It's about exploring and sharing my creative adventures (mostly sewing these days) ~
~those activities that sometimes obsess, usually inspire, occasionally frustrate
~and always provide a delightful maze to wander through.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Two Terrific Tilton Tees

Katherine Tilton's Vogue 8793, the one with the fabulous double collar with zipper trim.  Love!

 I love every version I've seen of this top!  You can see a plethora of beauties posted at Pattern Review, where several of my favorite sewists have posted their wonderful versions.   I already had fabrics interviewed and hired, and was just waiting patiently (uh huh) for the next Vogue sale to bring it home.

As soon as I started on it - this long-sleeved top with a fairly hefty collar - the weather decided to hit the 80's and 90's around here, which meant I worked up a sweat just trying it on.  But hey, it's an SF Bay Area summer, where cool nights are the norm, and warm  weather may or may not last (if it ever happens at all), so I forged ahead, knowing the weather would change any day.

Worth it!  LOVE this pattern!  UBER love that collar!  And sure enough, although the days have been hot, at least some of the evenings are cool enough to wear my new tops.
I'm happy with both of them!
Top #1:
I had a scrap left over of the print fabric, and inspired by 
shams' homage to Au Bonheur, I used every bit of the avilable scraps in this split-front version.
I simply added the seam allowance when I cut the pieces,
serge-finished the edges and sewed up the seam.

I opted to leave the back one solid color.
Because I can. (my new favorite phrase, given my new-found freedom)
I waited until it was all put together before deciding on the sleeve length and cutting the cuffs,
 and ended up opting for 3/4 sleeves.
Because I can.
The pattern calls for lapping each of the collar pieces the same way
(i.e., left side over right side...or vice versa...),
but I liked them lapped Left over Right, then Right over Left.
It just provides more visual interest, imho.

Note:  The narrow, outer collar is cut on the crosswise grain,
the wider inner collar is cut on the lengthwise grain.
And Version #2:

(Sharp-eyed footwear fashionistas might note those shoes.....)
I LOVE the print on this fabric - it's very Klimt-like; one of my favorite artists :)
The sleeve bands on the blue/orange top are all folded back - I forgot to take a pic with them fully extended.  I cut the sleeves a bit shorter (they're long!), but for some reason decided I wanted longer bands.  Maybe when the weather cools off again I'll leave them long, 

or maybe it was a "what was I thinking?" moment.  ::shrug::
The collar was basted together here - I decided I wanted it to have a bit more structure, and I didn't like where the zipper ended, so....
I pulled the ends of the outer length of each collar piece down below the seam line,
so that the zipper teeth met the seam.
This gave a nicer visual to the zipper, and also gave the collar a bit more structure.

Pattern Notes:
  • Pattern sizing runs a bit large (usual for the Tilton patterns, imho).  My measurements called for a Medium; I cut a Small.  (with lots of adjustments, some of which I noted in detail on my previous post)
  • The sleeves are quite long.  I advise that you wait to cut out the sleeve bands until you've decided on the length of the sleeves; otherwise you might cut them too narrow.  
  • The sleeves are also a bit slim, considering the usual over-sized Tilton patterns.  It's not that my arms are large, it's that most patterns have skinny arms.   That's my story know....
  • I really like the curve of the side seams - worked well on my body, especially since I'm consciously trying for more form-fitting clothes.
  • I used a standard metal zipper for my muslin, but I ordered the lightweight molded YKK zippers recommended by Katherine from Zipperstop.  Lightweight zippers really are a MUST for this pattern, imho!  Be careful of color selection - if you don't have a color chart, or a local place to see the actual colors, it may be really hard to match your color to your monitor (mine was WAY off!)
  • The pattern calls for a 28" zippers and some people have said that was too short.  For a Small, 28" is sufficient, even if you extend the zipper all the way to the seam.  Anything larger than a Small, I would order a 30" zipper, and if you want a lower neckline, the zip should be longer still.  (Note:  you need one zipper.  Half of it is used on the inner collar; half on the outer collar)
I cut a muslin, both for sizing and to have a good understanding of the collar construction.  I'm very visual and hands-on touchy-feely; when it comes to 3D construction of any sort, if I just see the words, even with good pictures, I don't always "get it" until I've done it myself...muslins have probably been my best and biggest ally since I re-entered the Wonderful World of Sewing.  I'm also on a quest for the Perfect Basic TNT Knit Top Pattern, so I ended up making a bunch of fine-tuning adjustments on this one, mostly on the shoulders, armscye, and sleeves, as noted in my previous post.

Construction Notes:

I kind of followed the pattern instructions (which are very good, imho).  KT calls for double stitched seams; I serged most of mine.   Except on the second top, which had thinner fabric, so I double stitched the armholes to eliminate the extra bulk of the serging.   My standard MO on knit seams is to baste first (checking for fit & any puckering), then do a "lightning stitch", then serge, mainly just to finish the edges.   Some might consider this excessive, but it's what I do.  *shrug*.   If  I just serge, I've ended up with ripped seams, so I'd rather just overdo it to start with and be safe down the road.

On the collar, I attached the zipper with fusible interfacing strips.   I used a couple of different types; Steam-a-Seam Lite worked best.   I just pressed it on to one side of the zipper, attached the zip to one collar side, then pressed another strip on to the other side of the zipper, with a final press attaching the other collar piece, and then stitched them all together using a zipper foot.
Stitch Witchery, pinned in place and ready to steam.
This product is a bit fussy to work with, but for some reason I have a lot of it,
so My Frugal Self (I should give her a name, she's always around...) will find a way to use it

On top #1 I lapped the collar pieces differently than the pattern called for - it just looks more interesting to me.  I meant to do this on top #2 as well, but somehow it got readjusted in the shuffle.

I think KT said to stitch the hem - I hand sew the hems on all of my nicer knit tops.   I consider these in the "nicer" category :).

I really, really like the collar on this pattern!  It would be totally workable if you wanted to do it as a single collar, or you could add piping instead of the zipper....lots of creative possibilities  with this top!  I'm thinking of a more summery version next....or soon.... my sewing room has patterns and fabrics strewn all over it right now, it's a creative mess (matches my mind at the moment) so I'm not sure what's next!

And since it's Springtime (almost Summer!) I have to leave you with another garden pic:
A fringed Gerber Daisy - another one of the
lovely plants gifted to my garden in memory of Mom :)
How about you?  Once you've started sewing again after a lull, do you feel overloaded with a messy sewing room filled with ideas and possibilities and not enough time?   Or do you just calmly start in again on a project and do what needs to be done?   How do you contain your enthusiasm when it gets out of control??!!??  (note multiple qm's and ep's..... [grin])


  1. These tops turned out fabulous! I have the pattern and have been wanting to make it, but the zipper looks like it could be confusing. I think I have to bump this up on my list....

  2. These are fantastic! Love the zipper trim at the neckline and how you mixed the fabrics!

  3. Oh, these are just such lovely fabric combinations! I love them both, and the colors look great on you. Your collars look great, too. I see you used the zippers recommended by Katherine, like I did. I really do like them better than coil zippers for this top. They are hard to find, though, as they're "lightweight" molded zippers. I found mine online.
    I hope you enjoy wearing these. I can't imagine a summer when I could wear even 3/4 sleeves. I'll be in short ones until September. Then I'll be making another one of these tops, because the pattern is just terrific.
    When my sewing mojo goes away and then returns, I just jump in and work at what my heart desires that particular day. Sometimes I'm slow to start up again, and other times I just go crazy with it. No particular pattern. I recommend doing what you feel like doing, and not being concerned about having so many ideas. They'll settle down and allow you to prioritize them if you relax about it. But be sure to enjoy what you're making!!!

    1. Oh! I forgot to mention the zips in my review - I think it's an important piece of info; thanks for bringing it up :)

  4. These are both beautiful tops and your smile is devine. Great job.

  5. Both tops are SO cute, Jillian. I just love how versatile this pattern is!

  6. Both of these tops are beautiful I can't wait to sew this pattern up. As for sewing after a lul - I havent' had one for a while because I have been sewing pretty much non-stop lately, but my head is always full of ideas, and then people post lovely tops on the internet and I want one of those too............

  7. Fabulous tops Jillian! I appreciate the amount of detail you have included here and I'll be sure to refer back when I get to this pattern. Though we had snow 2 weeks ago, it is now HOT. Off to dreamland...

  8. The collar with the zipper trim is fantastic! The pattern, fabric choice and trim just all come together perfectly, everything harmonises really well.

  9. Thank you everyone! I look forward to seeing many more versions of this top from y'all ;-)

  10. These are such cool and funky tops. I love the collar and the fabric combinations. Wow.

  11. Love! Love! I love the color combinations you chose, too.

  12. I have this pattern coming from BMV, hopefully, I ordered it ages ago. Love your versions.

    May I suggest a name for your inner thrifty person? I am thinking Frugalla would be a lovely name for her. Frugalitha, Frugie, Frugelda, Frugicella are some other options.

    1. lol good ones! I mis-read your first one as Frugalia, which I like, but I also like Frugelda. I may need to name all of my inner voices now ;-D

  13. You are a perfect model for the tops. You should get a commission from K. Tilton as you are going to sell a LOT of patterns for her. Great tops. I know you will really enjoy wearing them.

    1. Aw you sweetie! Want to drop a note to Ms. Tilton with your thoughts? ;-D

    2. lol! Now I'm all timid & embarrassed & stuff.....

  14. Two beautiful versions of this very awesome pattern, I love both of them! The zip detail is so clever and funky :)

  15. They turned out great. So cute! I like the "Klimt" one best - just because of the colours.

  16. Indeed! Two terrific Tilton tops!
    Definetely commission worthy!
    I especially like your colour/print blocking!



  17. I really like the changes that you made to the collar on the orange zipper version. Orange and blue are my two favorite colors these days, so that top is particularly inspiring.

  18. Show off! You and your t's look fabulous!

  19. What great tops! I love them both. I must get this pattern out right away.

    1. I can't believe I actually beat both you and Dorothy at getting a fun, creative must-have pattern sewn up! ;D