Monday, September 28, 2015

TSW Ivy (and Urban) Tee

The Odette and Ivy pattern from The Sewing Workshop (TSW) has been out for almost a year, I think. It contains two very different knit tops, so a real two-fer. Previously I made the Odette and like it very much. The tunic length shirt is called Ivy and it is the one I just finished.

I omitted the inset in the left sleeve because I used the same solid fabric for the entire piece. And it's black.
The Ivy contains three separate flanges that float around the hips. I like for things to float around but never land on my hips. Recently, while traveling, I almost bought a black Eileen Fisher tunic that was similar (not as interesting though), but when they did not have my size, I resolved to make my own.

That's what we do, right?

This pattern has some interesting lines and was a fun make. Of course, it is perfect for coordinating knit fabrics but I wanted a basic black tunic. There is always next time for fabric play.

The black knit fabric came from Alabama Chanin, who you may know is a very interesting maker. She designs and sells beautiful hand-sewn (as in, no sewing machine!) garments from USA grown and manufactured cotton knits. She has also published a number of books for those of us in the DIY market where she describes her process in detail. She sells her organic knits by the yard online as well as at The Sewing Workshop. And she offers classes and workshops. All in all, a very generous and conscientious business person.

Back of TSW's Ivy Tee, AC's light weight jersey.

This is the second time I've sewn with the AC knits. I made TSW's Urban Tee during June and never blogged about it for some reason. I think the blue knit is AC's medium weight knit, more beefy like interlock but really nice.

TSW's Urban Tee, AC's medium weight knit

As jersey knits go, it is pretty easy to sew. Not as easy as ponte because jersey likes to curl but still very cooperative. And the AC knit likes the steam iron as much as I do.

I do think that because it is 100% cotton, it does not recover as well as knits containing Lycra. That may be just me, but it seems so. I'm going to do some more research to see if others have noted this.

The recovery issue came into play with the neckline. TSW provides a pattern piece for the rectangle to be cut for the neckline and this is usually just right. You fold the rectangle length-wise wrong sides together and press. Then you sew the short ends right sides together and fold the circle wrong sides together. Using the good old Stretch and Sew technique of quartering the neckline and quartering the neckband, the three layers are sewn together and pressed so that the seam allowances can be top-stitched close to the original sewing line. A nice ready-to-wear detail.

This time though, I could not get it to lay down flat after sewing it on. Perhaps I was too heavy-handed. Before the top-stitching, I removed the offending neckband and re-cut it 1 inch shorter.

It still does not lay down as flat as I would like. But it will probably be fine when I wear it. And we have about 100% humidity right now. That should help.

Has anyone else used this knit? It feels heavenly and I know I'm going to enjoy wearing it. Because it is black I will probably dry-clean it.


  1. Elegant tunic. You see the possibilities in so many patterns!

    I have a couple piece of Alabama Chanin moderate-weight knit but am trying to figure out how to combine one of the pieces with a gorgeous gauze I bought from Sewing Workshop. Probably layering two different pieces. The knits seem to be superb quality.

    In my experience, knits with lycra are far superior to all-cotton knit as far as recovery is concerned. All cotton knit pants look baggy and unkempt in short order while wearing them. Sandra Betzina once recommended fusing interfacing to the knee area on such knits but I haven't tried that yet. All cotton knit in a top or jacket is just fine.

  2. My experience with 100% cotton knit is that it does not recover until you wash and dry it. Since you plan on dry cleaning, I am not sure how that will work. You probably already know this but if you have a problem with the neckline stretching out you could always try unstitching a small area of the neckband and inserting clear elastic (casing style). It's my go to cheater method when I just can't make the neckline lay flat enough. In any case, your tunic is beautiful as is everything you do.