Friday, April 8, 2011


My "Yoga" top is finally done.  Butterick 5495 

I have had nothing but problems with the top, and I'm glad to be done with it.  Bear in mind, it was not the pattern's fault.  Most of the problems came from my needing to know a lot more about fit and ease.  It's not what I wanted it to be, but I can say I learned a TON sewing this one.  And, I will still wear it under a jacket.

Ease and Fit Issues:  I sewed this with a rayon/cotton blend with moderate stretch, my first recent foray into knits (remember I'm coming back to sewing after a long time away).  I bought the 16 & above pattern, based on my measurements and had to go back to the store for the smaller size, when I realized how long it would take me to alter the pattern.  There is so much ease in this pattern that the 16 would have been huge.  It's described as a "loose fitting top," so I should have known, but the pattern illustration just doesn't show that.  At least, I figured that out before cutting and sewing the 16.  Then, I cut an 8 in the bust and a 10 in the waist and hip, based on finished garment measurements listed on the pattern pieces.  I increased the length above the waist by an inch or so.  HOWEVER, I didn't do a muslin or pin fit the pattern.  #%$(&.  It sewed up easily and beautifully, and I ended up with a top so tight it look like it was sprayed on!!!

So, I cut open the underarm and side seams and sewed in a 1-2 inch gusset.  You can see the gusset seams at the garment sides above and in the close up below.  Great idea!  Except, it turned out that I needed an additional 1 inch more than I sewed in!!!  #%$(&

So, this morning, I ripped out the gusset seams, re-cut new larger gussets (from fabric I had to buy yesterday, because I used the last of the original fabric cutting the original gussets!) and sewed them in.  It fits now, but the lines would have been cleaner sans gusset.

Sewing Construction Issues:  I learned to use a double sewing needle on this project!  For years, that extra spindle on the top of the machine has baffled me.  LOL!  Now I know.

I threaded both spools into the machine, one thread on each side of the tension disk, and made sure the left spool went into the left needle, etc.  Worked like a charm.  Super fun!  The results are great, but I accidentally sewed over a pin and broke the needle - TWICE!  Of course, I had only bought 1 needle the first time, so I had to run out to get more during my lunch hour the next day.  Having learned my lesson, this time I bought an extra.  The lesson I learned was to have a backup, not to stop sewing over pins!  When I broke the second needle, I was glad I'd bought 2 the second time.  These suckers are so delicate! 
Mind you, I'm not sewing over pins intentionally.  I'm really taking them out.  I just got distracting making sure the raw edge on the underside was being fed into the needle properly so the bobbin thread would cover the raw edge.  It was an accident both times.  Cross my heart, I will not sew over pins.  I will not sew over pins.  I will not sew over pins.  : )

Here are some closeups of the right and wrong sides of the hem.

 It puts a nice zigzag on the bobbin side that catches the raw edge if you aim it right!  Mostly, my aim was right on!

All in all, I'm glad it's finished.  I'll wear it, and I'll be better next time when I tackle these issues.  I bought the Palmer/Pletsch Fit for Real People book, and I'm determined to learn how to fit my patterns.  Thanks for reading!  Happy Spring!  (Pssst - I will not sew over pins.)


  1. Wow, that hem is beautiful. I really need to learn to use the double needle on my machine. I've always been afraid of it.

  2. Thanks Marjie! I was scared to use the double needle, too. Once I figured out the threading, it was really easy. I used a swatch to test out the tension and adjusted it the same way I would with a single needle. It wasn't finicky at all. I didn't have any issues with broken thread, like I had read about. Give it a go!

  3. Twin needles are great when you consider that you aren't shelling out several hundred dollars for a coverstitch machine! :-) Your hem looks great, I always end up with a little extra above the stitching line on the back. Maybe that's the secret to minimal tunneling, since I can't tell that you have any tunneling in your hem. Great job! :-)

  4. Hi Lauren, This is Becky, the other Lauren's sister. YOU ARE AMAZING AT SEWING!! My mom was a home ec teacher and I can barely stitch a straight line. Congrats on your blog, I will be sure to check in.

  5. Countrygirlcouture - yes, there is tunneling. I kind of like it in some places, but would love to know how to avoid it. I have been thinking it's a tension issue, maybe. I'll Google and see what I come up with. Thanks!

  6. Great job on the save! I made this one too and you're correct, it does tend to run smaller in the bust! Your save is definitely a great "design" change and you shouldn't be concerned about wearing it without a jacket