You Can't Judge A Pattern By Its Cover Challenge

When the Simple Simon girls asked me to participate in their "You Can't Judge An (Ugly Vintage) Pattern By Its Cover" challenge, I just couldn't resist.  In a moment of bravery, I even chose to do a women's pattern - which I then sweated about for a few weeks, because I haven't sewn many clothes for myself and am afraid of darts, zippers, and the like.  So when I opened my package to this beauty, I almost fainted:


I swear all I could see were those vest ties!  I was super nervous that I'd never be able to come up with something modern and would have to post something totally embarrassing to the internet.  Then l I took a deep breath, looked again, and saw that sweet piece of peplum.  Yay!  I've actually been admiring peplum tops for a while, I just never considered making one myself.


With lots of modifications to the vest pattern, I ended up making this grey peplum top.  I am 100% pleasantly surprised that it is totally wearable.


To alter the vest pattern, I cut the front and back pattern pieces kind of in reverse - the front pieces I cut on the fold, and the back piece not on the fold, so it would have a back closure.  I also rounded out the neck, lengthened the bodice and peplum pieces, and drafted my own sleeve.  The fabric is a interlock knit (from the remnant bin at Joann's) that I had in my stash.  I chose it mostly for the print and color (also it was one of the few I had enough yardage for), but a knit probably isn't the best choice for a structured shirt.  Comfy, though!


There's an invisible zipper in the back.  It's not perfect, but is about as good as I've ever done (pats self on back).


Taking photos of myself is not my favorite, so it's a good thing I don't attempt to be a fashion blogger (besides not being very fashionable, of course).  I got lots of shots looking awkward and had mostly weird faces like this:


Anyway, I like it!  I think I'll even try to make another, with a more dramatic peplum.  Any suggestions how I can make it fuller without gathering the fabric?


39 comments:

Our Beautiful Life said...

Super cute! That would never look good on me, but you look adorable. Way to go! :)

thingsforboys said...

Wow! What a great transformation. I also find it hard to look past the ugly details on pattern pictures.

Lizzie said...

You did a great job there! I like your adaptations - it looks very modern and peplums are definitely "in" just now.
How lovely to see your smiley face, as you show off your clever project!
If you wanted more fullness in the peplum another time, but you don't want to add gathers...(why? it's not v. hard: use 2 rows of medium stitching, wrap the threads of one end round a pin to fix them, then gently pull up the others; when your reach approx the middle, pin/tie off those threads and do the same from the other end. If you use a tape measure to keep track of your length, you should be able to gather it enough. Then you gently stroke the gathers with your nail, to even them out)... anyway, you could put in some pleats, instead of gathers. They'd be nice just above the hip, at front & back. You could even try an inverted box-pleat centre front, though that needs more bravery - and a flat stomach! Or use two or three small pleats across the hip area. Pin them in place, try on, then baste well, before you stitch it together - then you will get a more accurate finish. Should look good! If you're not sure, try it with a piece of scrap fabric (similar in weight & structure), just to work out any challenges first.
Good luck with your next project!

leolina said...

I like it!It's so cute.Great job.

Anonymous said...

For a fuller peplum cut two pieces a front and back, and where the two meet at the side cut a very obtuse angle. It will give extra fabric at the bottom without bulking up your waist.

Gorgeous top!

Lauren said...

It's beautiful. I love the skirt and shoes with it.
Lauren

Rachel~ At the Butterfly Ball said...

Oh great top! I thought this post was hilarious. Mostly in a laughing at myself sort of way. I make clothes for myself all the time, and my only daughter, (4 sons aren't nearly as much fun to sew for!) And almost all the patterns I use for our clothes are the funky 1970's vintage ones. I love those! Really! Thus the laughing at myself. No one else loves them, it seems, as much as me, but I've never really worried about being at the height of fashion anyway. I just wear what I like and weird 70's hippy love-child type stuff is what I love. :-) I also like the really full rock-a-billy 1950 dresses... I know...strange, right?

Angela said...

This top is adorable. I want one for myself! I am amazed that you made something so fresh and modern from such an ugly pattern! And you sewed an invisible zipper to knit fabric?! Wow I am impressed, that sounds crazy hard!

As for a rufflier peplum, just google how to draft a flounce. Basically start your pattern as a rectangle that is the length of your top, cut slits every inch leaving a little hinge on top. Then spead the bottom strips adding the same amount of space between each strip, It will start to look like a half circle. Tape eveything down on top of a new peice of pattern paper and trace your final shape onto that. You control how ruffley you want your peplum by increasing the space between strips and even making the strips smaller like half an inch. (I'm sure that makes no sense, just google it, I'm sure there are some great photos that show what I am trying to describe!)

cnydalynn said...

I LOVE this! I love that you made it in knit too. that makes it so much more wearable to me:) lol as a momma knit is always better.

and I am taking your beautiful picture with me to the salon next time. I love your hair cut! So cute.

GREAT job.

karamino said...

Great transformation! love the colours combo also)

cc. jones said...

Super cute! I just got a sewing machine for my birthday, and I'm inspired to finally start working with it. My goal is t be able to make those adorable bonnets I've seen on your site.

Suzanne Winter said...

so cute! As for the peplum: just make a circle skirt in two pieces.. if you don't want the full fullness of a circle, you can do a 3/4 circle. I recently made a peplum top for my daughter using this method and it was AWESOME!

Melanie@Crafty Cupboard said...

SO cute! I'm halfway through a gray peplum for one of my girls- it was supposed to be my signature style outfit for PRAP but I got a little burned out sewing kid clothes :) I think the more dramatic you cut the peplum curve (like, tighter than a regular circle), the more "Full" it will be.

greelyrita said...

To make your peplum a bit fuller, first trace the existing peplum onto a piece of newspaper. Cut slices perpendicular to the bottom edge towards the waist edge every couple of inches, stopping at the waist seam line. Now spread the cuts out depending on how much more fullness you want at the bottom edge. You could measure the bottom edge and add say 25%. Trace this new peplum to a new piece of newsprint or tissue paper and you're done. There won't be any gathers because you haven't added to the waist seam length.

I have a couple of other suggestions. Your neck seam stretched a bit. You should use a longer stitch length if the stitches were quite short and you should lessen the pressure on the foot a bit. I think you added a tiny bit too much when you lengthened the bodice. And last, I think your shoulders slope a bit more than the pattern assumes. Just pinch a bit of fabric at the sleeve cap and see if those folds above the bust disappear. If you increase the angle of the shoulder seam, you might cut the armhole a tiny bit lower to keep the armhole the same size.

The style is a good look for you!

Kim @ NewlyWoodwards said...

Holy cow! This looks awesome on you! It doesn't look anything like the pattern. Which in this case, is a compliment.

Awesome job!

Heather Is... said...

Wow! I never would have thought that pattern could result in that shirt. It's beautiful, though. Great job!

ediescookiecrumbs said...

I LOVE this. Amazing transformation. The skirt is to die for. I have a peplum in my spring to do list. and now I have a yellow pencil skirt lol.
Try making the peplum like you would a circle skirt. it will give it beautiful twirl and fullness without any gathering at the waistline.

Rachel C said...

So cute! Now I've got to make a shirt with a peplum. I love that you used a knit-- perfect for a mommy.

greelyrita's first paragraph is basically exactly what I was going to say as far as making a fuller peplum goes.

I love the look! Great job on that zipper--especially on a knit!

Sew Much Ado said...

That is really adorable, Jill! I love it with the yellow skirt too. And your hair looks fabulous!

Charity said...

The top is adorable, and you are so pretty! I made a shirt recently from the same fabric, but a very different style.
I think the simplest way to make the peplum fuller without gathers is to make the curve at the upper edge of it a lot tighter, like a full circle skirt... when I made a peplum shirt I did a full circle and the fullness felt perfect to me. =)

Taylor Made said...

LOVE! You look so pretty Jill, and great color choices

Sharlyn said...

Love it!, I like your shoes and skirt too

Trisch said...

What a great look! Love the peplum! I really need to make myself something like that. Great job and I love the color combination!!!

Simple Simon & Co said...

Jill you are awesome! This outfit is perfect. Thank you so much for participating in our crazyness.
-liZ

Jessica Anderson said...

That is adorable! Love it!

kelly thompson said...

super refreshing- thank you !

Mama Deborah said...

Beautiful!

The Henrich Family said...

sassy. great hair sister.

Rebekah B. said...

Super cute! I think you did an amazing job!

ashley said...

you look so cute! i love the whole outfit! :)

Anonymous said...

I do alterations as a home self-employed mom, so I see alot of how clothing is constructed besides having used patterns for over 30 years and teaching children to sew. It is an exciting adventure to study a pattern and see the basic structure that can be changed to something exciting and new. You did a fabulous job. I would humbly suggest that to make the peblum "skirt" part longer is to just lengthen it keeping the waist circle the same for attaching to the bodice... also, try drawing a slightly longer back for a train, if you will, for a slightly different look..or combining different fabrics, an overlay of lace, everyday or more formal. Just have fun, and if you stress out or feel overwhelmed, leave it for a day or two and go back to it and find yourself flying with creativity! Blessings!

liliana said...

e adorabile ,se voi avere una balza più ampia devi aggiungere qualche centimetro di larghezza in più cosi riesci averla un pochino più morbida in punto vita e se voi averla molto di più ampia devi aggiungere di più .Spero che ho capito bene la tua domanda ,ti auguro una serena pasquetta lili

Delia said...

Gorgeous...you and the top! I think you rocked this pattern. The interlock actually looks just right and your zipper is perfection in my eyes! Nice job Jill!

mnemosyneblog said...

This is super cute! Way to go on the mods :)

Anonymous said...

Are you expecting again?

homemade by jill said...

Anonymous - No! Are you?

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, no.

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Diane said...

that's incredibly cute and flattering too