Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Itch to Stitch Nottingham - My thoughts

How does so much time go by between posts?? I really always intend to post more often but then either my sewjo disappears or my blogjo (is that a thing?) does, or both. And then I make excuses to myself or figure no one wants to just read about my day-to-day, especially with no pics! But anyway ... here I am. And I sewed! (I thought this pic was both creepy and hilarious, in a 'The Shining' sort of way.)


This past Memorial Day Weekend was the most productive I've been in a short time in months! I made two tops and three skirts. Yay!

Today, I'm going to talk about the Nottingham top from Itch to Stitch. Link to pattern here (not an affiliate link).



This is the first Itch to Stitch pattern I've actually sewn. I've bought a few and downloaded the freebies and they are in my queue but see comment about sewjo above. Plus Magpie Syndrome. I know ... preaching to the choir! :-) But I love me a twisty top and so this one jumped into first position.

Overall, the pattern is good. The drafting is accurate, the price is very reasonable (especially if bought during the first week of release) compared to other Indies and non-sale Big 4, the PDF pages go together quickly (even quicker if you use the Itch to Stitch tutorial here), and the construction instructions are fine. But I do have some opinions I'll share below. Whoa Deb, you have an opinion? What a surprise! Hah. I crack myself up.

If like me, you really wanted to see what the pattern pieces for the twist look like, voila. The top section is just a basic tee, with all the twisty stuff going on near the bottom. The pattern is PDF only but available for large format and created with layers so you can print what you need. There are 33 pages for the whole thing and it took me about 20-30 minutes to assemble. I'm one that very much prefers PDFs over tracing.



I was hoping that I'd be able to quickly morph my TNT tee to this pattern, and that worked out very well. Truthfully, there aren't a huge number of differences between my TNT and this pattern, but there are enough, so why reinvent the wheel when I can just cut and sew, you know?

So my first "opinion" concerns the neckline. Kennis (the pattern designer) calls it a scoop neck. It is not a scoop. A look at the "tester" round-up pics will confirm that. It's a jewel neck. I do not like jewel necks on me. Which leads me to my next "opinion." It's pretty easy to offer additional neckline styles for simple knit tops (which this one is in the upper torso). A true scoop neck and vee neck would've been great inclusions. Not that I can't do this myself, but it just seems nicer to have the choices already in the pattern. I mean, it comes with three sleeve variations so why not a choice of necklines? For mine, I lowered the pattern neckline at least two inches. And as you can see by photos of me wearing it, it's nowhere near a low neckline even with those two inches removed. I also increased the width to open up the neckline even more.


I added a band, whereas the pattern is a "facing" turned outward to look like a band.


My next "opinion" is about the sleeve and armhole and sewing them together. Since I was using my TNT upper bodice, I also used my TNT armhole and sleeve. I like the armholes in my knit tops to be high and narrow (curving more inward at the upper chest than not). I do not want extra fabric across my chest nor below my armpit. The Nottingham armhole is lower than I like and it's also set wider under a wider shoulder seam. Many of the "tester" photos bear this out. I won't point out which ones specifically since maybe the wearer actually prefers hers that way. But I do see a trend that makes me wonder. Plus, I've seen the pattern. Hah.

What I will complain (and not just opine) about is that the instructions have you set in this sleeve like for a woven blouse. Why? And why is there so much asymmetry and height in the sleeve cap for a knit sleeve? My pink mark shows the sleeve pattern for the size I was sewing. In reality, I had traced my TNT sleeve and used that. You can see the difference. Yes, technically I'm sure the pattern sleeve works. But it's too much work when it doesn't need to be.


The sizing is generous. There is a lot of upper body ease to create the pretty draping toward the twist. Pay attention to the finished measurements and your fabric's characteristics. The measurement chart would have me in a 20. My TNT is closer to this pattern's 14-16 in the upper chest and I morphed to the 18 toward the hip and still have plenty of room and drape. The pattern's elbow-length sleeve is narrow. My TNT sleeve equates to roughly a size 20 sleeve for this pattern.

If you have a larger bust, you probably won't need an FBA but I would advise to add length to the front piece, tapering to nothing by the side seam. There are lengthen/shorten lines provided, which is a nice touch on such a weirdly shaped pattern piece. (You could also do a traditional FBA but you'd have to do it twice since the pattern piece is a full piece, not a cut-on-fold piece.) In fact, unless you're very petite with a smaller bust, I would suggest adding length all around. I'm 5'5" and the overall length of this top out of the "envelope" (off the printer?) is fine on me with a skirt, but would definitely be too short with pants (which I wear a little below my skirt waist). There are a lot of  inspirational "tester" pics on the pattern's release blog page but I wish there was more info about their height and about the whys of their size choices. I saw a number of length variances but no explanation. Next time, I'll likely add an inch.


One little addition I made, which you can see in the above and below pics, was to add a 'faux" tie. It's just a simple tube of fabric, about twelve inches long, pulled through the hole created by the twist. I think this balances and finishes the bottom edge. The tie will be more apparent when I wear this top with the solid navy skirt that also came out of the sewing room this weekend. The twist gives me a spot to hang my work pass, which you can see in the bathroom selfies below.


If you've read my blog for any time, you probably know my love for 2-piece dresses (aka top and matching skirt). I'm really happy with how this set turned out. The skirt is my trusty McCall's 7386, which is a cross between an A-line and trumpet skirt and is SO FAST to cut and sew. The separates will mix/match nicely with other pieces in my wardrobe.








Overall, I like this pattern a lot. I'll definitely be making it again soon. It's distinct enough to not want too many in my wardrobe, but a solid white will mimic a blouse nicely and another print will be a great weekend top. And maybe one with a vee neck, one with long sleeves for winter ..........



42 comments:

  1. Looks wonderful, Debbie. Thanks for the detailed, honest review. It's one of the biggest reasons I and others should follow your blog. Really appreciate the effort.

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    1. Thanks Bunny! Good to read on your blog that you're getting settled in to your new digs! I don't envy the Mayflies though!

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  2. Always glad to see you post! Interesting comment about the sleeves. There is a vocal camp in the FB sewing groups that insist that a asymetrical, set-in sleeve is the ONLY valid draft for a sleeve and that it is a sign of quality in a pattern. I don't quite agree.

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    1. I'm with you ... don't quite agree. Not when we're talking about what is essentially a tee shirt. :-)

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  3. I always like your pattern reviews. Your details and honesty are very much appreciated. I'm with you, I like high biceps and high underarm in a tee. It's much more flattering on my large bust.
    It looks great on you. Black and white?

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    1. Thanks Nancy! The print is actually navy/white. I've recently been adding navy to my wardrobe. Not sure why I didn't like it before, but now I do. So funny how fickle we can be.

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  4. Not trying to be contrary, but my favorite burda plus tee has sleeves like the "pink line " and it's the best tee I have ever made. I have very narrow shoulders and a bit of a forward shoulder, FWIW

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    1. Be as contrary as you like! You make a good point about forward shoulders needing a different shape sleeve.

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  5. Most helpful post about this new I2S pattern. I have considered buying it and your information will helpfully save me some time with fitting.

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    1. Thank you Linda! Hope you're getting settled in to your new home. You should definitely try this pattern. It's a good one!

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  6. Great review! I made this recently too, like you it was my first Itch to Stitch pattern, I was also drawn to the twisty detail and I too lowered the neckline. I'm really happy with it and will definitely make more, but yes some neck variations would have been good (I will do them myself). Love the faux tie detail too for another variation, so simple and clever!

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    1. Thanks Allison! I hope you blog about your top ... I'd love to see it.

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  7. So delighted to see a new post from you! I always learn something from your wonderfully detailed reviews. Thanks!

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  8. This looks great on you! :) I love that the tie is also functional for you with your work pass. :D

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    1. Thanks Andie! (It was nice to hear your voice on the CMM podcast!) That silly work pass is the bane of my clothing. I'm tired of clipping it onto the edge of something that doesn't have a specific spot for it, so I've taken to wearing it on a lanyard around my neck when I have no other choice. Which isn't a good solution because it interferes with jewelry and bounces off my chest (and not in a good way!). Probably TMI here. Can you tell how I dislike the thing? LOL

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  9. I wouldn't have looked twice at this pattern because of the neckline. Thank god you're still blogging to show me the errors of my snap judgement of neck chokers. Love the addition of the tie to balance things out.

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    1. Thanks Kathy! It's funny because when I was a girl and my mom took me pattern/fabric shopping, I could NEVER look past the exact style/fabric on the pattern cover. Haha.

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  10. I always learn such valuable information from your posts. So happy to see you back and cranking out great stuff and cool photos! You outfits inspire me and make me want to troll through my stash and create wearable outfits! Love the added tie!!!!

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    1. Thank you. I wish I could say I'm going to keep doing it, but that darn sewjo comes and goes on a whim.

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  11. Great work! I love your print.

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  12. Looks great! Like you, I've bought a few Itch to Stitch patterns during their new release sales, but I haven't made any up yet. Anecdotal reviews from curvy sewists have been pretty mixed for her patterns, but this one seems pretty "safe" to try without heading down a multi-muslin rabbit hole.

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    1. Yes, I do think it's safe for the curvy set. One good thing about the huge amount of "testers" (tour guides?) I2S has is the ability to see so many iterations.

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  13. I have this pattern but haven't made it yet, loved reading about your experience with it!

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    1. I think you'll be happy with it. It's a pretty good pattern overall, with a current style not really available elsewhere.

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  14. I won't be making this blouse anytime soon -- okay, never -- but I always love to read your posts, Debbie -- always make me chuckle. Nice new outfit, btw!

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    1. What? Cathy isn't in to twisty tops? In fact, where the heck has Cathy been lately? Thanks Peter! I miss your posts too, but it seems that blogging is ebbing/flowing for all of us.

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  15. Looks great! I can ditto Peter above, because I can’t seem to make time to sew, but I love it when you post.

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  16. Thank you for such a detailed, thorough review. It's so helpful to know how a pattern really is before committing to it.

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    1. Thank you so much! Trying to help as much as possible, as honestly as possible, is my main goal here on this blog!

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  17. I love the shirt! Thanks for the thorough review. Question for you: Do you know anyone who has had a double mastectomy, without reconstruction and sews there own clothes? I am so frustrated sewing for myself right now. I’m not sure anything looks good on me anymore. I need some style and fitting help I think. None of my old patterns work anymore! There has got to be a blogger/sewer out there somewhere that has the same fitting problems I’m dealing with.

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    1. Kimberly, I'm sorry but I don't really have any answers for you. Have you tried posting your questions on Pattern Review's forum? I think you would probably get a lot of answers and good advice there.

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  18. Thanks for the thorough review. I love your top and skirt set/ two piece dress.

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  19. Another great outfit on you, Deb! I don't understand why pattern makers keep putting facings in their knit garments instead of bands or other RTW finishes. I hate facings! And I love the tie you added to the front of your top. Thanks for sharing your tweaks and hacks. :-)

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  20. I love your set--the added tie especially!

    I just went through some teeth gnashing with 1 1/2" of ease in a men's sleeve (casual shirt). WHYYYYYY. But so many other sewists had zero problem with it! I wonder if sleeve preferences are like milk vs dark chocolate...

    (i like dark)

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    1. I like dark too. But I really think there are a lot of sewists out in blogland that don't really know any better or feel under-experienced or something like that and so are hesitant to speak up. Me, I have the opposite problem. About speaking up, that is. :-)

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  21. Thanks for your informative review. I’ve been tempted to buy this pattern and might give it a try now. Love to see new posts from you, either with or without sewing. Abbey

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  22. You look great. Your blog is worth every attention.

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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.

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