KS3220 or What To Do with a Yard of Fabric

I have 2 challenges with small fabric amounts

How to store it


How to to use it

 I’m always collecting projects for how to use, hence when the top in KS3220 popped on my radar, the pattern was immediately acquired.

It’s been in my pattern stash for over a year.  I wasn’t sure if it is still available but, SewingPatterns.com still has it in stock.  This marvelous pattern calls for 1-1/4 yards 60″ fabric or 1-5/8 yards 45″ fabric.  I imagined that might be because of facings.  When I finally got around to tracing the pattern and checking, I discovered I was right on taget.  I have a lovely summery orange and white stripe fabric that I want to use.  But I have only 1-1/4 yards of a 36″ wide fabric.  Guess what?  The major pattern pieces fit on only 32″ of my fabric.   The secret is multiple, small, narrow pieces and using bias tape for finishing.  With Bias Tape as my hero, this pattern could be a winner for creating tops out of fabrics with 1or less yards.  Whopeeeeeee!

I was all prepared to cut from my summer stripe fabric, when the other side of my brain sat up and said, “Let’s think about this.  Until you cut, you can change your mind.”

Why would it do that?  KS uses a reliable block. Over time (and dieting) I’ve found that my measurements are in the top end of size Medium. But I’m usually more comfortable in size Large.  I prefer the “skims everything touches nothing” look that comes from semi-fitted and loose clothing.  Something that hints at soft curves and deliciousness without reveal the lumpy pillows beneath.  But KS has surprised me.  On occasion. On rare occasions.  But enough that I prefer to be cautious and at least compare patterns to my personal blocks.  So I try lining up all the pieces against my woven shell pattern.  It looks OK. But still bothers me.  I’m not sure why. In retrospect, I’d say the left brain had noted the problem, but either the right brain wasn’t listening or the left brain was already off on other creative pursuits.  After all, this was supposed to be a quick easy project.  Left to the mercy of my right brain, I think “Do I have a scrap of fabric I wouldn’t mind throwing away if this doesn’t work out?”  In my stack of small fabric yardages is a blue micro-wale microfiber.  Used previously for pants.  Pants which shrunk with each washing and were unwearble before the winter ended.

  1. If the pattern works I can wear it as a vest in the winter.

  2. If it works, I don’t launder my vests after each wearing so it might not be shrunken away for 2 years or even more.

  3. If it doesn’t work I won’t have used this fabric on something that I desperately wanted to keep wearing.

 Hey those are good enough reasons.  I go with the microfiber.  The serger and sewing maching are already loaded with blue thread.  No set up time involved, and the seams are short.  The sewing is quick.

Now I know you’ve seen the beautiful talented Mimie before:

Completed in August 2009, she’s become an invaluable partner in the sewing room. One problem, over the months her padding has settled and shrunk although not shifted downward by gavity such as my own body. So while she is nearly a duplicate of me, there are differences.  The most obvious being that anything fit closely on her will not allow me to breathe.  So with that in mind I pin the blouse to Mimie. Stand back and take a look.  I tweak the fit a lttle. I had not made a narrow shoulder adjustment, usual for me, because I couldn’t see where to make one.  But now the slant of the shoulders was clearly off and those straps flopped off her shoulders just like most RTW does on my shoulders.  I pin those in place first.  Then tweak the top 3″ of the back seams and top 1″ in the front seams. About 1/4″ on each seam, just at the top.  Which reveals part of why I’m convinced I have a pear shape i.e I’m always having the make the top just slightly smaller.

While looking at Mimie and the blouse, several things occur to me.  There doesn’t appear to be much ease at the waist.  Also that’s a picture from when Mimie was first stuffed.  She now sports a number of narrow black lines on her cover, several of which indicate the outline of  my favorite bra.  Wow, the bra is just barely covered. Just barely and I still have finishing seams to make. Oh, that’s just not going to be me.

But before I do anything drastic, like throw the whole thing in the trash, I decide to try it on myself.  I baste in the adjustments already noted and then pin the garment in front (on me), simulating buttons.  Oh my.  I couldn’t even take a picture of all those wrinkles.  I did however note that if I stood as straight as possible and sucked my stomach in until it touched my backbone, that the wrinkles all dropped away and I could fill the top with boobage.  That lasted 2 seconds, until I needed to breath at which time the front, 2nd pin from the top popped away.  Another reason why I think I’m a pear. It wasn’t the very top that was too tight.  No, it was further down that just couldn’t take the strain.

OK, so this wasn’t going to be a vest either.  I would need additional ease and filling in at the top.  But maybe I could alter the pattern pieces and do something creative.  I really wanted to use this pattern that only used 32″ of 36″ wide fabric.  It’s such a good answer to “What do I do which this big ol’ left-over piece of fabric?”

At about that time the dryer beeped, signalling it had dried the current load and my attention shifted to the real world where even retired people need clean clothing.  We also need to fold it and put it away where it can be found.  But such time is not a loss and I never regret it.  Because thats when ol’ lefty-brain pops back in to say:

This was supposed to be a quick and easy project.

Pants fitting is supposed to be occupying the creative realm, not dime a dozen tops.

There are other patterns, some even in my pattern stash and they fit and they use 1 yard or less of fabric.

Besides did you get a load of the back of Mimie?  What did that remind you of?

Oh my yes. The back of Mimie looked wide.  Just as wide as my back looks when wearing Burda Vest 2010-06-103/104.


It also occured to me that such wide set straps are always falling off my shoulders.  They would need lingerie guards and I would need to wear lingerie, just to keep the garment shoulders on my shoulders.  This time I did do the drastic thing.  I put fabric, pattern tracing, and notes in the trash.

Real life, intervened again.  This time in the delightful form of dinner and a movie.  At home.  Sorry didn’t mean to make you think we went anywhere.  We used to have a taco joint in town, but I much prefer DH’s renditions of Mexican Cuisine.  Having traveled much more than I, he has developed a knowledge of spices that knock my socks off.  Ummm, delicious.

This time too allows me to think.  No the micro-cord has served it’s purpose.  It is in the trash and will be in the landfill next week.  But I still would like to have the “flavor” of the KS3220 top and another pattern that would use very little fabric.  I have another garment already cut that I will be sewing up today.  I’m also still working on Burda Trousers 2010-04-118. I have completed fitting 04, but not blogged about it.  So creatively and sewingwise, I’m occupied.  I want to give the trousers the highest attention.  I have bottoms to get through the week.  But I want bottoms that also fit perfect or near perfect.  Still ol’ leftie is contemplating KS3220 and has decided this is a project worth working on gradually.  Leftie is suggesting that morphing the basic shell top to the Corset like top of KS3220 would be possible if done incrementally.  Such as

  • First version: adapt the hem
  • 2nd Version  Adapt the neckline making sure it’s not too low
  • 3rd Version  Rotate the dart
  • 4th Version Create the princess lines.

Leftie is also suggesting that a different back would be better and also possible.  Maybe something more like a racer-back?

So the effort I put into KS3220 is not lost or wasted.  One of the rules of my life and one of my affirmations “Nothing is ever lost or stolen, but is always returned in perfect condtion in perfect timing”.

Oh and the real problems with this garment?  I didn’t read the pattern description well enough.  KS clearly states that this is a very close fitting garment.  Had I read that, already knowing that I like semi-fitted and loose garments, I would have known this garment as drafted didn’t have a chance.