Saturday, July 31, 2010

Review: Hot Patterns 1111

Pattern Description: (From the HP website) "You’ll look effortlessly fabulous in these lovely tops, designed for drape-y fabrics like crepe, charmeuse, rayon, washed linen, crinkle viscose, georgette, or even a silk-y jersey or fluid T-shirting. Relaxed-fit pull-on Tops have a straight, tunic-style silhouette and an underbust seam. Tie-front tunic length top features a boat neckline; applied ties to shape the front, plus optional back darts. Ruffle-trimmed blouse version has an underbust drawstring, a wide-set collar and a front button fastening on the upper bodice, a curved hemline, fluted ruffle sleeves & front trim. Asymmetric front top has a side-front opening and can be worn open, or buttoned closed. Mix your neckline, sleeve and trim options for maximum fashion mileage. Wear any of these stunning styles over slim or full straight-leg pants or jeans, or even over a skinny below-the-knee pencil skirt for a gorgeously casual but elegant look."

Pattern Sizing: Multi 6-26. I started with an 18 at the neckline based on my previous experience with Hot Patterns. It was HUGE and fell right off my shoulders.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Kind of yes, kind of no.

Were the instructions easy to follow? The instructions were sufficient for the view I made, but steps such as grading, clipping, and understitching were missing. I'm not saying they should be included, but if you're not already familiar with these techniques and when to use them, this pattern won't teach you. ;-)

Overall impression of finished garment: I wanted to love this top, I really did. And I do love the line drawing. But unfortunately, I ended up with a sack with flipped out facings. The "sack" is my fault because I know I don't like or look good in drop-shouldered, loose-fit tops and yet that's exactly the style I sewed.

The problem with the facings that don't stay put is a combination of too big of a neckline and too much weight in the seam. In some spots there are 6-7 layers with the collar, flounce, interfacing, bodice, etc. A lightweight stable woven instead of a knit should make a difference. The knit I used is heavy so it definitely exaggerated the problem.

Fabric Used: A very fluid knit. I did interface the neckline facings with a non-stretch fusible, and still the facings wanted to flip outward. There's just too much weight/bulk for them to do anything else.

Pattern alterations: Because the shoulder/neck width was so big on me, I ended taking a 1" tuck down the center back of both the upper back and the facing. This helped, but the neckline was still too wide and too low.

I also cut off 2.25" from the bottom edge of the upper pieces because the underbust seam described/shown on the pattern envelope was a waist seam in real life. You can see the original seam pinned together marked in red in the photo below. Removing this length brings the seam to underbust on me. (I would test/measure this again if I were to make this top in a woven but the pattern pieces tell me I will still need to remove length even without a stretch factor.)

If I were to finish this top, I would also remove about 2 inches from the bottom before hemming since it is way too long on me. I used the shortest length option on the pattern. But I would rather end up with too long that I have to trim than too short and be stuck.

I was short on fabric so I cut the neckline flounces almost in half lengthwise. I can't imagine what that extra weight and length would do to the already overloaded facing seam!

Conclusion: I haven't decided if I'm going to try this again with a different fabric. While I love the way it looks on the envelope, my recent track record with these boxy styles has been 0 for 2. On others, this style is fine. If you do make this, test the neckline size in muslin and don't use a heavy fabric if you're making the flouncy version. Learn from my mistakes!


  1. In NZ, "111" is our emergency services number (your 911) so whenever I see lots of "ones" together I think there is a disaster coming... It's so hard isn't it, to stick to what we know suits us when there are so many exciting styles and interesting things we'd love to try.. a lot of the time I just say, what the hey, you never know. I'm all for taking risks and wearing things with confidence that you love even if they don't "suit" you necessarily. So good on you. Do it again. And again. You may be pleasantly surprised with what you can make work.

  2. Debbie,
    I just wanted to take a moment and tell you how much I appreciate the time you take to share your sewing "adventures" and "misadventures" with us on your blog. Your reviews are like a private lesson! I am still at the beginning phase of learning how to "fit" clothing, and I am always excited to see a review on your blog.
    On a personal note, I too am the Mom of 2 sons (35 and 32)...and I love it!

  3. Thanks for the "heads up" with this pattern. I love the picture on the envelope. I now know I will have to give this top some serious fitting thinking if I decide to make it.

  4. The print is beautiful - such impact. Is that the one that Ann had at GorgeousFabrics? I'm sorry it was used for something you won't enjoy.

  5. I sympathize with you completely. I have several new surplice patterns in my stash. I even started one, all the while knowing that this style never works for me. Never. But I fall for the neat pictures on the envelope and think "well just this time might work".

  6. I always think I'd love to have a new style top, too. But too often I'm reminded that I stick with the basics because that's what works for me. I also have issues with facings flipping outward, and I've never figured out quite how to conquer this, so I often use a binding at the neckline, or, when I'm lazy, I just serge and turn under twice.

  7. I traced the one with buttons and sleeves and decided that it won't look good on me. Like you I know that these kinds of tops are not suited to my body, but those damn drawings seduce me; must be amnesia or something that afflicts us. It's even more unflattering on the narrow, slope shouldered figure that I have. At least I'm only out the price of the pattern, not the lovely linen I was planning on making it in. When I saw that you were making this, I figured, well if Debbie thinks it will work for her, maybe I'm wrong. Glad I waited for your review.

  8. I too bought this pattern with high hopes and my measurements matched their size 16 exactly. I made the button top and although I have broad shoulders it was way to wide in the neck - you can see both bra straps! Maybe I am silly but I still want to try the tie top. I think gathering it under the bust with the tie might work - just need to alter the neckline and remove those facings!

  9. We all have wadders now and then. I like the top on the left top corner..the beige one. No ruffles. I think the two color one is nice also but without that gathering on the front. Looking forward to seeing your next creation

  10. Such a bummer that this wasn't more of a hit for you. Love the fabric though.


Thank you for each and every comment. I appreciate them all, but I have to be honest and let you know that I'm usually bad about answering questions. I hope you understand that there just isn't enough time in the day to do everything I want to do.

To help keep spam comments under control, any comments to blog posts that are more than 30 days old are moderated and will not show up immediately.