Seamingly Smitten Lesley Flutter Top for Women Sew Along Day 4

Welcome back!  So by now you ladies have gotten your shop on.  You've purchased and downloaded your pattern (or patterns if you made really good use of the awesome coupon code), you have that perfect fabric in hand washed and ready to go, and you have any notions you need.  Let's get started.  

Today is pretty easy.  First thing you need to do is print that pattern.  I don't know about you ladies, but I haven't printed pattern directions out in ages.  I print just my pattern pieces and then rely on my computer or other device to view the instructions as I sew.  If you haven't tried this out yet, give it a whirl.  It saves paper, saves ink, and saves some sanity (okay, well that might just be me).  Whether you print the entire pattern or just the pattern pieces, this one won't be too bad. The entire pattern is only 19 pages.  The pattern pieces alone are 8 pages (if you are making the smallest size, check out the pattern layout before you print it because you can actually knock a couple of pages off).  

what your pattern will look like laid out

Red pins denote where the pages meet and black arrows show the line for the XS size.  As you can see, you could omit 2 pages when printing if you just need the XS size.

To color or not to color?  Good question.  I know I am not alone in the fact that at times I will opt to print in black & white instead of color to save on ink.  For some patterns this isn't a problem, for others it doesn't work so great.  The sizes on these pattern pieces ARE color coded, as you can see in the pictures above, with every size being the same style line. This is why on some patterns printing in black & white just won't work well.  However, there isn't a bunch of overlapping or criss-crossing of lines in this pattern (just take a peek at the layout photo above) so I think you can easily get away with printing in black & white instead of color.  Hey, more money saved on ink means more money for patterns and fabric.  Am I right ladies?  

Once you have the pattern printed out, take it to your favorite spot (the floor, the table, a large window or sliding glass door) and get it all taped together.  **Make sure you read your instructions ladies!  You do not need to do any trimming or overlapping on these pattern pages.** This is what you should have once you have your pages all taped together.

(Okay, I feel I need to go on a slight tangent here for just a moment.  I keep using the word "ladies" to refer to you all.  A part of me cringes when I say it because by no means am I trying to imply only females sew.  It just instinctively comes out because everyone here I've come to "know" here are females.  The only term I know to cover everyone is "sewer" and honestly, I hate that word. I would feel like I'm calling you all conduits that carry off sewage and that's just gross and not what I think of you! There is the term "sewist" that I see floating around, but it's not actually a word.  Did you know that?  I see it quite a bit now, but it has not actually been added to the dictionary.  I think I shall put some thought into this and see if I can come up with a new word that's all inclusive and has NOTHING to do with sewage!  Now back to our regularly scheduled sew along.)

Source: Thomas R Machnitzki, used with permssion

Source: Thomas R Machnitzki, used with permssion

Now, check out the sizing chart on page 2 of your pattern and decide what size you need.  This top has 3 lengths to choose from: petite, regular and tall.  Be sure to check and see what length you prefer as well before cutting your pattern piece. This is also the time to decide if you want to do a different color band at the bottom of your shirt as you will need to cut your pattern for this. If you choose to do this option, go ahead and do as the instructions state and cut the bottom 6 inches off of the pattern once you have it cut out, but be sure to hold on to that piece because that is what you will use to cut that contrasting band out.  Once you have picked the correct size, the length you want and decided if you want that contrasting band, you are ready to cut out your pattern piece(s).  Now you can simply cut from the pattern you just taped together or you can trace the size you need onto tracing paper, wax paper, or whatever you like to use and then cut your pieces out.  Oh, almost forgot.  You will see on the pattern piece where the "FOLD" is marked, there are also two lines to choose from here: regular and petite.  The petite line will remove about 1" from the width, but it is doing so in the neckline.

Not sure how to choose your desired length?  Let me help you out.  The easiest thing would be to find a shirt you have already that falls where you want the bottom of this top to land.  Once you've found that, take that shirt and lay it out on a flat surface.  Take your pattern piece and lay it on top of the shirt. Compare the hem lengths on the pattern piece to that of your existing shirt. Don't forget to take into account those seam allowances though!  Your shoulders will have a 3/8" seam allowance and the bottom hem will have a 1/2" seam allowance.  So just make sure when you look at where the hem on your existing shirt is, your pattern piece needs to be about 7/8" longer to account for your seam allowances.  Clear as mud?  Here's a photo to help out.

Line the shoulders up on your pattern piece and shirt.

So you've picked your size and your hem length, you've decided on the contrasting band, you've cut out your pattern piece, and now it's time to cut your fabric. I LOVE using my rotary cutter and mat for cutting out my fabric.  I used to use pins to hold my pattern pieces on and scissors to cut the fabric pieces out.  That is SUCH a pain compared to a rotary cutter and mat in my opinion...especially with knits!  So, here's what I do:

All nice and flat and ready to cut.

I picked up some larger washers at the local hardware store and I use them as my paper weights.  I place my pattern piece on my fabric, hold it in place with the weights and cut away with my rotary cutter and mat.  Easy peasy!  Here's a couple of pics showing the weights I use in case you want to pick up something similar.

Here's the brand I have.

Here are the details.  The 3/4" is the opening in the center of the washer.  The entire washer is roughly 2".

So now you have your pieces cut out.  You either have two pieces (the front and back) or you have four pieces (the front, back and two contrasting bands).  Now wasn't that easy?  You are all done for today.  Give yourself a pat on the back.  But before we wrap up I've got one more thing for you.  Remember I mentioned something about winning prizes?  Well, at the end of our sew along 4 lucky ladies will win prizes. You have to post your creations in the album though, which can be found HERE in the Pattern Revolution group.  Four people will be selected at random.  One person will win a free 3 pattern pack from Seamingly Smitten and the other 3 people will win 1 free pattern from Seamingly Smitten...all winners' choice.  So don't forget to share!

See you back here tomorrow when we will begin to sew.  
On tap for tomorrow: the neckline!