Zippy Top #2: Scrubs Edition

My first Zippy Top was actually what I think fancy fashion seamsters would call a “wearable muslin”—a test run that turned out to be something I could actually wear outside of the house. My second attempt was…the opposite of that.

Zippy Top 2: Front

Check it out, guys: I MADE SCRUBS.


In the other versions I’ve seen, the Zippy Top (a See Kate Sew pattern) looks modern and cute. On me, it looks…plain. (A friend’s comment about my first version: “very nice! but could use a little more decolletage.”) I mentioned last time that I might add a pocket for visual interest, but as we can clearly see here, no dice.

Part of this awkwardness can definitely be attributed to my fear of working with prints (hello, “natural” colored muslin! hello, timid green cotton lawn that in retrospect was definitely not a good choice for this pattern!). Another part of it can be chalked up to my still-in-their-infancy sewing skills, which mean my neckline isn’t as crisp as it good be. Yet another part is probably how I’m shaped: this top doesn’t seem to sit well on my narrow shoulders.

More evidence of the awkwardness:

Zippy Top: Side and Back

Aside from the general “I’m designed to camouflage puke” appearance, a couple of specific oddities:

Moment of truth: I have no idea which way is the “right” way to line up the side seams, as all the pattern says is to “match front and back side seams with right sides together.” Experienced seamsters, HALP. Notice all the wrinkling/pooling around the armscye*, both front and back? I had a little less of this last time, when I matched the side seams from the bottom up (meaning the hemmed edge of the arm opening overlapped quite a bit from front to back) before sewing them together. I suspected that the fact that I had hem overlap in the armpit area meant I did it wrong last time, so this time, I matched the side seams up starting at the front and back end of each arm opening, meaning the bottom hem was uneven but the ends of the arm opening matched up. Given the extra wrinkling around the arms in this version, though, I’m now wondering if I did things correctly last time, and maybe the front and back pattern pieces aren’t correctly drafted to match. Or, more likely, I am awkwardly shaped (see above).

Second: there is a lot (a lot a lot) of extra fabric hanging out in the back. Again, an open call to experienced garment makers: should I be blaming this on some weirdness of my own spine? And if so, how do I fix it?

Finally: what a horrible, horrible fabric choice for this top. Lawn is among the recommended fabrics, but this green isn’t doing me any favors. On top of the iffy color, it’s also completely see-through, meaning the facing creates a weird racerback effect. Also: SO MANY WRINKLES. I finished ironing this literally five minutes before taking pictures.

I suspect all issues (barring the fabric-related ones) are the fault of either my inability to correctly interpret patterns or my inability to correctly adjust patterns to fit my body (which is the whole point of sewing one’s own clothing, so this is something I’ll eventually learn how to do. Any and all pointers to good resources welcome). But to sum up: I won’t be wearing this in public, unless I’m attending in costume as a surgeon.

* Fancy seamster word for “armhole,” which, upon reading out loud to myself, I realize needs a fancy synonym. Way to go, seamsters.

Zippy Top #2: Scrubs Edition

PATTERN: The Zippy Top from See Kate Sew

FABRIC: “Pale Jade Green Lawn” from Denver Fabrics, which appears no longer to be available. This pale green lawn is similar.

NOTIONS: 8″ avocado green YKK zipper from Zipit, 100% cotton thread purchased at Gather Here

TIME: Somewhere between 90 minutes and two hours on Friday morning to cut out and do everything but hem; 20 minutes tonight to hem.

A Covey of (Fuzzy) Partridges

I’d be delighted if everything I made came with a specialized term of venery, but I think these partridges might be my last animal-themed project for a while. That said: check out these adorable birds.


The fabric is “Bird Basket” in teal from the Meet the Gang collection by Marisa and Creative Thursday for Andover Fabrics. I found it (and fell in love with it) at the Fabric Corner in Arlington a few months ago, and picked it up with the Heirloom Cut Chenille Baby Blanket from Aesthetic Nest in mind. A yard and a quarter each of this and three different colors of flannel (yellow, white, and baby blue) later, and I was in business.

When I first bought my sewing machine, a friend recommended the chenille blanket as “a nice quilt-like project but without all of the piecing.” You prewash and iron your fabric, stack it up, and mark a starting line down the center, and you’re ready to “quilt,” which in this case involves sewing parallel lines on the diagonal, half an inch apart, across the entire shebang. Like so:

A Covey of Partridges

Once all of the lines are sewn, you flip the blanket over and cut through the layers of flannel. I enlisted Mr. Jones to help with this, and we took care of business while watching Game of Thrones.

A Covey of Partridges

Square up the edges (leaving a lovely pile of trimmings for the cats), round the corners (I used a plate, as per the original tutorial), and bind with satin binding (the best kind for a baby blanket):

A Covey of Partridges

The final step is to wash the blanket so the cut flannel edges fuzz up and turn into chenille. Proud to report excellent success on this front:

A Covey of Partridges

This is a fairly quick make, though the sewing does take some time—I knocked out part of it at a work sewing night, and the rest with the company of Netflix. I found the cutting part to be ridiculously satisfying for no good reason, and I managed not to slice a big hole in the cotton (my biggest fear going into the project). Happiness all around!

2014-05-17 12.07.23

A Covey of Partridges

A Covey of Partridges

FINISHED SIZE: Around 40″ x 40″

PATTERN: Heirloom Cut Chenille Baby Blanket from Aesthetic Nest

FABRIC: “Bird Basket” in teal from the Meet the Gang collection by Marisa and Creative Thursday for Andover Fabrics for the front; white, yellow, and baby blue flannel for the chenille

NOTIONS: 2 spools of Mettler Cotton All-Purpose Thread in Cactus for the quilting; Aurifil in Light Beige for the binding; 2″ satin blanket binding in cream