New Look 6945 Button Up Top Muslin (pattern review)

New Look 69 45 Sewing Pattern. Lined button up blouse with sleeves or sleeveless.
New Look 69 45 Sewing Pattern. Lined button up blouse with sleeves or sleeveless.
New Look 6945 is a lined button up blouse sewing pattern that comes in sleeveless, short sleeved, and three-quarters sleeve options. I bought the pattern because it said “easy”, not because I loved it. The shirt is casual without a lot of separate pieces and topstitching, etc. It is short and hits just below the waist. There are a few pattern reviews online.

The pattern runs big with a large amount of ease and I had to make a lot of alterations to make this wearable (which never happened). There is a large amount of ease in this pattern. It was a huge pouffy sack with a gaping neckline without alterations.

Changes I made:

  • Went down many sizes on the front piece to try to make this awful pattern fit better
  • Removed 1 and a half inches from the upper bodice back. I guess this is a change I may make often in the future…
  • Brought the front shoulder up 1 and a half inches
  • Removed 2 inches from the hipline on the back pattern piece
  • Shortened the bust darts by 2 inches or so
  • A million other changes that didn’t pan out
new look 6945 top front view muslin
I guess the upper chest is too long?? I had to pin up wedges at the sides of the armholes/ armsyes

Overall, this sewing pattern did not fit me in the least. I went down to a size 8 in the front bodice and the shoulder straps were still superrrrr wide! I had to ad over an inch to the shoulders to make the top stay on my body. And since it was also inappropriately low cut I also had to add a ton to the upper chest or else risk being mistaken for a daytime hooker.

I made change after change to try to make this pattern fit me. In the end I had to concede defeat and give up. At least I tried. On to the next failed project!

new look 6945 top side view muslin
New Look 6945… Doesn’t fit, never will
I cut out over an inch from the upper back, and there are wrinkles in the small of the back and below it.
I cut out over an inch from the upper back, and there are wrinkles in the small of the back and below it.

Colette Sorbetto Top Muslin

Behold, my Colette Sorbetto Top muslin! The Sorbetto top by Colette is a free downloadable sewing pattern for a tank top blouse featuring a box pleat down the center and a bound neckline and arm holes.

OKAY YES I KNOW I sewed this shirt with an odd hodgepodge of fabrics. Struck by sensory overload at the fabric store, I picked a cotton voile that it turns out is actually incredibly ugly. Lavender flowers, bunches of purple grapes and royal blue vines, what was I thinking?? As I was standing at the cutting table I realized that this fabric was a mistake. It was probably only semi-subconsciously that I ruined half of my fabric through sloppy cutting and did not have enough fabric to make this shirt. I found some purple polyester something in my tiny fabric stash and used it to sew the front of the shirt.

Colette Sorbetto Top Muslin
Colette Sorbetto Top Muslin. Sorry about the crazy fabric colors!

CHANGES I MADE to the Sorbetto Top

  • The Sorbetto top is short, in my opinion. I lengthened the shirt two inches. I added the length at the waist, not at the bottom, to avoid a flared out edge near the hips. Make sure you have enough fabric to do this if you lengthen the top.
  • The Sorbetto top seems to run big. I made a size 4, even though that is smaller than my waist measurement indicates that I should make. It seems to me that unless you have a large bust and tiny waist, this top may be a bit too billowy and oversized to be flattering, so consider making a muslin first to test the size.
  • I would like to cut a little extra room in the arm holes next time.
Colette Sorbetto Top Muslin
Colette Sorbetto Top Muslin

The Sorbetto sewing pattern requires bias tape binding. I couldn’t find it specified if that meant single fold bias tape or double fold bias tape. I went with single fold, and that worked. I needed a reminder on how to sew single fold bias tape binding, and the tutorial at Nothing New Treasures was very helpful. You can also make your own bias tape using the Colette Patterns tutorial for a perfect match to your fabric. A half inch Bias Tape Maker will help this process go quickly and smoothly.

The construction of this shirt actually went just fine. Even sewing on the bias tape binding went okay. The only real problem for me was hemming the bottom of the shirt. Its still hard for me to fold a small amount of fabric (a quarter of an inch) evenly. When I make the real version of this shirt, I am going to use some of the vintage hem tape I found in my grandmother’s sewing box. Stitch in my Side has a tutorial that explains how to use hem tape perfectly.

Hmm… the more I look at my mismatched shirt, the more I like it. I know that it is just a false sense of pride from having actually sewn a garment that will not immediately fall apart. I am going to make a real version of this shirt using less hideous materials.

There are some lovely examples of the Sorbetto Top that other Colette Pattern fans have made. Inspiring!

Megan Nielsen Ruched Maternity T-Shirt Sewing Pattern

megan nielsen maternity t shirt
Megan Nielsen Maternity T-Shirt

Well now that I am 40 weeks pregnant I am FINALLY getting around to sewing the Megan Neilsen Ruched Maternity T-Shirt pattern! After all, the pattern package says it is great for post maternity too, so why not? For this maternity top I used the leftover turquoise cotton jersey fabric from one of my Vogue 8390 wrap shirts.

This maternity top sewing pattern is simple, with only three pattern pieces and four total pieces of fabric to sew together. Megan Nielsen sewing patterns are printed on nice thick paper, so no messing around with annoyingly fragile tissue paper. My swollen and clumsy hands can’t handle tissue paper right now, so this is great. I used a walking foot and a stretch stitch.

Simply put, this pattern was great! I would recommend it even for beginners. Of course its a maternity t-shirt pattern, so you will want a fabric with stretch (like jersey). If you are okay sewing with jersey, then I think you should try out this pattern!

Megan Nielsen Maternity Shirt
Megan Nielsen Maternity Shirt

There is one change I would make to this sewing pattern. I wish there were some notches or markings on the arm holesfor the sleeves. Even though you are supposed to ease in the sleeves, there is no guidance on the pattern for doing so. Now I admit I have hardly ever sewn sleeves, so maybe this is just the norm and I am in the wrong. Still, if I had my way the armscye and sleeve would match up more easily. I got around this by ironing the sleeve in half (before sewing them to the shirt) so I would have a nice crisp line to match up to the shoulder seam to pin in place. I then stretched out each half of the armscye to the point where it matched the sleeve edge and started pinning like crazy so I could sew it in place.

This shirt was pretty fast and easy to sew. And it nailed one crucial point, being long enough to cover the bottom of a belly bump. I don’t know why some of my professionally made store bought materntiy shirts are so short that they expose my stomach. Listen up designers, maternity shirts need to be wider AND longer unless you are trying to bring back belly shirts. Since I am happy with it, I am (maybe) going to make another version. I would love to have a longer, tunic length maternity shirt! The rouching will make it more flattering for the awkward postpartum period I think. Plus since this pattern was expensive at $18 PLUS shipping from freaking AUSTRALIA, I want to feel like I got my money’s worth. Still, I would definitely buy this pattern again

sewing maternity t-shirt
40 Weeks pregnant! Megan Nielsen Sewing Patterns Maternity T-Shirt
Maternity T-Shirt Back View
Maternity T-Shirt Back View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found a few verisons online that I loved. Girls in the Garden made a cute missioni-esque shirt. Maybe I will get the courage to try a print someday! Cotton and Curls sewed a lovely floral print shirt. And Mad Mimsewed a cute turquoise print version.

My Problem: Wavy Seams on Knits/Jersey Fabric

wavy puckered knit fabric
Sleeves are wavy because I stretched out the fabric as I was sewing.

I don’t know why, but the hems on my sleeves and the bottom of the shirt are wavy. Obviously, I want the hems to lie flat so the shirt looks less homemade. I used a stretch stitch and walking foot. I am not sure what causes the puckering on the hems. I did iron the neckline flat before sewing, but not the arms or waist hems. I THINK that I stretched out the fabric as it was being sewn, which was a mistake? So next time I will try a different approach, perhaps:

  • Starch and iron, a la Fishsticks and Fries?
  • Be sure NOT to stretch out fabric as it is being fed through the machine? I need to make sure I am not stretching knit fabric, according to the great guide on how to sew knit fabrics on Prudent Baby
  • Maybe Serge??
  • Sewing Machine Tuneup for Tension adjustment?

Men’s shirt- Mccall’s M6044

I’m sorry about the lack of posts recently- I’ve been making muslins for Butterick 5638– I am determined to learn how to fit patterns to my body, so I can make clothes that fit great.  It’s been quite a struggle, but I am making real progress! I’ll post about this separately.

McCall's M6044 Men's shirt
McCall’s M6044 Men’s shirt

Ever since I started sewing, my partner has been asking (nagging) me to make him a shirt. I decided to make it over the summer while he was gone (yes, I am behind on my posts) I was pretty daunted, but making a men’s shirt wasn’t so bad! He likes cowboy style shirts (style E on M6044), but I was realistic and knew I could not make that shirt yet. I went with style A, which is a simple short-sleeved button down with a pocket.

 

 

 

 

M6044 in plaid seersucker
Success! Sorry it’s a little fuzzy- this was absolutely the only picture he would pose for.

For the fabric, I chose a dark blue and white plaid in a cotton seersucker weave. Partner keeps on saying he thinks the weave is weird, but I say too bad! Seersucker is supposed to be great in hot weather. I’m sorry he doesn’t like it more, but still think choosing a fabric that makes you more comfortable is worth it.

I made several alterations to the pattern- instead of using plain seams, I used French seams wherever they were straight enough for me to manage it- I think this was a great decision, since the seams are stronger and the shirt looks better and closer to store-bought. I think flat-felled seams might have worked too, but was not in the mood to try a technique I had never done before.

I also added an additional pocket, since I know he likes to have one on each side.

The biggest change I made was to use pearl snaps instead of buttons- for this, I had to buy a Dritz Heavy Duty Snap Fastener Plier Kit

I’ll admit, even with the pliers, putting the snaps on was tough- for starters, the first time I did them, I put them on the wrong side, forgetting that they would not be coming up through a layer of fabric like buttons do. And, the snaps were just difficult to put on. Despite my best efforts to make sure all parts were flush with the pliers before using them, sometimes snaps were misaligned, so that the attachment prongs were sticking out at odd angles. I had to use an awl to pry misaligned snaps off and try again with a new snap. I do think that it gets easier the more you practice, but I am going to plan on having extra snaps from now on.

All in all, a success! I’m going to try sewing a cowboy shirt this winter. Glamour Glory also loved M6044.

Maternity T-Shirt Refashion

Project: DIY maternity t-shirt
Cost: Price of shirt + elastic
Supplies: Loose T-shirt, matching thread, 1/4″ knit non-roll elastic

Well world, I am now 22 weeks pregnant (over half way through!) and I am looking starting to show. And by ‘show’ I mean that I look pretty chubby. No cute baby bump for me yet, just bloat. I feel like the only woman in history who has ever felt like this. My weight gain is on track, so what is up? DON’T JUDGE ME!

pregnant belly
Not me

My sewing activities came to an abrupt halt due to 1) exhaustion, and 2) loss of motivation due to said chub. Let me tell you, the sad lack of cute maternity sewing patterns does not help inspire me. Why do they want pregnant women to look so bad? I feel oppressed!

Unfortunately, the few cute pregnancy sewing patterns I have found online are out of stock, and it appears that they will stay out of print for the duration of my pregnancy. Come on, fire up the presses and print up those patterns before an entirely new human being is formed in utero! Megan Nielsen designed some contemporary and flattering maternity patterns, but they are all unavailable on her website (and apparently through resellers too).

The alternatives to new maternity sewing patterns are maternity pattern alterations and maternity refashion sewing projects. Both of these are challenging to me as a novice sewer!

I decided that my first pregnancy sewing project would be a t-shirt refashion. By adding ruching to the sides of a large t-shirt I will add shape and comfort to a boxy, unflattering shirt. The idea for this project came from Homemade by Jill. I found that Sew Like My Mom had a very helpful tutorial. However, it was essential for me to subtract 3 inches from the length of elastic she used in order for me to get a ruching effect. (So, measure 4 inches from the armpit seam and 2.5 inches from the bottom of the shirt, and subtract 3. Cut this amount of elastic, but beware that maybe different kinds of elastic need different adjustments). I would love to try to alter the waist of some jeans some time like she did.

Maternity T-Shirt with side ruching
22 Weeks pregnant and nothing to wear!

I needed more guidance on how to sew ruching with elastic. WhatTheCraft.com had a helpful elastic ruching tutorial.As in the tutorials, I decided to sew on the elastic to the sides of the shirt while it is stretched out.  I had some problems getting the shirt/elastic to move through the machine.  I have several unsightly thread balls in the shirt.  They are never coming out.

Sewing the elastic was super annoying.  Ripping it out was worse. If you are not pregnant, you may need a drink afterwards.

Elastic for rouched sides in a maternity t-shirt
1/4″ Inch elastic added to sides for ruching

Verdict:  This project has lots of potential if you have a shirt that is already flattering in the chest and shoulders, and if you know how to sew elastic.  I  used again with a women’s large t-shirt. Once I adjusted the length of the elastic needed, I was pretty happy with the results. I think a cute semi-fitted pregnancy look is the way to go, instead of the circus tent look. I think I might need to look for a longer style shirt in the near future.

I am still wearing my regular jeans thanks to the good old hair tie trick or my Bella Band. The Bella Band is great because it is much more comfortable and it covers up the zipper on your pants so people do not constantly tell you that your zipper is undone.

Luv in the Mommyhood posted a very helpful list of maternity sewing projects that I want to try out!