June 14, 2016

Getting creative with stripes

Cotton jersey with stripes... Gotta love it! 
I was given about 4 meters of this fabric as a thank-you for helping with the fashion show at the high school where designer friend M teaches (I'm the person who comes in during the last few lessons before the show to make sure that everything gets finished). They had a whole pile of fabric and notions I could choose from but most were really synthetic and/or stuff I never use anyway. So, I managed to summon some self-control and didn't take more than this to add to my already bulging stash. 

I really like sewing with stripes. Knitted and woven ones. There's just so much interesting stuff you can only really do with a striped fabric! 
Oh, and there are loads of good classic looks which use striped fabric without trying to be clever. In fact, I have a small piece of reddish and dark blue striped jersey in my stash which I have been afraid to cut into because I have too many ideas for it... At least with this stuff, I have enough to test out the different basics and have some pattern-nerdy fun.

This top, my first creation in this fabric, is of the last variety. 
I wanted to make a design which would really showcase those stripes and that made me realize how many things like that I have already done. 
A simple top with the stripes meeting in a chevron shape? So simple and more suitable for a woven fabric. A twist top? Done that. Twice. 
No, I wanted something a bit more experimental, something which would be ALL ABOUT those stripes. And then I thought of some part free form tops I had experimented with way back in 2010. 

The first one started with my idea to make a kind of t-shirt using a popular super-simple shrug pattern for the back and sleeves. The original post is here but it doesn't show the shape that well.

It looked like this. Only with a bit of gathering at center back but I don't like drawing gathers in Illustrator.
It was a fun design but there were some wearability issues. Like just how far the top pulled up with just about any arm movement. I wore it anyway but I also continued with the experimentation. The new-and-improved version abandoned the simple pattern piece shapes to create a top with a more defined version of the same silhouette. That top is here and I even wrote a pattern tutorial for it here. I still have that one. 

This time, I decided to go back to that first design and alter it to suit my stripe-y fabric. Fortunately, my original pattern had survived the two pattern clear-outs I had in the years in between. 
There are more angles in this new design. I kept the original shoulder line of the front bodice sloper and simply sewed the rectangle of the upper back/sleeves around it. I didn't keep the original side edges of the front bodice but brought those a bit to the front. With a square corner at the waistline. For freedom of movement, I cut the back/sleeves with some extra length and made the sleeve openings not on the sleeve seam but by folding and sewing the sleeves and then cutting their corners to create openings. Oh, and I cut the lower back in one with the front bodice. Just to make sure there would be interesting things going on with those stripes everywhere in this top. 

Of course, this top is not quite as easy to wear as a normal t-shirt either. And there is at least one feature I'm not 100% sure about (which you can only see when it is worn) but I really enjoyed doing this kind of random fun-with-patterns kind of thing again. 
I will ask E to take some pictures of me wearing this (and maybe even some next thing too) in the coming weekend, so you'll be able see how it works on a person. 


  1. This looks really great! I like the way the sleeves go; a bit interesting and not too out there, but just nicely showcasing the way you've designed the upper bit. Very nice!

  2. The stripes add so much in making the pattern visible! Such a pretty shirt!

  3. that looks great, I had a look at the original post and like the other comment the stripes will really show off your design... love it