Have you tried any of Fabric Mart's pre-cut fabrics? They have been such a remarkable deal that you can use them for experimenting with new trends, which is what I decided to do with mine! I had two woven prints in four yard cuts- one in white and grey, and one in blue and black. Four yards each is a lot of fabric! At first, I thought that I'd make two new Spring dresses, but at the last minute, I thought "Why not make four tops instead of two dresses?" Flounces, cropped pants, and asymmetrical hemlines are all trends that I wanted to try out this Spring.
I thought of the white and grey print as my "test" fabric, as I liked the blue and black print more. So, I started out testing Vogue 9067 which is a very loose fitting top with hem and sleeve flounces. The sleeve flounces are doubled, so you don't have to hem them. I made a size smaller than my measurements would have indicated, and it is still quite voluminous.
This was really easy to sew, and if you like this look, rest assured that it doesn't take nearly as much fabric as the recommendations tell you! I do like it, but wasn't sure that I liked it enough to make it out of the blue and black print. So, on to test top #2 from Butterick 6456, a top with multiple sleeve options and a front pleat. I chose the mid length sleeves with the flounces- they have just enough flare to be fashionable, but they are not long enough to get in the way.
This style I liked a lot better than the first top pattern. The only downside is narrow-hemming that small circular flounce for the sleeve was a bear! I also made these pants from a white ponte knit, using the pattern from Pamela's Patterns- Pants Perfected. This is an interesting pattern because it includes a DVD that you can watch on how to do things like fly zippers and mock welt pockets. Pamela does a great job of explaining things, and her sizing is very generous, which is great for larger ladies. I really liked the crotch curve on this pattern, and applied the curve to my next pairs of pants as well.
So, here is Butterick 6456 in the blue and black print. Sometimes I can get away without doing a full bust adjustment, but in making the test version, I could see that I needed one, as well as a couple of other adjustments- shortening the v-neck and a forward shoulder adjustment.
Here you can see the difference that making these adjustments made:
See how the lower front curves upward in the grey and white print? And see how it's pulling a little bit at the armholes? Doing the full bust adjustment fixed both of those problems. The white and grey one is definitely still wearable, and probably no one but me would notice, but I feel better having done it. I have however changed my mind, and now prefer the grey and white print, so I wish I had reversed the order in sewing them!
For the cropped, slightly flared pants, I used a Shoshanna light blue stretch suiting fabric (now sold out) and Simplicity 8264. I'm not sure if these pants really work with the top- they are both pretty bold. I'd be interested to hear your opinions on this.
For fitting, I laid the pattern for the back pants piece crotch curve over the Pamela's patterns version, and blended Pamela's curve into this pattern. It worked great, and I think that this will be the way that I can get a better fit with other pants patterns, but still incorporate the details like leg circumference and flare from the other patterns. I like the gentle flare on the legs and the pockets on this one, but I don't care for the center back zipper. I would move that to the side if I make these again. Also, be warned- I think that these need a stretch fabric, even though the pattern doesn't indicate that.
I still had plenty of the blue and black fabric left, so I chose one more pattern- McCalls 7579. This is a pattern for both a top and close fitting pants from Nicole Miller. In the pattern, the top is actually cut into many different sections,but I didn't think that the seamlines would be noticeable with my printed fabric. So, I loosely pieced the pattern pieces together on my cutting table, as well as I could, and then traced a one piece front and a one piece back. It worked, and was a whole lot easier than sewing all of those sections together!
I also simplified the pants by extending the upper edges 1-1/2 inches, and then making an elastic waist instead of a separate waistband and zipper. I used ponte knit for these too and Pamela's Fantastic Elastic, so comfortable! You can see the interesting pant seam lines a little in the photo. I do see that they are bunching up around the knees in the photo, so I think that means I need to tighten it up in that section so there isn't excess fabric.
The top is very dramatic, and perfect for a flowy fabric like this one. I definitely want to try the pieced version out of a solid silk, now that I know that I like this style on me. That's what I like about using the pre-cut fabrics- you can try out a style inexpensively, play with alterations or variations, so that you can be much more confident when you are ready to cut into a pricier fabric.
I really enjoyed working with these pre-cut fabrics, trying some trendy patterns, and I have several more to sew up as well. How about you? Have you succumbed to the call of the pre-cut fabric specials?