Saturday, 16 February 2013

The In-House Patterns Cool Cowl Tank

Have you ever heard of a pattern company called In-House Patterns?  Alexandra runs a lovely blog and has many insights on fitting which have helped me greatly.  Check it out!  (I know you ladies love to support independent pattern companies!)

Anyway, I made the Cool Cowl Tank.  And I'm pleased with how it turned out!

Her pattern line is drafted for a D cup so as you can imagine, I had to make rather large bust alterations.  Luckily, she has a tutorial on how to do that with this pattern! I did make a toile, and it was frightfully large in the bust.  So it was highly worth it!

This pattern has a bit of ease in it, which is not how I normally wear my knits.  I think it looks fine though.  However if I make it again I probably won't be able to resist making it tighter :)  I think I could even go a size down all over- the shoulders are probably a bit wider than they need to be.

Cutting this was interesting-  I only just managed to fit this out of my fabric. I had to piece together the hem band by creating a second side seam. I don't think I would have been able to fit all my pieces if I hadn't taken a sizeable chunk of length out of my front and back pieces while fitting. (I took out 5.2cm (2") of length- partly for style reasons and partly cos I have a short waist).
This fabric shortage was due to the fact that the grain was really skewed. Check out the angle it was sitting on- this pattern piece is on grain! 

Also note my faithful hedgehog pincushion- made pre-blog.
Ooh by the way, did you spot my fancy pattern alteration around the shoulders?  Another gift from Alexandra's blog which I cured my saggy back armholes with!  (This is one of those alterations that seems to be needed every time for me).  Usually I form a dart but for a knit I thought that was weird, so I eased the dart volume into several seams, get it?)
I painstakingly pinned all along one of the knit grainlines for each piece, to mark where to line up my pattern piece.  Seriously, it took forever.  I cut everything flat-no folded fabric here! I feel like trying to cut a thin wriggly knit like this on the fold is just asking for trouble. Wrinkles on the underside, fabric stretching and skewing... Flat seems less stressful! Hopefully all this work ensures my garment sits nicely.

The cowl does seem to behave :)  It's a pretty detail, and different to the Renfrew's cowl neck-  it's built into the pattern piece and it has a lot more drape.
The print is cute right?  I bought it from Girl Charlee. It's a lightweight cotton jersey (no spandex so I'll be watching to see if it grows).  It's absolutely perfect for invisible seams.. the busy print hides everything!

The pattern didn't say anything about reinforcing shoulder seams with cotton tape, like the Renfrew top. I just did it to be cautious... lol.  Safety first!  I wonder if it needs it?

The instructions are very well written with clear diagrams. I love that it mentions the reasons you are doing certain steps, and also mentions the difference between serging (overlocking) and straight stitch options.
It has 6mm (1/4") seam allowances which means you don't have to trim, which is nice.  Of course, that also means if it's a bit small, there's not much you can do.  Thankfully though it seems to run true to size.  No troubles there :)
Keepin' it classy with my jandals.
On colder days, I can wear this with jeans and a cardy.  It's nice to make something so casual and versatile...
You can see the back armholes aren't quite snug here.  This was my goof because after getting rid of the back armhole excess, I forgot to shorten the armhole band to match.  Noted for my next version...

I added a centre back seam and tried to add a little shaping for my sway back, but I'm not sure it accomplished much.  lol.  The ease hides it I guess.  But it was useful for chucking some dart volume into, so no regrets.  Besides, you'll never see it in this print, hee hee.

So in conclusion, thumbs up to this pattern!  Here's a photo of me trying to pose.

 Go on and make one.  You know you want to ;)

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