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Imperfect Fabric – Perfect Top


We buy fabric for all sorts of reasons:  it is a great print, or the perfect color, has the right drape, is the perfect fiber combination, will fill a hole in our wardrobe, will bliss the heart.  Now I will confess that I also buy fabric to match an unusual pair of shoes.  And so begins today’s missive.

Fabric and shoes.
Fabric and shoes.

Last year at the end of summer, I found a fabulous pair of comfortable olive green shoes on final clearance.  I thought they would go with lots of my clothes, so I brought them home.  Turns out most of my clothing features a green that is shaded with lots of blue and these shoes were not that green.  But that did not dishearten me; I just went shopping for fabric that would match the shoes.  On the knit print wall at JoAnn’s I found a couple prints that looked great with my shoes, so I brought home a piece of each.

This spring, I pulled the fun floral print out and paired it with a bright blue knit remnant to quickly stitch up a Tabula Rasa Knit tunic.  While pressing the pre-washed knit print, my plan stalled a bit.  The print had a number of printing imperfections.  It looked like the ink had run, creating muddy sections in the white background.  The more I pressed, the more I found.

The damaged fabric.
The damaged fabric.

I spread the pressed fabric on the cutting table and marked the flaw with safety pins.  It ran linearly through the fabric, leaving many narrow sections where the pattern was clear.  Fortunately, I had a nice amount of the blue knit to contribute to the design.  I decided to split the front into two pieces along the fold line in order to position the pattern pieces in the clean sections of the print. I added a 5/8” seam allowance to each center front so I could stitch them together.  I also decided to insert a strip of the blue knit between the two fronts.  The insert made the center front seam look like I had planned this design all along.

The two fronts with the insert attached to the right side.
The two fronts with the insert attached to the right side.

I had planned to use the blue for the swing side and the ballet neckline finishes.  In addition to adding the blue down the center front, I inserted it between the sleeve and the body too.  If the print had not been such a mess, I am not sure I would have considered this successful design addition.  I also think the higher quality blue knit inserts have added structure to the soft knit print.

The insert stitched to the sleeve before construction.
The insert stitched to the sleeves before construction.

This wardrobe expanding knit top was a Me Made May stash-buster project. The first time I wore the completed top with skinny blue denim cropped Eureka’s, Carrie said, “Wow, that top is a perfect match for those shoes!”  I replied “by design of course.”rps20160606_102958_370

I have a few other fabrics to stitch up that also match the shoes.  Maybe I will design and stitch them up at the Sew! Let’s Get Dressed Retreat August 22-27.  Choose your days and make your reservation now.  It will be great fun to plan and build a Fit for Art wardrobe together.  Click here for all the exciting retreat details and e-mail with any questions.

Fabric and Shoes, a perfect combination.
Fabric and Shoes, a perfect combination.

Have you ever pieced a garment to accommodate a damaged piece of fabric?  Share your successes with us and we will post them on Facebook.

Happy Sewing, RAE

3 thoughts on “Imperfect Fabric – Perfect Top

  1. Great job! Simply beautiful.

  2. That is a great looking top. I love the floral fabric and I like what you did with the solid fabric.

  3. I’ll bet your jacket is slenderizing with the dark on the side. It’s very pretty. Since I met you in Grand Rapids I have made a jacket and a t-shirt. I am happy with both!,

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