This scrap happy olive Tabula Rasa Knit Tee, cut to a tunic length, brings back memories of our 2020 trip to the Sewing and Stitchery Expo (SSE). I wore it for the first time during the show last February, before the pandemic shut down the country. It was made to expand my olive core wardrobe; the scraps that became this tee were found in a search through the studio for fabrics that coordinated with my olive pants.
During the last week of February, Fit for Art will be participating in the Virtual Sewing and Stitchery Expo. I will be teaching a 2-part class on the free stage called Sew Distinctive Clothing, Using Stash to Create the Clothes You Want. Have you gotten your ticket to take advantage of the SSE Virtual Free Stage and Vendor Hall spotlights? It is a terrific value at just $6 and an opportunity to support your favorite sewing teachers and vendors during these challenging times.
What makes a great pieced top?
This top was designed around scraps of a Cavalli jersey print purchased at Mood years ago to make the tops I sold at craft shows. It was fun to come upon it in my search for fabrics that would coordinate with my olive wardrobe. I love the tigers, the Arabic letters, the fanciful flowers and the glittery sparkles of this unique print. As is often the case with well pieced garments, the sections I liked are more effectively featured in the pieced front and back than if the fabric had been used in its entirety. In my knit scrap boxes were pieces of gold stretch lace yardage and solid blue jersey to add into the pieced top.
How to decide the fabric placement
The first thing to do in a design project like this is identify the best sections of the fabric and begin imagining their placement on the garment. In the case of these fabrics, the tigers were placed first. There were only two, one calm and one fierce. My preference was to have the calm one on the front and the fierce one on the back. Comparing the size of the scraps to my full-size grid pelon tee pattern allowed me to begin visualizing the entire composition.
Armed with a little knowledge, I sketched my ideas and tested the options on the cutting table, laying the grid pelon piece on top as I accepted and rejected ideas. It is my preference to work on this process over a few days: arranging, revisiting, rearranging, reflecting and repeating the process. Taking a photo can be a good idea too; you can check the photo for a different perspective as the composition comes together. The sketch is a guideline and often I simplify my grand piecing ideas as I did on the front of this project for the successful inclusion of all the fabrics.
While I was testing combinations of fabrics, I made some fabric scrap test samples of the serger rolled edge stitches and thread I was considering for this tee. This exploration of stitches and thread also leads to better garment success.
Use each fabric more than once
Because the front and back are pieced complexly I kept the sleeves simple, piecing the lace into the blue fabric so it appears an additional place on the top.
Keep an eye on Instagram and Facebook this week to see the sketch and various cuff samples I made in search of the perfect final finishes. There might be some posts of the olive core wardrobe too. Visit the gallery page to see the full front completely assembled.
Pair Tabula Rasa Tops with Eureka! Pants
As I approached this project, I worried that the top would be too busy to wear often, even the size of the tigers concerned me. Happily, I remain very pleased with how it came together and am very comfortable wearing it with my straight leg denim or olive stretch sateen Eureka! Pants that Fit.
Take the Sew Distinctive Class
Do you have some favorite scraps that want to become a unique garment? Get them out and start combining them with other fabric in your stash. Join in the fun at the SSE by taking the Sew Distinctive Class, part one and two on either February 24th or 26th at 2PM pacific time (that is 5PM eastern time). You will be inspired to get busy designing and sewing.
Stay Well and Sew Happy! RAE