking, I'm usually too lazy to do that too, although I often discover it takes less time than I thought

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    1. Thanks - I agree with you. Less "t-shirt" and more "casual top." That's what I was going for :-)

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  15. Great tutorial! This really dresses up the Renfrew. I need to learn more about my serger since I had no idea I could gather using it.

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    1. Thanks, Shar! I need to learn more about my serger too. Apparently you can even blind hem with it! Although how that works is beyond me!

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  16. I definitely need to do this. I love blousy knits! Perfect pairing of pattern hack to fabric. :)

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    1. Thank you! I found myself wondering if you had this same fabric in your stash. I wouldn't be surprised if you did!

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    2. Haha! I remember seeing and liking it, but I didn't get it because I already have another piece very similar in my stash. A rare moment of sanity. ;)

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    3. I think you mean "insanity" - it's so pretty! You should have gotten it!

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    4. What an incredible enabler you are! Between you and Lisa, I manage to fully regret every piece of fabric I don't purchase from GC... :)

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