Back to Basics with the Irena Knit Top from Itch to Stitch

I’m so desperately requiring basic wardrobe pieces at the moment. The Irena Knit Top by Itch to Stitch however is a bit more than basic due to a nice V-neck, sleeve and hem bands.

It is another installment of pattern testing* for Itch to Stitch, the first was the Mila Tunic Shirt.  As seems to be the case with Kennis’ designs, the process is flawless from start to finish, from printing the pattern, to ironing the last seam. The neckband is cleverly designed to lay nice and flat around the neckline.

I used black performance cotton lycra (96% cotton/ 10% elastane) for my first version. It’s pretty basic colour for the first go and I have to say I really like the fit. The sleeve and top length are perfect for me. I used a straight stitch for most of the construction except for when attaching the sleeve cuffs and hem band, where I used a narrow zig zag to allow for stretch. All internal seams were serged for a nice clean finish.

irena black front 2

                         irena black front  irena black back

I included a lightened hanger photo so you can see the neckline detail as black is so hard to photograph.

Irena top hanger

My second iteration was made after the following pattern alterations were made such that the v-neck is lower, shoulders slightly narrowed and bust, waist and hip are 1 inch wider in the circumference. So it’s the final look as it will be when purchasing the pattern from her store. Dependent on fabric type it can either be more fitted, or loser, as with my stripe version to be more a sweater type top.

irena stripe front

                            irena stripe side  irena stripe back

This version is made from deluxe black/white ponte stripe (65% rayon/32%nylon/3% elastane) with no alterations. And cut such that the sleeve and hem band stripes are in the opposite direction to the body of the top. I made sure my fabric stretched in both directions when purchasing so I could accomplish this look.

The top has quite a low V and may need a modesty top worn underneath, that’s how I roll anyway. They are great transition pieces and can be worn with a shirt underneath for layering.

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.

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Black and Gold Sequins become a Midi Pencil Skirt

I was very lucky to get a fabric store voucher for Mother’s Day way back when, and didn’t waste any time spending it, especially as the store was having a sale.

I came home with some things I had been eyeing for a while, especially this sequin number. Without really knowing what I was going to make with it, I purchased 1.5m, I’m not quite sure of the fabric content, it doesn’t really matter either.

Fast forward 6 months later I am finally making something with it. I didn’t want to over complicate things and make a dress, or a busy skirt, so decided on a maxi skirt. The fabric has a little stretch so I cheated by making something with an elastic waistband.

sequin skirt front

                            sequin skirt side 2 sequin skirt back 4

First I made a pattern using my waist, hip and length measurements. I used a black performance cotton lycra (90% cotton/ 10% elastane) as the lining, cut to the same measurements and constructed in the same manner as the outer fabric. I have read a million times that it is often better to remove sequins in the seam allowance before sewing but mine were not that densely packed together and I just used a heavy duty needle (denim needle) to sew and didn’t have any problems. There wasn’t a symmetrical pattern repeat so I just went with what I had.

sequin fabric

I got as far as attaching the elastic waistband and tried on the skirt and it just felt and looked BLAH!!!!! I slept on it, not sure what to do, and next morning chopped off the length to a midi version instead and narrowed the skirt by about an inch on either side seam and pegged it from hip down. I think the fabric had more stretch in it than I originally thought and just was a saggy hot mess. Probably not helped by the fact that sequin fabric has a bit of weight behind it anyway and drags.

Anyway, I cut the lining in the same way, attached a new, narrower 3cm wide black elastic waistband, and used hemming web for the sequin fabric hem. Oh my goodness, why have I never discovered this before for hemming tricky fabric, it made everything so much easier and I had a nice crisp hem. The knit lining was just cut across at the bottom and the hem left unfinished as I still wasn’t sure on how the skirt would go once worn plus it doesn’t fray, and more to the point I was finishing this up the night before wanting to wear it to a function.

Normally I like to serge the seams but I didn’t with this as I wasn’t sure if the sequins would blunt my serger blade. Also the knit lining doesn’t fray so didn’t bother with that either. For construction I used a narrow zig zag stitch with a slightly longer stitch length than normal.

sequin skirt side 3

It is a really quick garment to sew and fits like a glove once fitting issues are sorted. I feel so glamorous and glitzy for such little effort. The sequins are definitely more gold as seen in the fabric close up photo than yellow as they appear in the others.