Whew, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted. We had a good time at my in-laws in super ultra northern CA after the massive road trip that it requires to get to them which included a stop in the Bay area for a Giants’ game (so fun) and some good fabric shopping at Stone Mountain and Daughter and Eureka Fabrics. I won’t take the time to sort out my purchases–you’ll see them as I sew them up I’m sure.
Back at home, it’s taken me a couple of weeks to get back in the swing of things, but yesterday I was able to crank out a badly needed tee. To boot, I’m back on track for the t-shirt project!
Criss-Cross Top pattern showdown:
I’ve been eyeing Jalie’s Criss Cross top pattern for a long time. Years probably. I love anything mock wraplike in nature, and the x design is really flattering. I loved it so much that cheap me decided to “replicate” it in New Look 6729
It has a similar look–the x design across the front, but it’s a cut-on sleeve, and as I found out when I made this version, the smallest size is too wide for me across the shoulder, and the side seams have an absurd amount of ease. The criss cross was all droopy, it didn’t cover the gap in the underlayer, and I had to put in a little triangle because it crossed too low. I remember taking the side seams in about 4″ to help the drooping issue and even then, they flare out at the hips considerably. I didn’t even write about this top when I made it about a year ago it was so weird. I first considered it a wadder, but it’s worked out well for me as a maternity top. In fact, the silly side seams have so much ease that I’m comfortably wearing this at nearly 24 weeks pregnant no problem even after my 4″ seam monkeying, and I could still pinch out about 4″ of flare from the hips. And the X still sits funny.
What did we learn here, people? Jalie makes better t-shirt patterns. Period. Is it annoying that I have to order them and pay like $12/each one instead of making a quick stop to JoAnn’s and getting a pattern for 99 cents? You bet, but in the end, I use my Jalies so much and the fit is so great that I’m starting to think that all of those “cheap” patterns are not that great of a value.
So in thinking about PR’s Mini-Wardrobe Contest (my favorite contest!), I decided to invest in another Jalie. I had this cool lightweight cotton crepe blend knit stripe in this pebbled peachy strawberry sherbet color in the stash. I wanted to make a longer sleeve out of it (not the bell in the pattern but the straight 3/4 from Jalie 2921 as bell sleeves are not my thang), but I was short on fabric. After some fussy laying out, I did have enough for the flutter sleeve that’s included in the pattern. Sadly, I should have cut the sleeve in a single layer because I tried to do so in a double layer, I got about 80% through before I realized that one sleeve would have a massive hole in the middle of it. I had just enough to eek out a cap sleeve from my scraps. I borrowed the sleeve from Jalie 2921 after a quick comparison of the armscye (it’s the same, so mix and match away).
The lower front piece is not seamed to the top but simply tacked to the bottom cross piece. Elastic holds it tight against your middle and the crossover more than covers everything. I stayed true to my Q (32) size in the shoulders and neck and went up to an S (36) below the armscye typical. Over my pregnancies, I’ve come to understand that the 32 never ever moves and that my starting point needs to be just one size up below the armscye. I will need to add to the lower front obviously and maybe the bust as I progress, but for now, my sizing is pretty right on.
I changed up my maternity altering on the lower front. I’ve always used this tutorial from Rostitchery for altering for the bump. This tutorial is absolutely fine as long as you don’t need to add all that much. When you start needing to add say over 1″ in the method she describes, what happens is that the side seams can kind of just tent out. Yes, you have enough to cover your middle, but the fabric just isn’t distributed all that well.
Sandra Betzina had an alternative method on Episode 108 of Power Sewing (do you all know that you can buy individual episodes now? Wish that was an option when I subscribed–maybe it was and I didn’t realize it…). Instead of just adding near the side seam as in the Rostitchery alteration, she has you distribute what you need in several different slices across the front. If I stop to think about it, this makes a lot more sense…the bump is not happening at the side seams, it’s really all in front, so why am I adding inches upon inches at the side seams? No wonder I look back at my later maternity tops from #2 and think, man that looks kind of schmoopy.
So this time, I sliced up my lower front pattern in 3 different places parallel to CF and added 1/2″ in each section at the hem (looking like little triangular wedges). The bonus of doing it this way is that you have not much distortion when you go to true up the bottom. At the end of the day, I’m loving this top and it is definitely going to pop up in other flavors in the next couple of months.
My full review is here.