Monday, June 6, 2011

a knit top from almost nothing

Ever been fabric shopping, seen that perfect fabric, and then realized there just wasn't enough? Ever bought the fabric anyway, hoping you'd be able to make it work? (is there any other way to buy fabric?)

I do that, too often. Partly because I'm in love with whatever the fabric is, partly because it's dang hard to resist a remnant at 1/2 off, and partly because I'm pretty sure you really don't need 1 1/4 yds to make a simple knit top, even for my real-women-have-curves size. And, usually, I'm right.

This cute knit top, made from S3759 (same as my pale yellow top seen here) says it requires 1 1/4 yds of 60" wide fabric. Not so. I made this from a remnant measuring a minuscule 32" (the yellow top was made from even less fabric, but I had to piece the neck band). How can you do that, you ask? (Okay, maybe you don't really care, but I'm going to tell you anyway.)

It's all in the layout. This top has a suggested layout that, while wasting a bit of fabric, also makes it easy. But with a little creative positioning, you can still get everything you need. First, you'll position your front and back pretty much like they tell you, which leaves a ton of fabric left in the middle, frustratingly too narrow to easily cut out the sleeves (except for the super-skinny gals - you'll have plenty). What to do? It's all the fabric there is, and I really really really want this shirt! (I'm sorta spoiled that way.)

Just do this:
 which will get you one sleeve (that's a single layer of fabric in the middle), and then this:
which will get you the other sleeve.

Obviously, this will not work if you've got a directional print (all the flowers standing this way, not that way) or a fabric with a nap (velvets have nap - run your hand one way over them, soft and smooth, run your hand the other way....sharkskin!), but it will work for most fabrics.

If you're looking at the first sleeve position there, and thinking that I'm going to cut off a corner of the top, you're right. But it's okay, because that's in the seam allowance, and after I sew it up, that will get serged off, and nobody will know it wasn't there to begin with. Cutting corners is allowed, as long as they're within the seam allowance.

When I was ready to cut this out, after making sure both sleeves fit on the fabric, I removed the sleeve piece and cut the front and back. Then I unfolded the fabric at both ends, cut out my neck band, and then positioned and cut out the sleeves. I had figured I'd be able to fold the fabric the other way and cut both sleeves together, but it didn't quite line up right, so I cut them one at a time. Just make sure you turn your pattern piece over so you have both a right and a left sleeve when you're done.

And there you have it!
A cute knit top from less than one yard of fabric. Love it.

(Not that you're asking, or even remembering, but I did cut this one as a 16 above the waist and an 18 below the waist, as I thought I might want to after wearing the yellow top. I think it fits better.)

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