So, yeah. When Rachael at imagine gnats asked if I wanted to test some fabric I might have asked for some french terry to work on a project for ME as well! One of my goals this year was to start doing some “selfless sewing”; I spend so much of my time making things for my kids (and customers), that it’s time I make stuff for myself.
To keep things easy to start off with, I chose the newly released drop shoulder top from Seamingly Smitten. I’d never sewn any of her patterns myself but had recommendations from a few friends. And truthfully, it was 50% off at the release so that might have swayed my opinion just a little. Hehe.
Rachael sent me a medium weight french terry in a fun stripe print. When I opened the package I literally wrapped it around my shoulders and fell in love. The french terry is nice and warm without being super heavy. Off it went to be laundered and I began the fun task of printing and taping pattern pieces together.
The pattern was pretty straightforward and came together fairly quickly. Like so many striped fabrics, the stripes weren’t printed completely straight across the fabric, but it was much better than some I’ve worked with. To make sure it wouldn’t drive me crazy every time I looked at it I took the extra time to line the stripes up precisely at the seams. That part was honestly the most time consuming step! Sometimes my perfectionist tendencies slow me down but it was soooo worth it in the end.
The french terry wasn’t as easy to work with as the ponte de roma I used for the ruffle pants, but still easier than some knits. The edges do curl a little. This can be challenging when attaching cuffs or other pieces when you need to stretch one piece to fit the longer length of another. To help combat this, I sprayed the pieces well with Best Press to help them keep their shape. It didn’t stop it completely but made it easier to work with.
I used my serger to construct all of the garment, and then topstitched on my sewing machine (using my walking foot and a ballpoint needle). Because the neckline is so wide I used a long, straight stitch to topstitch the neckband in place. I knew it wouldn’t be under stress to fit over my head so the need for a stretchable seam wasn’t as important. This was more about looks than functionality. I also added a cuff at the end of the long sleeves, and a bottom band instead of a traditional hem. The project took me a couple of hours with intermittent breaks.
As soon as I put it on, I couldn’t stop smiling! When making it again I would make some slight changes to the overall pattern (minimizing the dolman sleeve slightly, and adjusting the overall length of the sleeve and the top) — with this being the first time using it, I wasn’t sure how it would fit but it was good following the directions based on the size chart. And I’m short too so tops are quite often long one me. But this shirt is so incredibly comfortable and WARM. It’s going to be well worn. Especially during the colder months!
Comfy enough that I could stand outside in temps in the low 30’s today, to get some photos! Which was hard for me because I’d much rather be behind the camera than in front of it.
To add some fun contrast, I flipped the fabric on the arm pieces so the stripes went a different direction! Love how it turned out.
You have to love the squinty-looking-into-the-sun photos! I figured I shouldn’t have every one with my sunglasses on…
- This is 100% cotton french terry, and weighs about 13oz/yard. It makes it a nice weight for a lighter sweatshirt without being overly heavy.
- Shrinkage was minimal, and I was surprised. My 2 yard piece shrank about 3″ total lengthwise after washing/drying on medium high temps. For 100% cotton knit fabric this minimal shrinkage is awesome.
- It is a 50% crosswise, 2-way stretch with about 85% recovery. This allows you to stretch it to fit over your body but it will not completely go back until it’s washed/dried again.
I’m so glad that I took the plunge to make something for myself! Can’t wait to do it more often. And you can bet I might have to make myself another one of these tops in a solid color!