Vogue 1568 Ponte Tunic

Vogue 1568 Ponte Tunic

This project is part of my focus on Wardrobe Basics for Autumn 2022. I have a real dearth of basic garments in solid colours and so set about sewing things that will be reliable pieces for wearing to work or going out. These aren’t going to be trendy pieces but rather garments that can be worn over and over again and made interesting with the addition of scarves, jewellery, or interesting toppers.

You can learn more about these projects on my YouTube channel – Janine Sews – and the link to the video featuring this tunic is here.

The first garment is a tunic using Vogue 1568, a “Today’s Fit” pattern by Sandra Betzina from 2017.

The photos on the pattern envelope don’t do it justice. Think more JJill (like the tunic to the right) and less organza or netting. By the way, I used to wear a lot of JJill when I lived/worked in the U.S.A. I always liked the very clean lines that were more about comfortable elegance and less athleisure or coastal granny,

I looked at this pattern a dozen times before deciding to give it a try. Why the hesitation? It’s lined. Lined knit. I specifically wanted a tunic with either a V-neck or slash opening and after looking at other options, I decided to sew this since the line drawings represented what I wanted. I selected View B which is a pullover tunic with a V-neck and slits in the side.

Fabric

For this pattern I used a lovely mid-weight rayon Ponte de Roma that I purchased from Olga’s Fabric Lane here in Calgary. I bought enough to make a set of coordinates – top, pants and skirt. Those reviews will come at some point in the not-too-distant future.

The lining was purchased from Fabricland West. And it was almost a perfect match to the fashion fabric. The lining is sitting on top of the cut fabric in the top of the photo on the left.

Adjustments

There are no finished garment measurements on the tissue (although the instruction sheets refer to their existence) so I took a look at the few pattern reviews posted on websites and blogs and decided to go with what I normally sew. In the instructions it is stated that the shoulders are narrow which helped me to make the decision on sizing. I did, however do an FBA. Had there been finished garment measurements I would have definitely chosen a smaller size. In retrospect, had I taken the words ‘loose fitting’ seriously in the instructions, I would have had a clue 😅

The Process

Sewing a lined knit garment was quite a challenge! And the sewing steps did not make it any easier. For this garment, you sew the shoulder seams of the fashion fabric, then the shoulder seams of the lining, then the neckline. Then flip it wrong sides together and treat the fashion fabric and knit fabrics as one after basting them together with the machine. Ever tried basting knit to knit? It’s an exercise in patience!

Next steps are to sew the darts, side seams and sleeves. Because you treat the fashion fabric and lining as one, the seams for the bust darts and side seams are visible inside the garment, not hidden in between the lining and fashion fabric. Fortunately, my fabric and lining weren’t overly bulky but I was not enamoured with this treatment. If I’m going to take the time to line a garment, I hope to have a beautifully finished interior.

Once the garment was pretty much completed I realised that it fit well through the shoulders and chest but was too big and boxy from the bust down. As noted on the instructions, the shoulders are narrow so the sleeve cap sits nicely on my relatively narrow shoulders. Unfortunately, I wasn’t happy with the fit around the waist and hips. There was a two-hour long episode of unpicking followed by taking off about 3″ of diameter below the bust.

What Do I Love

  • The neckline finish. Going forward, a lined v-neck will be my first choice for both knits and wovens. (I’ve found a woven pattern that uses a lining instead of a facing and will be posting that review soon!)
  • The lining adds a rich quality to the garment so that it hangs beautifully and makes the top look more handmade and less homemade.
  • The general shape. This mimics what you would find in quality RTW.

Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

Thumbs Up – definitely. I’ll use this again with two changes: cut the right size, and have the lining end just below the bust so there won’t be as much fiddling about with basting knit to knit and also to hide the bust darts within the lining.

I wouldn’t recommend this for a beginner because of the whole knit fabric and knit lining thing unless the beginner is willing to just take their time and enjoy the process.

Edit on September 30, 2022: I wore this top plus the pants made of the same fabric on an overnight flight to the U.K. and the fabric looked as good when I landed as it did in the morning. This Ponte would be wonderful for a travel wardrobe. I like it so much that I just bought another piece in plum 💜

Anticipation – Cashmerette Webster Dress

Anticipation – Cashmerette Webster Dress

This project was shared on Fabric Mart Fabric’s Fabricista blog on March 10, 2021. Fabric Mart provided me with the dress fabric, thread and pattern in exchange for this blog post. If you’re a regular reader of my blog or watch my YouTube channel you will know that I have bought a lot of fabric from Fabric Mart over the past 3 years, so I definitely am a customer!

One of my favourite colour combos is yellow and grey. When we went on our first real vacation about 10 years ago, I planned my wardrobe around those two colours. I had a yellow trench coat, grey jeans, grey dresses, yellow print tops … Making this dress filled me with the anticipation of warmer days and trips to restaurants, patios and maybe even soaking up the sun on the balcony of some vacation villa.

The fabric was obtained online from Fabric Mart Fabrics and was described as “Caution Yellow/Graphite Grey Blouseweight Woven.” This is a completely opaque polyester fabric that would make a nice blouse but I think it’s better suited for a dress.

Pattern – Cashmerette Webster

As this will be a sit-around with a drink or hang out on vacation dress, I wanted something comfortable so selected the Cashmerette Webster. I liked this pattern for the fitted bust, loose body and interesting straps on the back. It’s also perfect for a fabric that drapes well and floats in the wind.  I’ve made the Cashmerette Springfield top a couple of times and loved the simplicity of working with a pattern that doesn’t need a full bust adjustment, or a shortened waist so I decided to give this pattern a try.

If you haven’t heard of Cashmerette, its patterns are designed for people with curves – in particular, boobs. (Cashmerette has recently started the process of expanding their size range to cover those from sizes 0-32.) The size charts are slightly different from Big 4 patterns, however, they offer a handy size calculator which was very helpful because I definitely would have cut the wrong bust cup size. After using the guidance from the website, the only adjustment I made when cutting the dress was adding 2” to the length. (There was one other adjustment while sewing … keep reading …)

Details

The weave on this fabric is dense and so I used a few fine pins then added weights (and a cat) to secure everything while I cut with scissors. I didn’t use a rotary cutter this time because the fabric slipped a bit.

Note – It is important to carefully mark the placement lines for the upper straps so they are angled correctly on your back.

Helpful Caternweight. She had to demonstrate that this fabric is perfect for her colouring.

To work with this fabric I used a Schmetz Microtex needle (size 70/10) and slightly loosened the needle tension and I used Wonder Clips instead of pins when sewing.  To finish the seams I ran a second row of stitches in the seam allowance and then used pinking shears..

This is quite a simple pattern and the instructions are good. Amazingly, I only had to unpick ONCE! World record, folks. For the back straps you stitch the upper edge when attaching the facings and leave an open space in the facing to insert and stitch the lower edge of the straps. First mistake, I did not take the advice to have someone help me place the straps. I just stuck them in where indicated on the pattern and sewed. I tried on the dress and the back gaped between the straps. So I unpicked the seam and under stitching (ugh) and thought about what was going on. I realized that my back was too broad for the strap placement. I wound up moving the lower edge of the straps almost 2” higher. If you have a rounded or broad back like mine, consider leaving an extended opening so you don’t need to unpick. (Photo below)

The card shows the opening per the pattern. On the left is where the straps were correctly placed after unpicking.

The instructions for the hem are to fold under 1/4” and then again 1/2”. I’m absolute rubbish at finicky folds – I have a really bad habit of just eyeballing hems but I’m trying to be more careful so I followed some advice posted in various places and ran a row of long stitches (5mm) at the point of the first fold (I used 1/3″) and pressed using that line as a guide. Then I stitched ran another row of stitches up 1/2″ and pressed again. Finally, I topstitched. This process worked well and I didn’t dread hemming the long edge!

The last bit was hand stitching the side and back neck facings in place and the dress was done!

I like the tidy neck and arm facing finishes. Also, the straps are wide enough that you can wear a bra and there is zero gaping at the front armscye which is a huge bonus. No pins or fashion tape anywhere!

This fabric is just the right weight for this dress. And it doesn’t crease so that makes it a perfect dress to throw in the suitcase for a weekend away, whenever that may be!

It’s still a bit chilly to wear this dress today so I’ve paired it with another recent make, Helen’s Closet Blackwood Cardigan (I’ve made a few of these over the years, link to blog post here). The cardigan fabric is something special that I’ve been hanging on to for a couple of years. This is a lovely, luscious St John knit that I purchased from Fabric Mart about 3 years ago. I had a bit of fun with my sewing machine and made a “Hand Wash” tag from the selvedge of the fabric. The cardigan is just right for this dress, and the colour is perfect! Some things are just meant to be.

Now waiting impatiently til this duo can go out somewhere and be seen!