cadence bishop sleeve

Saving Cadence: Round Back Adjustment

Aug 23, 2019 | Cadence Top & Dress, Fitting, Resources | 4 comments

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Saving Cadence: Round Back Adjustment

Aug 23, 2019

Noreen Mays is making her Love Notions Blog debut with a super helpful round back adjustment as well as some helpful tips and inspo for sewing up the Cadence Dress and Top. Be SURE to snag thia Feature Friday pattern, the Cadence Dress and Top, for just $5 today. As Noreen shows, it is a beautiful shift dress and top that can be used for all different seasons, styles AND bodies!

SAVING CADENCE: Adjustments for a perfect fit

I love a good underdog story! Rocky, Rudy, Iron Will, and Sea Biscuit are a few of my favorites.  They are inspiring! They make me cheer (out loud…my kids are like “calm down!” lol) and cry (why yes, I do need a dozen napkins and they are not all for the popcorn!).

 

Enter The Cadence Dress and Top.

(Spoiler alert! It’s the Feature Friday pattern and it’s just $5.00 for today only.)

 cadence feature friday

First of all, this pattern IS a winner, simply because of its seasonal versatility and how it works for a huge variety of body types. Look, I’ve got one here for every type of climate, event and mood! 

cadence seasons

Cadence: My Fit Issues

I made my first Cadence almost exactly 2 years ago. I still have my original top in my closet and it has been worn A LOT. As you can see, it is an amazingly versatile top and dress that is perfect for all seasons and is flattering on many body types — so, no, I do not think Cadence is an underdog. I will admit though, I need it to fit me better. The biggest issue I have with it is that the neck shifts on me.  Sometimes, it falls off my shoulders and I’m usually trying to set it straight without looking too awkward. (Did I really just spend half the evening with my bra strap showing? Sheesh!)  

Anyway, it was my version that was the underdog. I just knew she could be the gem she was meant to be on my body. 

In the movie Sea Biscuit, Charles Howard says “The horse is too small, the jockey too big, the trainer too old, and I’m too dumb to know the difference.”  With what I have learned about my self in the last two years, and inspired by Charles Howard (“My shoulders are too narrow, my back is too round, my waist is too big and I’m no longer too dumb to know the difference!”), I’m ready to tackle her again!  

Cadence dress and top

My adjustments for a perfect fit

First things first.  Who else has narrow shoulders? I had been doing a narrow shoulder adjustment on almost all my patterns for awhile and while it may have gotten the shoulder seam in the proper place I was often still having other issues with the neckline.  Then it was “do this adjustment,” and “put this dart here” and let’s face it, it was frustrating!  

Then I made a groundbreaking discovery. I was making the wrong size!  When I choose my pattern based (honestly) on my upper bust, I start with a large. I know, I know, it’s scary!  I haven’t worn a large in clothes since the last century! So trust Tami when she says to start with your upper bust measurement. It’s a real game changer.  Here you can see the difference between a large and the XL.

cadence narrow shoulder adjustment

Here you can see the difference between a large and the XL. 

cadence narrow shoulder adjustment

It’s exactly the amount I was taking off. Why is this so different then? Because the whole neckline will be different now, not just the shoulder.  The rest of me fits in an XL Full Bust so I just blend.

Round Back Adjustment

So now that my shoulders and neckline are correct, why does my Cadence keep wanting to shift backwards?  The first and most common thought would be that I need a forward shoulder adjustment and I sometimes do but in this case, it didn’t solve my problem.  Plus, my clothes often feel tight across the back. Having narrow shoulders and a broad back seem counterintuitive to me. Well I don’t have a broad back, I have a rounded one!  It seems that this is becoming more of a problem sooner (oh iPad you have betrayed me!) rather than later. Doing this alteration is not only easy, it’s miraculous!

I determined I needed to add an entire inch to my back so I made a line from the center back about mid armhole and cut it to, but not through, the armhole leaving a hinge.  Earlier I had drawn a line on a piece of paper and then a line ½” above and below it. I slid the paper under the pattern lining up the CB with the edge of the paper and the middle line with my cut line. Then I just spread out the pattern to the new lines and taped it down. That’s all there is to it! And since you aren’t changing the original neckline, the facings still work perfectly! 

round back adjustment

Here are the steps for a round back adjustment and a picture of my finished seam.

 

A Miraculous Adjustment

The fact that Cadence has a center back seam makes this the perfect pattern to try this on. (Backs that are cut on the fold require more steps and include darts.)  When you sew it you can really see the curve but when it’s on, it’s magic! No more pulling across the back and no more slipping! You can really see the difference between my original top and my new ones both at the center and in the fit across the back.  

cadence round back adjustment

The power of a round back adjustment!

Waist Adjustments

My last fitting dilemma in this tale is my waist.  It’s definitely “too big”. Often completely outside the size range.  This is when needing an FBA –which I haven’t needed to address because it’s already included in the pattern — is a good thing!   It adds a bit of ease in that area and with the easy fit of the Cadence I don’t need to adjust for my waist at all! Make sure to always check out the finished garment measurements so you can save some time. ( I use that extra time to eat ice cream. Don’t judge. ) 

cadence bishop sleeve 

A perfectly altered pattern

Whew we did it!  We have a perfectly altered pattern and now we can have fun!   Did you know that Cadence comes in Top, Dress and Maxi length! It has 5… yes, FIVE sleeve options and two neckline finishes!  Depending on what type of fabric you use, the looks are endless. My original one is a Rayon Challis so I had to make another one with my new super power pattern!  

cadence flair sleeve

This is the 3/4 sleeve with additional flare.

cadence shirt tail hem

 I thought adding a bit of a high/low hem with a shirttail back would add a bit of fun.  Just borrow the curve from another pattern like the Rhapsody.  

The next one I made looks completely different! There are so many options with this pattern. This time the fabric was a more structured polyester that I inherited in my MIL’s stash a few years ago, so I chose the v neck and Bishop sleeves.

cadence finishing

First, I decided to serge all the edges first and then sew it on my regular machine so I could iron all the seam allowances open. Now there’s less bulk, especially at the shoulders, with the facing, and under the arms.  

cadence bishop sleeve cadence bishop sleeve

Stitching in the ditch

Here’s another helpful tip! Do you ever have trouble with facings laying nicely? I finished all my necklines stitching the facing down with a technique I learned as “stitching in the ditch”.  After I’ve finished my neckline and pressed it, I take it to the machine where I set it at a longer than normal straight stitch.  Center the shoulder seam directly under the needle and sew slowly, slightly pulling the seam from both sides so the stitches go right in the seam allowance.  I do it at the center back seam as well. It sure beats hand tacking the facing down. (Hey! That’s more time for ice cream! Score!)

stitch in the ditch

Underdog to Champion

So in true underdog story fashion, my Cadence pattern is now a hero, a champion for all those Pinterest inspiration tops I’ve been saving!  Which one will I make next? The bigger question is which one will YOU make next? With it being the feature Friday pattern and just $5.00, now is the perfect chance to try and make your own Cadence story. (And can you do it quickly please? I get impatient waiting for opening night!)

cadence all seasons

 

 

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More on the blog

Sonata is now available XS-5X

Sonata Dress Update

Great news Love Notions Friends! The Sonata Dress has now joined many other exceptional patterns on the new size chart. This pattern is now inclusive through size 5x with 4 cup sizes to help you get your perfect fit. I was really happy when this pattern came to the top of the list. Let me also mention that it is today’s $5 Feature Friday pattern!! So a pattern update and save 7 bucks!!!

sonata

Woven Fabric Friendly Pattern

For the last several months, I have been working on adding to my collection of patterns designed for woven fabrics. It all started when I fell in love with the Rhapsody and now I am not looking back. Today I am sharing a few different Sonatas and discussing how they look, feel, and sew up using three different types of fabrics. Please keep in mind that this pattern is drafted for lightweight wovens or stable knits so I did stay within those guidelines. I assembled these garments with my home sewing machine and finished all the edges with my serger.

A Sizing Update and more Cool Weather Ideas

I was lucky enough to be able to pretest the new size chart for the Sonata dress. We worked hard on getting a nice fit and now I have a few lovely versions to share with you. Anytime I am planning to make a pattern that has been previously released, I always browse the maker gallery. I look for color combos that pop, body shapes like mine, and what options I like and even those I don’t. As I looked through the original pattern listing, it was pretty clear it was released during much nicer weather than what I am currently experiencing. The gallery was loaded with sleeveless or short sleeved versions, green grass and sunshine. (I was totally jealous.) All I wanted was a long sleeved version for myself because it is cold here. I actually had to break up my photo session because my fingers were going numb from the freezing temps! The maker gallery absolutely confirmed that I wanted to add contrast fabrics for the neckline facing as I LOVED that detail. An interesting neckline is always a hit with me especially when I can colorblock a bit. Have you seen the neckline on the Vivace? That V-neck style is at the top of my ‘Love It’ list.

sonata

Today I am sharing three different Sonatas

Two of them are made per the pattern directions and the other, the magenta version, I made a few changes. I shortened the skirt length by 7 inches and added 3 inches to the sleeve length. I knew I wanted to try a tunic length to wear over my black and white ponte Sabrina Slims I made last year. I was really tempted to make myself a sleeveless one dress and pair it with the Ladies Boyfriend Cardigan as it would look really fashionable and I could still be warm. If you enjoy pattern hacking like I do, you may want to give my cropped Sloane hack a try as it too would work very well over a sleeveless Sonata. You can read that blog post here. I love coming up with creative ways to wear my clothing year around!  

Fabric Affects Look!

My main reason to make this pattern using different weights of fabric was to show how much fabric choice really affects the look. I used a range of fabrics including a thrifted bed sheet which is a light slippery polyester, a poly cotton blend and a solid stretch poplin. While they all ok, they had some differences and some worked better than others. 

 1. Quilting Cotton + Light Polyester

The light teal print had the best drape and was the lightest in weight of the three. It sewed fairly easily, frayed a good bit especially when removing stitches, and it is cool to the touch which I like. I used quilter’s cotton for the neckline contrast facing. The first time I made this, I used a lightweight interfacing between the layers of the facing. This ended up being a little too bulky. For this example, I used no interfacing. I think if I had used my main fabric for the facing I would have certainly needed the interfacing layer to provide some stability there. I found this version was a bit more clingy than the others, but it feels so nice against my skin. I used a lengthened straight stitch to hem the bottom hem.

2. Poly Cotton Blend

The black printed version is a poly cotton blend. This fabric sewed so nicely with very little fraying even when unpicking was needed. This version turned out to be my absolute favorite. I love this print and the vivid colors. It has enough drape to hang nicely, but I don’t feel like the wind would blow it upwards. I like that it has enough structure to ‘smooth’ over my body and isn’t clingy at all. I finished my sleeves with a rolled hem so the finish wouldn’t change the flutter look of the sleeves. I used a blind hem stitch to finish the bottom hem. 

3. Solid Stretch Poplin

The solid magenta version has the least amount of drape between the three fabrics and has some stretch across the grain only. I wanted to see if the stretch would change the feel at all. Do keep in mind this pattern will work with stable knits. While the fabric feels nice to wear and is wearable, the drape is a little bit too stiff for my preference in a dress. I am glad I had planned this as a tunic length because this as a dress would have  been too structured. The extra weight of this fabric was very evident in the elastic casing in the back which looks and feels bulky. I used a lengthened straight stitch to hem both the sleeves and bottom hem. When you make your own Sonata dress, I suggest that you look for fabrics with a lovely drape as you will be most happy with the look and feel. 

If you want to give the Sonata Dress a try, now is the perfect time to pick up this pattern. Today it is the $5 Feature Friday pattern! This deal will only last today, so feel free to shop my afflink here. This doesn’t change the pricing for you at all, but I earn a small commission on any purchases made through my link. So I thank you. I look forward to seeing all of your beautiful Sonata dresses. 


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Thomas Track Pants + Minky Fabric

From track to lounge: a guide to working with fluffy double-sided minky fabric.

It is no secret that I love sewing for my boys. They have grown up in custom clothing and I have loved every second of it. As they become older their “mom, make me this shirt or these pants” are more scarce but they still pop up once in a while. Luckily Love Notions has plenty of patterns geared towards those “cool” older kiddos too. One of these patterns is the Thomas Track Pants. The pattern features a wide variety of sizes, from 2T to 14. It is drafted for woven and stable knit fabrics and features so many cool accents, like ankle zipper, piping and pockets. Guess what? The pattern is today’s Feature Friday, ON SALE today for only $5! Grab it here so you don’t forget!

Today on the blog I wanted to show you how easy, albeit a little messy 😉, can be to take the Thomas pants from track to lounge by using double sideD minky. What is double sided minky, you ask? It’s thicker minky fabric that is soft and plush on both sides, it has vertical and horizontal stretch and the perfect weight for blankets, loungewear and robes (ahem, Compose Robe) . Double sided minky is also know as fluff, plush, cush, they are all the same cuddly goodness. The image is printed on one side and the back is usually white. As opposed to regular minky, the back is soft and feels great when worn.

What do you need to sew with this fabric?

The first thing I recommend you grab is a lint roller. There will be fluffy goodness flying all over your sewing area, just accept it and embrace it! 😊 I use the lint roller after I cut all pattern pieces and then at the end of the sewing process. Speaking of cutting…I highly encourage you to cut double sided minky with a rotary cutter instead of scissors. I find it “contains” the excess lint a bit better. Since this kind of minky stretches both horizontally and vertically, a Ball Point Needle is recommended. I like 90/14 for my domestic sewing machine. Lots of people like sewing minky with a walking foot. This style foot feeds the fabrics at the same speed. I personally tend to skip it but that is not to say that you may not find it very useful.

Let’s make the Thomas pants using fluff

First and foremost, cut your fabric as instructed in the tutorial. I have not made any alterations or mods to the pattern. I opted for view B because I cannot miss a chance to add some piping…ever!

I cut all my pattern pieces using a projector and the projector file included
Cut, cut, cut….roll, roll, roll that lint roller.

MINKY SEWING TIP #1: Increase your stitch length

When sewing with double sided minky I like increasing my stitch length to 3.5 and lower the tension to 3.8. Play around with your machine settings and see what works for you. As a rule of thumb, the longer the stitch the easier it will sew. You don’t want it too long, though, you want to make sure it holds well when worn.

MINKY SEWING TIP #2: Use a Walking or Zipper Foot for Piping

If you add piping accents you will need to switch your walking foot to a zipper or piping foot. It will work fine because the stretchier fabric is on the needle plate.

TIP: When sewing two fabrics with different stretch levels, have the stretchier one down and the less stretchier one under the presser foot.

MINKY SEWING TIP #3: Press, but carefully

Do not skip pressing after each sewing step!! The difference between a “pressed throughout” pair of pants and one that was not is HUGE. Just look at the example I give you below. Minky is a polyester base so be very cautious of your iron settings. ToO high temperature and it will melt before your eyes. I recommend using a cotton pressing cloth if you want to increase the temperature. Don’t be afraid to use steam.

MINKY SEWING TIP #4: Use lots of Pins or Clips

My next tip for working with double sided minky is to use an abundance of clips or pins. This is definitely a case of more the better! Since the fabric has stretch and it’s pretty sleek, pinning in every 1″-1.5″ will help the stitching process go much, much smother.

MINKY SEWING TIP #6: Topstitching

While top stitching is most of the time optional, in the case of double sided minky it is highly recommended . This fabric is pretty thick so the seam allowances will be twice as thick. Top stitching will reduce that bulk considerably, especially in the area where there is piping too.

Just look how nice it looks with piping, totally worth adding it!

MINKY SEWING TIP #7: Use a Serger

Last but not least, use your serger when possible! I find that the serger can be easily utilized for the construction of the pants. The front/back crotch and the inseam can be stitched so fast with the serger. Plus, the overlock stitch encloses the raw edge and all the flyaway fluff. Since I added piping to my kids’s Thomas track pants, I had to use my sewing machine more but if you make the “plain” option or skip the piping you can use the serger for the other steps too.

Sewing with double sided minky can be so pleasant, especially when you wrap yourself in the fluffy softness afterwards. A cup of hot cocoa and a book and you will be lounging for hours. My little one has been wearing his newest Thomas pants daily. He said “they are so soft, mom, like my blanket”. Now if only I could convince him that matching socks is still a thing 🤣….

Now that you have some tips and tricks for sewing with fluff, feel free to use them when stitching minky, cuddle minky, luxe cuddle, ultra soft plush or any of the sort.

Some other Love Notions patterns that would work beautifully with this soft goodness are the Compose Robe, Oakley and Acorn Vest, Constellation , North Star and Navigator.

I can’t wait to see what you create! Don’t forget to share your beautiful Thomas Track pants in the Love Notions Facebook groups and on Instagram.

Alex


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Thomas Track Pants + Minky

Fabric Guide for Garment Sewists

You need two things to sew a garment successfully: a pattern plus some fabric. You know Love Notions has you covered when it comes to the pattern, but sometimes the trickiest part of the whole process is figuring out the fabric.

Where to Shop for Fabric Online

If you are like me, you might think shopping for fabric is one of the most fun parts of sewing. I think a lot of us feel this way! However, with all of the options for fabric shopping out there, I’ve noticed that we often hear some version of this question: “Where should I shop for fabric online?” So this post is for anyone new to fabric shopping and includes tons of recommendations from our Ambassador team, who are expert fabric shoppers!

Fabric for Allegro

Tencel, linen, double-brushed poly, challis. If you are looking for some fabric options for your Allegros, you are in luck! Tami is here with lots of options for fabric (and she has thrown in a TON of different ways to style them. Don’t miss that faux romper look and be sure to RSVP for the Allegro Sew Along.

 

Allegro fabric

Fabric for Allegro

I’m excited to be back here on the Love Notions blog today talking about one of my favorite things to wear and sew.  When Tami mentioned the Allegro pattern (affiliate link) getting a reboot I almost squealed when I heard a jogger option would be added.  The pattern was already so full of options, two skirt lengths, two shorts lengths and a cropped pant but now it’s even better with the addition of full length pants and cuffed joggers too.  I have lived in these pants the last few summers and I’m thrilled to be able to recreate them!

Fabric makes a huge difference

For this post, I’m going to dive into how fabric makes such a difference in the look of this pattern.  I sewed up four different pairs of pants in a variety of fabric types to show just how versatile this pattern can look and how fabric plays such an important role in the final product.  The recommended fabrics for this pattern are light to medium weight wovens such as rayon, linen, chambray, gauze, or poplin.  You can also use knits but may need to adjust sizing.  I stuck with the full length pant option and added elastic to the cuffs for two of the versions.  I wanted to do them as close as possible to each other but still add a little diversity to my wardrobe.  I sewed up a size 6 and graded out for my calves according to the size chart.  My waist put me in a size 8 but I chose not to grade out and adjusted my elastic to fit.  One tip- I used two different elastic types, non-roll woven and soft waistband, and I had to cut my soft waistband elastic much shorter than the recommended length because it is so stretchy!

First up….

TENCEL Fabric for Allegro

allegro tencel allegro tencel allegro tencel

 

The first pair I’m going to show you is one I’ve had envisioned since I tried on this pair of joggers last year.  They were unfortunately out of my size and I walked away empty handed.  I grabbed this amazing Lyocell denim from Jo-Ann’s and knew I needed to recreate them.  Like every good sewist, my project list is about three times longer than my actual time to sew so this fabric has sat waiting for this project for way too long.  This Lyocell has amazing drape and is very comfortable.  It’s heavier than the challis but still much lighter than the linen.  It’s a fantastic year round weight.

 

allegro tencel

How to Style Tencel Allegros

I styled these joggers with my Game Day Jersey for a fun casual look that works for these long days at home.   These are a great alternative to jeans and will be just as versatile.  I can’t wait to pair them with my favorite Rhapsody top if we can ever sneak away for a date night out.

The rest of my fabrics were all sponsored by Raspberry Creek Fabrics.  I had such a hard time picking just what fabrics to use because there were so many that would work great.  Did I want to go safe with a pretty solid challis?  Or would a bold stripe linen be more exciting?  In the end I went with three very different weight substrates to really highlight the variety of styles you can achieve with this pattern.

CHALLIS Allegros

Allegro Fabric challis

 

This rayon challis caught my eye when it first released and I’ve been trying to figure out how to work it into my closet.   This is the lightest weight fabric at 3.6 oz that I used and I love how breezy these are.  These will be perfect for those super hot summer days.  It’s got gorgeous drape and I think it’s the most forgiving of the substrates I used.  It really flows over the body and is so dreamy to wear!

 

Allegro Fabric challis Allegro Fabric challis Allegro Fabric challis

How to Style Challis Allegros

I paired these with a simple Classic Tee in white double brushed poly (this is such a wardrobe staple!).  With cute sandals, this is an outfit that I can wear all summer long.  Just looking at this outfit has me longing for summer barbecues and beach vacations.

 

Allegro Fabric challis

 

LINEN Allegros

 

allegro linen allegro linen allegro linen

 

This pattern looks amazing in linen and I knew I had to give it a try too!  I picked this striped Robert Kaufman linen and had a little fun playing with the stripes with my pattern pieces.  This linen is heavier weight at 5.3 oz.  You can see that it doesn’t have the drape of the others but it also hides things a bit more too.  This fabric gives these pants a straighter fit.  I think the structure would work especially well for the shorts or short skirt version of this pattern.

 

allegro linen

Styling Linen Allegros

This outfit makes me feel so happy!  I paired these pants with a Harmony Top in rayon and love how bright and cheerful it feels.

DOUBLE-BRUSHED POLY Allegros — a knit!

 

allegro dbp allegro dbp allegro dbp

 

For my final pair, I switched things up and used a knit!  What?!  I used this amazingly soft double brushed polyester for a pair of pants perfect for lounging.  I love the feel of double brushed poly and wear it year round.  It has the drape of a rayon but also flows nicely over lumps and bumps.  It’s lightweight and the stretch makes them so comfortable.  I didn’t adjust my sizing at all and love the fit of them.  You may find that you want to size down when using knits with this pattern but I am super happy with these.

 

allegro dbp

 

I did make one little adjustment to these.  I added a band to the pocket to keep it from stretching out.  I cut a piece of fabric 1.5″x the length of the pocket opening minus about an 1″.  You’ll want to slightly stretch this piece as you sew it between the pocket lining and main pant front to bring the pocket in a touch.

 

allegro dbp

 

Styling the Double-Brushed Poly Allegros

The Allegros are the perfect base to create a faux jumpsuit or dress and I knew I needed to include one in my looks.  These are paired with another Classic Tee for a casual jumpsuit look without the inconvenience of getting undressed to use the restroom.  This is the ultimate in stay-at-home comfort!  Head to toe brushed poly- yes please! 

For more faux jumpsuit or dress outfits, I think you can pair so many Love Notions tops with this pattern.  The Melody Top would look adorable paired with the shorts option or a Summer Basic Tank with either skirt would be summer perfection!

(Psst… speaking of one-piece garments like rompers and jumpsuits, I heard Love Notions is going to be releasing one soon!)

Allegro Sewalong

If you are looking for some more support as you sew up your Allegros, be sure to join the upcoming Allegro Sew Along with Kelly. She will walk you through all the steps from fabric, to sizing, to sewing, to hacks! Click here to access the Sew Along content. The event will happen live May 18-23, 2020, but will be available permanently on the Love Notions blog and youtube account.

allegro sewalong

 

It’s been so fun sewing up and sharing my Allegros and now I have a great start on a versatile and comfortable wardrobe for this season.  Make sure you grab your copy today!

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Fabric for Forte Top and Dress

A Fabric for Every Forte

forte fabric

Today’s post is all about knit fabric choice and the Forte Top! For many sewists, one of the hardest parts of sewing is picking out the fabric. Wouldn’t it be great to see the exact pattern made up in a bunch of fabric types to help you make up your mind? Today, Sequoia is sewing up the same Forte top in 4 different knit fabrics (Liverpool, Cotton Spandex, ITY and Double-Brushed Poly) so you can visualize your makes and learn all about sewing with different knit fabrics. Happy Feature Friday for Forte!

Forte Fabric Comparison

Hi Everyone! I am Sequoia, from SequoiaLynn Sews and this is my first time writing for the Love Notions blog. A few months ago, I was invited to become a Love Notions Ambassador and I was thrilled to be given the opportunity. I work hard as a tester/blogger and was super excited to be noticed for that. One of the awesome perks that come with being on the BA team is guest blogging! I knew pretty quickly that I wanted to do a fabric comparison for the Forte Top View A

Forte View A + Learning about Fabrics

Forte was rereleased last year with sizing from XS-5X and I had sewn a Forte View A recently and adored it. When I first started sewing, I didn’t know my fabrics at all! I am hoping this comparison will help someone out. Let’s face it, I still ask questions. I have learned that not all fabric is created equal and it is best to find a reputable source for your fabrics! Now, let’s get started and I do hope you enjoy my first blog post here at Love Notions.

 

forte cotten lycra

 Same Pattern, Different Fabric

My goal was to create the exact same top in 4 fabric bases to give sewists an even comparison. I wanted to note breath ability, drape, and ease of sewing to help folks get a better understanding of what they are working with. The bases I selected were Liverpool, ITY, Double Brushed Poly, and Cotton Lycra. I was lucky enough to have 2 fabric sponsors who provided me with all these amazing fabrics! Stitchin’ Pretties and Surge Fabric Shop were both super generous with their sponsorships and I am very grateful. If you haven’t shopped with them yet, please check them out.

 

forte ITY

Forte in Liverpool Fabric

Let’s start with Liverpool. Liverpool, sometimes referred to as LP, is considered a structured knit fabric which means that it will hold a bit of its shape instead of having a flowy drape to it. It is slightly thick with a noticeable surface texture. Liverpool tends to have nice stretch and recovery which makes it comfortable to wear. 

Sewing with Liverpool Fabric

Liverpool sews up very neatly. I used both my serger and my sewing machine for construction. While serging my bodice to my skirt, the fabric became slightly wavy, but with just a little bit of steam pressing, it looks beautiful! Had I noticed this during construction, I could have adjusted my differential feed for a smoother seam. 

In the US, Liverpool is readily available. This beautiful print is from Surge Fabric Shop. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to have it. The minty background is perfect for spring. I love Liverpool for peplum tops like the Forte or Cigarette style pants like Sabrina Slims! Some people feel that Liverpool doesn’t “breathe” well, meaning they become hot or (yikes) even sweaty while wearing it. I personally wear Liverpool all year long in Ohio, where the heat index can sometimes cross the 100*F mark, without overheating. 

 

forte liverpool

forte liverpool

 Forte in ITY Fabric

Next up is ITY or Interlock Twist Yarn. The name ITY comes from the process of twisting the thread fibers to create a wonderful stretch and a cool/soft feeling on both sides of the fabric. I love ITY fabric because of the “cool to the touch” feeling! ITY is typically a poly/lycra blend so the stretch and recovery are both excellent. 

Sewing with ITY Fabric

The texture is smooth on both sides, but also slippery which can make it a little tricky to sew. I use extra clips to keep my layers from shifting while I sew. ITY runs smoothly through my serger, but sometimes my sewing machine gets a little hungry and tries to “eat it” by poking in through the needle plate and into my bobbin case. To prevent this, I just lay a piece of tissue paper under my fabric and sew away. The tissue paper peels off easily when finished. The drape of ITY is excellent because it is thin and lightweight and it is widely available in prints and solids. Love Notions newest pattern, Vivace would be absolutely dreamy in ITY. This beautiful print is from Surge Fabric Shop

 

forte ITY

forte ITY

Forte and Cotton Lyrcra

My third fabric today is Cotton Lycra. Most people know cotton is a natural fiber and lycra isn’t. Together, they become a super comfy fabric that washes well, wears well, and breathes well! This adorable CL print is a 10 oz. weight which is a mid- weight of cotton lycra. Because of the weight, it doesn’t have a fluid drape like some fabrics do, but it still makes lovely shirts. As you can see this has a bit of structure, but I can tell you it is still super comfy! Some cotton lyrca, say a 7 oz., is lighter in weight and would have slightly more drape.  Cotton Lycra has great stretch and recovery. It is always readily available in a huge variety of colors and prints. Most custom shops offer CL as an option. The Tabitha top would also be an excellent choice for cotton lycra fabrics! 

Sewing with Cotton Lycra

CL sews easily in both the serger and sewing machine. When pulled or stretched, the edges tend to curl. If you like this look, you won’t even need to hem your top. This super fun print I am wearing, was sponsored by Stitchin’ Pretties. Meow!

 

forte cotton lycra

forte cotton lyrcra

 

Forte and Double Brushed Poly

My final Forte of the day is a Double Brushed Poly base. DBP, for short, is a polyester spandex blend that has been brushed during the manufacturing process on both sides of the fabric. It is very soft to the touch and often feels “suede like.”  Double Brushed poly has excellent drape, recovery, and stretch. It washes very well and as a bonus, it rarely needs ironing. Double brushed poly is comfortable to wear, has great 4-way stretch and is typically light to mid weight. Since this is a synthetic fabric, it also doesn’t breathe well. Folks in hotter climates may avoid it during the warmer months. Again, I wear this year round in Ohio without issues.  

Sewing with Double Brushed Poly

Double brushed poly goes through my serger like butter. Sometimes, on the lighter weights, I will use the tissue paper trick I mentioned in the ITY section on brushed polys. DBP is probably my most used fabric, I can find it in most online shops and it comes in an unlimited range of colors and prints. There is also a single brushed poly fabric that is only “suede-like” on one side and can be slightly cooler. Need another pattern option? I have seen some stylish Game Day Jersey tops made from brushed poly! This beautiful floral print I am wearing was sponsored by Stitchin’ Pretties.

 

forte dbp

forte dbp

 

Here’s a collage of all 4 fabric bases together. Which look do you prefer?

forte fabric

 

Some Sources for your Forte Fabric

I want to give one more shout out to my amazing fabric sponsors for making this blog post possible. 

Surge Fabrics is located in Missouri and carries an array of fabrics. I received responses within one day of sending questions and my fabric shipped the day after my order was placed. 

Stitchin’ Pretties is located in Maine and is a one woman show! There is a one day turn around on orders placed and they frequently have great sales. Stitchin’ Pretties has a huge selection of knit fabrics with a few lovely wovens thrown in the mix.

Thank you both for sponsoring exceptional fabrics for my blog post.    

 

forte liverpool

My Forte Fit Tweaks

For my personal fit, I added 2 inches to the bodice length and 1 inch to the peplum. I prefer more of a tunic length in my tops and this worked out perfectly. I used the included full bust adjustment and did a 1.5 inch bicep adjustment. 

Forte Pattern Info

As a reminder here is the rundown of all the info from the website on the Forte Top…

“The Forte top and dress is a great transitional piece to add to your wardrobe. Included are four body styles, two dresses and several sleeve options to mix and match. Mix and match the sleeve flounces or leave them off entirely. The Forte is meant for light to medium weight knits. Views B & D can even be made as dresses! Sizes XS-5X.”

This pattern is rated for confident beginners.

 

Drapey top pdf pattern

 The pattern includes:

  •         Four top views:
  •         A- gathered skirt peplum style with scoop neck
  •         B- waterfall skirt with v-neck
  •         C- classic tee with scoop neck
  •         D- gathered inverted with v-neck
  •         Two dress views: B & D
  •         Six sleeve options to mix and match:
  •         short with flounce
  •         bell
  •         gathered
  •         plain short
  •         plain mid-length
  •         plain long
  •         A full bust piece is also included for ladies with a 4-6″ high bust to full bust difference– no need to do a FBA! The Forte is fitted at the bust with plenty of ease in the waist and hips.
  •         In addition to the print-at-home file is a large format file for copy shop printing. This file will print on five A0 (33″ x 46″) size sheets. Be sure to instruct your printer to print actual size in black and white on their cheapest paper.
  •         A projector file is also included for those using projector technology to cut their fabric

 

And remember, now you know there’s…

…a Forte for every fabric and a fabric for every Forte!

Thanks for sticking with me and reading through the whole post. If you love the Forte pattern as much as I do, please use my affiliate link to check it out.

Forte Top and Dress Pattern

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4 Comments

  1. Sandy

    WOW, thanks Noreen for all the valuable information. I have seen many of your makes on facebook and you are an inspiration to all of us. This is a big help since I too have similar issues but I have been hesitant to attempt them.

    Reply
  2. karilynpittman

    Excellent blog post, Noreen! So many helpful tips and your visual for the rounded back adjustment is spot on! When I finish my dish of ice cream, I’m going to cut out and see up another Cadence! Thanks for your efforts! Well done!

    Reply
  3. Wyn

    Hi Noreen, so glad to see how to do the back adjustment. I know I need this. This’ll help me to get actually start sewing something knowing it’ll actually fit better!!! One question – I’m confused about your stitching the shoulder and Centre back – is it like top-stitching? Each side of the seam? Or are you stitching over the Centre stitch line? ie over the stitches? How does it help keep the seam allowances flat? I’m really confused about it. I’ve never tried it.

    Reply
    • Keira Wood

      Hi Wyn! If you are referring to the facing, the method Noreen mentioned is commonly used to tack down the facings to the shoulder seams to keep them from slipping out of the top by accident. You stitch in the ditch from the right side to catch the facing underneath. This keeps the facing tacked to the shoulder seams without a visible stitch. Stitching in the ditch means stitching in the existing seamline, so in the seam where the shoulders are attached together in this case. Alternatively, you can hand tack the facing to the shoulder seams from the inside instead. ~K

      Reply

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4 Comments

  1. Sandy

    WOW, thanks Noreen for all the valuable information. I have seen many of your makes on facebook and you are an inspiration to all of us. This is a big help since I too have similar issues but I have been hesitant to attempt them.

    Reply
  2. karilynpittman

    Excellent blog post, Noreen! So many helpful tips and your visual for the rounded back adjustment is spot on! When I finish my dish of ice cream, I’m going to cut out and see up another Cadence! Thanks for your efforts! Well done!

    Reply
  3. Wyn

    Hi Noreen, so glad to see how to do the back adjustment. I know I need this. This’ll help me to get actually start sewing something knowing it’ll actually fit better!!! One question – I’m confused about your stitching the shoulder and Centre back – is it like top-stitching? Each side of the seam? Or are you stitching over the Centre stitch line? ie over the stitches? How does it help keep the seam allowances flat? I’m really confused about it. I’ve never tried it.

    Reply
    • Keira Wood

      Hi Wyn! If you are referring to the facing, the method Noreen mentioned is commonly used to tack down the facings to the shoulder seams to keep them from slipping out of the top by accident. You stitch in the ditch from the right side to catch the facing underneath. This keeps the facing tacked to the shoulder seams without a visible stitch. Stitching in the ditch means stitching in the existing seamline, so in the seam where the shoulders are attached together in this case. Alternatively, you can hand tack the facing to the shoulder seams from the inside instead. ~K

      Reply

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