A one-piece wonder

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Sarai and Kenn from Colette Patterns recently visited Australia on a working holiday.  I took the opportunity to meet them both when Helene from Stitch 56 hosted an Friday afternoon event at her shop in mid-November.

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An event like this of course called for a Colette/Seamwork pattern to be sewn.  In true handmade style, it was finished the day before the event!

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One of my current sewing themes (I find goals are a little too prescriptive for hobby-based activities!) is to sew all the summer tops in silk.  With this theme in mind, I had had my eye on Akita from the September 2015 issue of Seamwork.

As with all new pattern acquisitions, I did my research.  Meg from Cookin’ & Craftin’ review on this pattern was invaluable.  It gave me three fabulous pieces of information that allowed me to sew up a wearable muslin in some Anna Maria Horner voile from deep in the stash.  Patterns need to be road-tested before I sew them in silk!

Here’s how Meg’s review helped me:

Meg:  “The finished waist and hip measurements are the same as the finished bust measurement.”

Blogless Anna:  My bust and waist measurements only differ by half an inch, so I knew this pattern was boxy enough to ignore the side slits at the hem.

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Meg:  “The instructions for finishing the armhole and hem slits are not my favorite – it seems a bit messy on the inside. You clip all the way through the seam allowance,  double fold the sleeves and slits towards the inside and sew, then you sew the side seam. I feel like it’s not structurally sound at the clipped part.”

Blogless Anna:  Although undoubtedly fast, I didn’t like the sound of this method of construction either.  I knew I had some Japanese patterns with similar cut on sleeves, so I checked their construction method and I followed their way.  I…

  • Overlocked the side seams to the sleeve notch on both the back and front pieces.
  • Sewed the side seams from the sleeve notch to the hem (remember I ignored the side seam slits) and pressed the seams open.
  • Folded the sleeves hems 1/4″ and then 3/8″ as per the pattern instructions and stitched them in place.  This leads to a bit of single to double fold fabric origami at the sleeve notch, but it works.

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The sleeve hems are quite curved and therefore it was very fiddly to create double fold hem with a 5/8″ hem allowance.  To tell you the truth, this part of the sewing left me feeling rather annoyed as there are a couple of little tucks on the inside of the hem which don’t sit well with my perfectionist tendencies.  Next time, and yes there might be a next time, I would grade the shoulder hem seams back 3/8″ and then used 1″ bias binding as a facing.

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Meg:  “The Akita is quite long.”

Blogless Anna:  I measured a current favourite woven top (this one) against the flat pattern removed two inches from the length.

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I’m amazed that a one-piece pattern for woven fabrics works.  The bust darts are even sitting in the right position which rarely happens for me… I usually have to lower them by an inch.

I’ve got over the annoyance of the hemming of the sleeves and this top has already had more wear than I would have expected.  I suppose you’d have to say this story has a happy ending!

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Pattern:  Akita from the September 2015 issue of Seamwork
Size:  6
Fabric:  Anna Maria Horner voile from deep in the stash
Alterations:  Removed 2″ from the length.
Accessories:  Aqua beads a gift & shoes a recent purchase from Mountfords

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