Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

Mix ‘n’ Match


This is part of my recent Vogue $3.99 sale mass pattern purchase and I have been thinking long and hard about the mix and match fabrics that I could use. I finally decided and selected a range of black and whites and a few greys – all stretch, some cotton, some lycra – all from Tissu.  

The pattern is Katherine Tilton V8817 classified as easy and comes with 2 distinct tops each with 2 variations. I made view C: a tunic with asymmetric hem line, and three different fabrics.
It is an easy and quick tunic to make although I have written some alternative cutting and construction instructions below to make it even easier and more economical. So far I’ve made 2.
This is the black and white zebra tunic. The body and lower sleeves were cut in a solid black 4-way stretch lycra; the middle sleeves and top were cut in in black & white polka dot cotton stretch; the top and upper sleeves cut in a lycra zebra print.
The instructions with the pattern tell you explicitly which bits to cut in what fabric so it’s not that difficult – the hard part is choosing the fabrics! I tried this version with black leggings – not something I would normally wear but the long tunic covers all the areas that you would rather the public don’t see. I asked DH if I looked like I should be in Las Vegas – but he said it looked alright – yeah but we know what he has said about other things too!

The first one I actually made was the grey version.

Again a solid fabric for the main body with a patterned lycra for the uppers. However I didn’t buy a third grey – I got confused when ordering – but did think the greys were rather dull when put together. I had this bit of orange cotton jersey in the box which wasn’t used for the Stash Attack and used it to lift the colours. I like grey with bright colours like lime green, pink and, of course, orange.

There is no contrast middle bit in the pattern so I added a folded piece of orange and sewed it in between the upper and lower back to create a continuity from front to back.

With clever cutting of your fabric you can get tonnes out of this pattern. When ordering from Tissu you have to buy full metres, no halves allowed, so I bought 2m of the solid grey (the pattern calls for 1.4m for size 14).
I had enough left over to make a matching pair of pull on simple, simple trousers.

This pattern is McCalls M6247 by Nancy Zieman and each item in the envelope only takes 30mins to sew (give or take). Great, step by step instructions with tips and tricks thrown in. There’s no tailoring or fitting with these pants – they are really just two tubes sewed together in the middle with an elastic waist. Again this something I wouldn’t normally wear but once again a long tunic covers a multitude of sins. I cut a 14 in the trousers but really could have gone down a size – the crotch hangs a bit low!

Now onto the nitty gritty and possibly some good advice if you plan to make this tunic.

The pattern calls for
1.4m of fabric
0.6m contrast 1
0.5m contrast 2

All pieces are cut on the fold except for middle and lower sleeves and the neck band.
Now look at the layout recommendation……
There’s a lot of wasted fabric there.

So here’s what I did. Firstly I could only order full metre lengths so I got in total:
2m fabric grey
2m fabric black
2m fabric fine B&W stripes
1m contrast zebra
1m contrast grey leaves
1m contrast broad B& W stripes
1m contrast B&W polka dots

I placed the lower front on the fold but reversed the lower back pattern piece (heads to tails) and so that the fold edge was 1.5cm from the selvedge. This meant I had a centre back seam but that’s OK especially as I was saving so much fabric.
I placed all the other pieces for the contrasts making sure of straight of grains and cut these into tight ‘squares’ but not cutting the pieces out yet.

Then I positioned these prepared bits on top of the remaining contrasts lining up the folds, hence knowing that the grains were straight. Pinned through all thicknesses and cut the two fabrics in one go.

In reality, for a few pennies more and a few extra cms, I get two tunics for the price and effort of one.

Now the alternative construction technique. We are using the properties of the fabric here as it is stretch to make sewing much easier and quicker. As always – press as you go.

1. Sew the middle front to the upper front as per instructions. You can either topstitch or serge the seam.

2. Sew the shoulder seams – upper front to back. Finish this seam with a zig-zag or serge.

3. Attach the neck band. Either use your preferred method or follow the pattern instructions. Doing this now instead of at the end means you are working with a much smaller item and so it is easier to manipulate and you get the hardest part of sewing out of the way early.

4. Now sew the upper sleeves to the upper top. Use the shirt method – keep the whole thing flat – no need to ease the sleeve heads – just match the centres with the shoulder seams and the edges with the edges and gently stretch the sleeve into place.
Do not sew the sides yet.

This is what the upper half looks like at this stage – and lying flat on the table.

5. Sew the sleeve bands to each other and then to the upper sleeves, finishing the seams in your usual way.

6. Sew the centre back seam – if you cut out like I did. I didn’t bother to finish this seam as it was cut on the selvedges and won’t fray.

7. Sew the lower front to the front.

8. If you wish to use a contrast strip at the back, cut 1″ wide long enough to fit the back and press in two lengthwise. Position the raw edges to the raw edges of the upper back – place the lower back piece on the top and sew in place. Finish the seam.

9. Now you can sew the sides in one go – starting a the sleeve hem and finishing at the tunic hem. Take extra care at the contrast joins. Pin perpendicular to the seam to hold the fabric together so that you get a nice even join at the sides.

Sew side seam again from upper arm to upper body for extra strength under the arm.

10. Finally hem the sleeves and the tunic.

With this cutting method I have enough plain black left over to make another pair of speedy trousers to wear with the zebra tunic.

And this one is ready to go. I now have 1m of fine striped black & white,  a 0.5m of zebra, a little bit of polka dot and 0.6m of thick striped black and white leftover – I’m thinking of making a cardigan based on this pattern but instead of cutting the fronts on the fold, cut them on the selvedge edge and then simply turn in the selvedge as the front opening.  I’ll keep you posted.

Hope this has been of help.

Thanks for reading. Ruth

PS – I’ve completed this tunic now – go to Parallel Lines posting for the finished view. 13th June 2012


17 thoughts on “Mix ‘n’ Match

  1. lolol! I especially love the black and white one and your posing, like the pattern, cracks me up!!

  2. This is great — I have this pattern in my stash and was wondering how hard it was to make. Love your fabric choices. Thanks!

  3. Love your tops! I am currently making the other view in this pattern and it is coming out terrific. I am making my usual adjustments and it seems to fit perfectly. You have inspired me to make the other view now!

  4. FAbulous! You should be a Vogue model ;^)

  5. Love the tops. Great inspiration for scraps!

  6. Thanks Shams – sometimes things look good in your head but the reality can be way different!

  7. Honestly, not hard at all – just match up those side seams and it'll look wonderful.

  8. OK deal- I'll try the other view with the leftovers I have from these

  9. Yeah especially if they were seeking 'real life people' who smile and not sticks who pout!

  10. Yep, more uses for scraps!If this keeps up I'll soon be buying fabric to make scraps out of it!!!

  11. I like the black and white one too – great tunics and clearly fun to make too especially using up scraps – you definitely missed your vocation in life, perhaps you should be a model

  12. I love these tunic tops. I just purchased this pattern recently. Your versions are very inspiring. My favorite is the completed black and white one. Great job!

  13. Great to see this fabulous pattern made up. I like your fabric choices for the black and white. It looks great with the leggings!

  14. Wow–your tops are wonderful! Do you think that the pattern sizes is accurate (is there a lot of ease in this pattern)? Thank you for the detailed illustrated instructions. :)Rose in SV

  15. Wonderful tops, Ruth! I love the fabrics that you chose for them and for the exuberance you show in wearing them. The leggings are great too.

  16. Thanks, Ruth, for sharing your process with this project. You did a great job with these, especially coordinating fabrics. And I love your modeling approach, which shows us a lot more about the pattern than what we see from the pattern companies. 😉

  17. How did I miss this?!?!? Late in finding it and commenting, but your tops are AWEsome!!! Must get this pattern!

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