I did finish my tops yesterday and then my book last night, so it will be off to the library this morning.
Here is the finished remake of the original Walmart top. The only changes I made were to change the black contrast panel to white and hem it about 3" shorter. I'm very happy with this change, especially since it netted me a raglan pattern for "free."
Here's the new top I made from the pattern I traced off the parts of the Walmart top while I had it
To make this top, you need a knit raglan pattern with a scoop neckline. I actually didn't have a TNT that fit this bill or else I probably wouldn't have been so inclined to rip apart the Walmart tee. As I've been learning just now, finding a pattern for a plain raglan top is easier said than done (unless you win yesterday's Giveaway), but I did find one in the Kwik Sew line, here. This is obviously a hole in the Big 3/4's catalogs. I wonder why.
Once you have a pattern, you need to trace an additional front piece onto tissue or pattern paper. Don't cut the tracing until you've made the changes because you're going to be extending beyond the original pattern lines.
To make the cowl overlay, you need to extend the center front about 1-1/2" inches at the neckline (on half a pattern, for a total of 3"), tapering to nothing at the hem. If you want more cowl, extend more than 1-1/2". Next you will draw the cowl facing. The facing is shown below from the dotted green line upward and is shaped so that when folded down, it fits exactly onto the neckline of the new pattern piece. The differences between the original front and the new cowl are outlined in green. Hopefully, a picture is worth a thousand words here. However, not shown here and important is that the cowl front should match the back at the sideseams, but the contrast panel is about 3-4" shorter at the hem edge than the front and back pieces. It must be shorter so that its bottom edge doesn't show when the top is worn and so that both fronts can be hemmed independently. Since the contrast is your original pattern, just fold up the bottom edge before cutting fabric.
So, now that you have your pattern (right?), it's time to start construction. Note that my seam allowances are 1/4" everywhere except the neckline edge (3/8") and the hems (1"). It's easier to turn and stitch a smaller seam allowance. I used a serger and coverstitch machine for construction. If you don't have one or both machines, you can use a slight zigzag stitch for seams and a twin needle for topstitching (or more zigzagging).
Here we go …
First, press under the neckline and bottom hem on the contrast panel. (I use glass head pins on knits that have a mind of their own so I can keep them in place while I position a press cloth and hot iron over top.)
This photo isn't really a step - just showing what your contrast panel should look like now. I'm guessing yours won't be orange, though.
Next, sew the back raglan sleeve seams to the back of the top. Back only — the front will come in a separate step later. After the back sleeve seams are sewn, turn under the neckline edge and press. Depending on your fabric's recovery, you may want to serge or ZZ some clear elastic to this edge before turning under and stitching. My fabric has good recovery so no clear elastic this time, although I did hold the pressed-under edge in place with some bits of Steam-a-Seam 2.
After pressing the neckline edge under, topstitch it in place. I used my coverstitch machine. You can use yours if you have one or a twin needle or a zigzag stitch.
Next, press under the cowl facing on the front.In the photo below, the cowl facing is at the bottom — just easier for me to press while it's in this position.
Lay the front on your table, wrong side up, with the cowl facing still folded to the wrong side. Lay the contrast panel on top of the cowl front, also wrong side up. Pin (or baste) one front sleeve seam, as shown below by the blue "pin" lines. Repeat for the other front sleeve seam, making sure the cowl facing remains folded, to be caught in the front sleeve seam.
When pinning, the cowl edge (with the facing still folded down) should stick out just a hair above the top of the contrast panel, as in the photo below.
Here are both front sleeve seams pinned together. The two fronts won't lay flat now. That's OK.
Next, flip both pieces over so that the cowl front is right side up, as below. You could've pinned/basted with both fronts right side up, but I found it easier to lay the cowl front flat while pinning and then flip.
Next, put the back section (with the sleeves already semi-attached) on top, right side to right side. Pin/baste the sleeve fronts to the cowl/contrast "sandwich" at the sleeve seams, as shown below.
Sew the front sleeve seams so that all three edges plus the cowl facing are caught, as indicated by the blue lines below.
If you're constructing with a serger as I was, keep a long tail at the neck edge and using a blunt large-eyed needle (or your favorite tool), run the tail back through some of the stitching and then trim it, as shown below.
At this point, the sleeves are attached to the fronts and back, but the underarm and sideseams are not yet sewn. So, while your top is still mostly flat, press under the sleeve hems and the front/back hems so you don't have to press in the round. It's just easier. Don't stitch them yet.
Next, with right sides together (the pic below shows wrong sides together, so ignore that part!), stitch the underarm and sideseams in one pass (well, two passes), as shown by the blue lines below.
Stitch the pre-pressed sleeve and bottom hems in place. Do not catch the contrast panel in the bottom hem.
And, voila! Done!
And again, me wearing the new top:
And now for the LAST Giveaway this week …
… (drum roll)
… a $35 Fabric.com Gift Card!
To enter, leave a comment on this post and I will use the Random Number thingie to pick a winner.
Carolyn commented yesterday, "So you're downsizing right? That's the reason for all the giveaways?"
Nope. If I was actively downsizing, it would take a year of Giveaways. ;-) But what I am doing is "Paying It Forward." I'm sure you all have noticed that I have advertising in the sidebars of this blog. It doesn't generate a lot of cash and it takes a long time to accumulate to where I'm actually paid. But, I did just get a payment and since it's because of you, my readers, I wanted to return the favor. Hence, the Giveaways, and Thank You! for reading and following me and my ramblings. :-)
* * * * *
And the WINNER from the July 12, 2011 Giveaway (Simplicity Fabric Guide) is …
Congratulations meredithp! Please contact me at djc at cedesign dot com with your mailing info no later than Wednesday, July 26, 2011 (after all Winners have been announced, in case of duplicates). If I don't hear from you by then, I will draw another number/name.
Fine print: For all the Giveaways last week and this week, each entrant can only win once and in the case of duplicates, I'll contact you for your choice and then draw again randomly on what's left. Clear? And if you do enter, please check back over the next two weeks to see who won because if I don't hear from you within a few days after announcing winners, I'll draw/decide again. I will close comments on this Giveaway on Monday, July 25 2011 and announce the winner on Tuesday, July 26, 2011. Again, anyone anywhere can enter this or any Giveaway this week.