When I was trying to choose my next sewing project, I knew that I wanted to try one of the fabulous sew alongs available on many sewing blogs. Sometimes (every time?) I want step by step guidance so I can complete a project without drowning in a sea of confusion. I also wanted to work on separates (instead of a dress). Lastly, I wanted to work with jersey again since I was happy with my last two projects using knit fabric (Vogue 8390 Version 1 and Version 2).
I came across a sew along on Fashion Sewing Blog that looked like it fit the bill: New Look 6648 Sew Along. This sew along includes lots of clear pictures that take you through the crucial steps of making this top.
The New Look 6648 Shirt Sewing Pattern is a loose-fitting top that still looks flattering. It has wide sleeves and a wide waistband that falls to your hips. It looks cute and casual. It is highly recommended on Pattern Review by many reviewers. In short, it was a perfect candidate for my next sewing project!
In the end, this top came out… big. Really big. The neck is huge on me. Its less of a scoopneck and more of an off the shoulder top. I don’t have narrow shoulders at all, so that’s not the problem. The neck band fit perfectly so I didn’t mess up there. I guess I just made the wrong size and I should have made it smaller.
Next time I make view A, I am going to consider a smaller size and also grading to a smaller size at the neckline if possible.
The other thing I am going to do is mark the fold line on the waistband pattern piece more clearly. I think that hand basting the line would work, or maybe using a tracing wheel and dressmakers’ tracing paper. You need to clearly see the fold line to make your side gathers on the waistband the correct size.
I did like the pattern, and I think that I will make it again soon in a different version. It was fairly quick to sew (allowing for my glacier-like pace of course). It is good practice for beginning to learn how to sew with knit fabrics.
When quickly researching this top, I found that many people had made great versions of New Look 6648. Peacock Chic made a fun, bright yellow version that I love but I could never ever wear that color! I’ve never worn yellow AT ALL. She looks great though! She says that the shoulder measurements seemed big too.
Girls in the Garden have made this shirt several times, with fabulous results every time. I would love to find a border print fabric like they did to make this shirt. Yarn Crawl did a cute version of this top, using view A like I did. I love it!
My most recent (and best!) project so far was the Very Vogue 8390 Wrap Top. Since I was happy with this project, I decided to make a second version. I am happy to report that my second Vogue 8390 shirt is completed and ready to wear!
For this version, I used a 100% cotton jersey in bright turquoise. This particular jersey is fairly thick and holds it shape well. It was on sale for half off, so it ended up being $3.00 a yard. I made the short sleeve version (view B).
To skip the facings, this is what I did:
- Remember that the sewing pattern instructions tell you to cut out you fabric with some of the pattern pieces wrong side up. I forgot about this and had to re-cut the front pieces of the shirt so the right side would be facing out. Luckily I had plenty of extra fabric.
- Try to buy a very closely matching thread because it will be on display.
- Before you sew your pattern pieces together, add a 5/8 inch turned under hem to the bottom of the shirt body pieces and to the chest/neckline edges of the shirt front. (A hem that is turned under twice (hiding the raw edge) would probably be better, but this was too difficult and not worth it to me.)
- Trim the extra fabric from the turned under edge. Be careful not to cut into the fabric anywhere else. Do this before sewing the pattern pieces together. This just made it easier to assemble all the pieces neatly without too much extra bulk in the seams.
Again, I did have to ease in the sleeves on this version. Maybe that is normal for all sleeves, so its not in the pattern instructions?
With summer coming up, I might consider making Vogue 8390 in View A, he halter top version. I am not sure… I don’t love the way halter tops look on me, and plus it would be pretty low cut. Looking around, I saw a couple of really cute versions on some sewing blogs. The Subversive Sewer made a nice halter top with this pattern. Journey to Couture made this shirt and mentioned that with a thicker fabric that having the facings made it feel too bulky.
I really liked working with the jersey, and I would like to work with knits more in the future. Using the walking foot and stretch stitch worked find with my sewing machine. I did have one instance of my fabric being stuck inside of my sewing machine, but unscrewed the throatplate and pulled out the fabric and that fixed it. I had seen a YouTube video about a jammed sewing machine, so I knew not to panic.
Ok, so far sewing has been a challenge. But I am still excited to learn how to make my own handmade clothes. I know that I will have to learn a lot in order to make anything successfully, and I continuously struggle to understand pattern instructions (which seem to be written in code). My latest project, (Its so Easy) Simplicity 2418 has been my most difficult project so far. I used a smooth polyester fabric that is supposed to resemble silk.
I made the slit front version (View B), not the cowl neck version. I don’t do cowl necks, although Katiekadiddlehopper made a gorgeous version that suits her perfectly. Two specific parts of this pattern were difficult for me to make: the front of the shirt (the v-shaped part: step 7) and the yoke (step 12).
Step 7 (the front of the shirt) includes lots of stitches that must meet at the correct point for the shirt front to lie smooth and flat.
The yoke was a particular challenge because I had no idea what a yoke was. When I hear yoke, I think ‘oxen’. The pattern instructions for how to attach the yoke are on Step 12. Unfortunately the illustration for step 12 was created by a blind drunkard. Here I have reproduced it:
Thankfully, the pattern instructions explain what is going on in step 12. These instructions were very helpful. Here they are:
12. Aliquam lorem ante, dapibus in, viverra quis, feugiat a, tellus. Phasellus viverra nulla ut metus varius laoreet. Quisque rutrum. Aenean imperdiet. Etiam ultricies nisi vel augue.Curabitur ullamcorper ultricies nisi. Nam eget dui. Etiam rhoncus. Maecenas tempus, tellus eget condimentum rhoncus, sem quam semper libero, sit amet adipiscing sem neque sed ipsum
Is that clear?
It was at this point that I realized that the pattern authors must have decided to start condensing the pattern instructions to an unreasonable degree so they did not have to include a third piece of paper in the pattern instructions. Another piece of paper would have cut into the profits.
It took 3 full muslins for me to figure out this pattern, and it still looked terrible. Here are my tips for help on Simplicity 2418 if you are a novice:
1. Make a muslin. Use large baste stitches so you can try again if/when you mess up. Don’t backstitch so it is easier to pick out the stitches. You don’t need to make a full length version of the shirt, just work on the neck, yoke and top of the back.
2. For STEP 7: Remember what our friends the Ghostbusters taught us: DON’T CROSS THE SEAMS. You will sew 3 different stitches to meet at the center low point for the shirt slit.
Have the exact point in mind where you need to stop sewing so each one of the three stitching sequences do not cross each other. Otherwise the front of the shirt won’t lie flat.
3. For STEP 12, you will be enclosing the raw edge of the back of the shirt inside of the raw edge of the yoke. The aforementioned Step 12 illustration fails to make this clear. If you are a complete yoke novice like me, remember that the yoke is not spread open in the shirt. It is folded wrong sides together, so you have the right side of the fabric both facing outward and also against your back (just in the yoke portion) in the final completed version of the shirt. I noticed that Miss P mentioned that the yoke instructions were confusing, so if an experienced seamstress feels that way then I don’t feel too bad about being a bit lost.
Here are some details on how to attach the yoke, in case anyone else needs help with step 12. There is probably a better way to do this, but at least this will get the shirt made.
Start by opening up the two pieces of fabric that make up the yoke. Place it wrong side up. You should have already folded up and pressed 5/8 of an inch of the yoke’s raw edges. Place the back of the shirt so that the raw edge of the back of the shirt is aligned with the right side of the yoke flap. Pin and sew, as the directions state.
- The directions state to attach the font of the shirt to the shoulder of the yoke. I think you can finish attaching the back of the shirt to the yoke (my step 3) first, but in the end it doesn’t seem to matter as either way will work.
The Yoke is now partially attached to the back of the shirt. Fold the yoke closed so that the wrong sides of the two pieces of the fabric are together. Align the pressed folded edge of the yoke so that it aligns with the back of the shirt, covering up the raw edge and creating a neat line. Pin and sew as in the directions.
After you have completed Step 12 and attached the front of the shirt to the shoulder portion of the yoke, you will have a nice even neck hole, pleats at the front of the shoulders, and gathering at the center of the back. You are ready to complete the arm holes and sew up the sides of the shirt next.
Ultimately, the sleeves on this shirt don’t suit me, and the shirt looks a bit shapeless even though I made a size smaller. The sleeves stick out too far as the edges are stiff, when they should drape down my shoulders and my arms. This makes the shirt unwearable.
I thin I might have a bit more luck with this pattern after I have a bit more sewing experience.