Saturday, February 27, 2010

Recycling fabric

This is a story of how I recycled this shapeless turtleneck that I can't believe I used to wear 10 years ago

to this top

It all started when I noticed this top in the February Burdastyle magazine:

I liked the neckline and the gathered bust, and had actually traced out the pattern some weeks ago but then discovered I didn't have enough of a leftover fabric that I had planned for it. I didn't really have anything else suitable, so the pattern lingered for a while.

In the meantime, I sewed some other stuff, including the Eva Jacket and the accompanying skirt from the same fabric.

Then about two days ago, I was rummaging around my long-sleeved knit drawer for something appropriate to wear on a rainy day to work and pulled out that turtleneck. I think I probably bought it in like 1997 or so back when I was living in Connecticut and wore such things during the winters there. Well, I would never wear such a shapeless oversized thing in 2010 in California, that's for sure! That's when the inspiration struck me to recycle that grey knit fabric into the Burdastyle top.

Luckily, the top was so oversized, I was able to fit all the pattern pieces on intact pieces of fabric, the only concession being that I had to make the sleeves half-length. From reviews of this pattern, a commonly-cited problem was the tendency of the neckline to be too large and to fall off the shoulders. So I raised the neckline half an inch, and also re-drew the neck edge of the raglan seams on the bodice pieces to be about 1 inch closer to the center front and center back, grading back to their original positions at the side. Finally, I applied clear elastic to the neckline and this helped a lot with the neckline gaping problem a lot of people mentioned.

Well, I won't say the final top is a great success - it's wearable, but I think it really would have benefited from a crisper knit. That old knit from the old turtleneck had stretched quite a bit. I took in the seams but it still hangs sort of large, probably from stretching out some more. I think a knit with a bit of lycra in it would have held its shape a little better. But this was a great muslin for figuring out how to construct the next top I'll make from this pattern. Maybe something in a bright color for spring!

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