New Look 6838 – a popular boatneck knit top

Hi, I got this New Look pattern a while ago – mainly for the boatneck top. This neckline is one of my favorite styles. New Look 6838 is likely out-of-print because I couldn’t find it on the Simplicity website. I discovered that the pattern has been in print for several years when I noticed that my envelope looks like this…

New Look 6838 - knit top and pants

… and I saw the pattern envelope on Pattern Review, which shows this old New Look design.

I searched for the oldest PR reviews for this pattern and saw that reviwes went back to 2002! Wow. I didn’t realize that some patterns can stay in print that long! It must have been a really popular pattern.

New Look 6838 boat neck top, pants, separates

I skimmed a couple of reviews and learned that for most people, the neckline on version A of the top (the striped one), was too wide and the 3/4 sleeves were more like full-length sleeves.

However, I didn’t read the reviews until I had already cut and sewn everything but the hems. Oops. I was using fabric leftover from other projects so it didn’t really matter. This is my mockup. The houndstooth knit was a fabric from Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics sale floor. I used it to make a pair of wrap pants from a Vogue pattern. The fabric doesn’t have much recovery.

Houndstooth and black jersey knit fabrics for New Look 6838

I’m not sure where I got the black fabric for the sleeves. I have quite a lot of black jersey and other solid black knit fabrics in my stash.

New Look 6838 pattern adjustments

I did a 1/8″ square shoulder adjustment on this top – probably not really necessary considering this was a knit top.

The hem of the so-called 3/4 sleeves landed about an inch or so above my wrist – too long. So I cut off about 5 inches from the sleeves to make them 3/4 length. I have long arms but even these sleeves were too long for me.

I also have broad shoulders so I thought, “Why not sew a 1/2″ center back seam instead of 5/8″ seam?” That was just a whim as I was pinning the back before sewing it. But I didn’t need to make it wider. (Note to self: Measure the pattern pieces before making an adjustment.)

One of the results of making the back a little wider is that the neckline gaped in the back. My fabric also got a little stretched out so I think the gaping was the result of fabric and the seam allowance. This houndstooth knit doesn’t have much recovery. So I unpicked the neck hem around the center back seam. My first attempt wasn’t quite right because my seam wasn’t gradual enough to lay flat. I drew a line for my second attempt. The stitching on the right is the original seam.

New Look 6838 center back seam

I didn’t make any other changes to New Look 6838.

Stabilizing the fabric

This houndstooth jersey fabric needed some stabilizing at the neck, which I neglected to do. If this were my fashion fabric, not a mockup, I would have played around with the fabric – stretching it out and looking at the recovery (how quickly did it spring back).

I hemmed this top with a zig zag stitch at the neckline and for the sleeve hems. I used a twin needle for the hem of the body.

For the hem of the body, I used Design Plus super fine bias fusible stay tape. It comes in white and black. I had white in my stash so I used that. I usually get it at Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics in Berkeley. (Here’s an affiliate link to black super fine stay tape.)

Note on New Look 6838’s sleeves

I used some lightweight black jersey that was in my stash. It was a lighter weight than the houndstooth knit I used for the body.

The sleeves of New Look 6838 are treated like sleeves for a woven: You sew a straight stitch in between the notches on the sleeve head, slightly gather the seams and ease the inset sleeve into the body with the side seams already sewn.

I thought I could sew the sleeve head to the body and then sew one long seam from the sleeve hem down the side seam to the bottom hem of the body. But my sleeve fabric was too fiddly. So I pretty much followed the instructions. Maybe if I used a knit fabric of the same weight for the sleeves and the body, sewing it the other way may have worked.

It rained over the weekend so I didn’t get a chance to take any photos of me wearing the finished top. I’ll have to do that in a separate post. I’ll be sure to wear a fun hat for those photos.

Lastly, here are some questions for you: Do you make a mockup (aka toile or muslin) before you sew your fashion fabric? When you are trying a new pattern (or new-to-you pattern)? I’d love to hear from you!

Hashtag Sew Red October

Sew Red October

I’m participating in Sew Red October (#sewredoctober) – initially called #redoctober but then it was changed when folks realized that it was a hashtag being used for the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team. The idea is simple –  sew something in red in October.

I first heard about it from Leila of Three Dresses Project in her September post The Sewcialists do it again with Red October. Then you post your photos to the Sewcialists Flickr page. There are some great finished projects up already so check it out!

The great logo was designed by Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow. I love the periscope, which oh so cleverly evokes the entertaining film (and book) The Hunt for Red October. Thank you Gillian!

Red is one of my favorite colors so I wanted to participate as soon as I heard about it. But first I had to complete my Fall for Cotton project and my Grainline Tiny Pocket Tank. (You can see photos here: My Fall for Cotton 1940s Girl Friday Blouse Is Finished! I haven’t posted about the tank yet.)

We were going through a couple of heat waves in the Bay Area but I knew that wasn’t going to last so I had to get the tank done.

Meanwhile I thought about what I would make for Red October. I had a couple yards of red knit fabric that was ruined in June when I prewashed it with three other knits – black, brown, and blue. For some reason the red was the only fabric that got these blotchy stains on it from the black! I was so disgusted I just put it away. Here’s one splotchy area. Grrrrr!

Stain on my red knit fabric from prewashing

When I heard about Red October I decided to take another look at the fabric. A couple areas didn’t have random dark areas on it so I thought why not see if I could make something from it? So I decided to do my first Sewing Cake Hummingbird pattern hack and make a red tee shirt. (You can buy the Hummingbird pattern in Sewing Cake’s Etsy shop as a printed paper pattern or a PDF.)

I’ve already made three Hummingbird peplum tops and I like the binding on the neckline and armhole so why not make a tee? (Photos of my blue, striped, and red ones are here: More Hummingbird Tops!)

I used the front and back pieces of the Green top and then I drafted a bottom piece 9 inches (22.9 cm) long to attach to the existing Hummingbird top pieces. I really wasn’t sure how much to add to the hip width to accommodate the stretch. Also I wanted it to be a fitted tee, not a loose one. I used my hip curve to draw a line from the waist to the widest hip point. I decided to add about 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) – it may not enough but hey, this is essentially a muslin, right?

Cutting around stains

Here’s a closer shot of the bottom piece I drafted and just placed beneath my pattern piece for the Hummingbird front top piece. I drafted another bottom piece (also 9 inches long) for the back.

New bottom piece for Hummingbird hack

My pieces are cut and ready to sew! (Yeah, they’re wrinkly because I folded up the fabric to cut elsewhere and didn’t have an iron on hand.)

Hummingbird hack - cut pieces

Have you hacked any Cake Patterns? What did you do? And if you’re making something for Red October, please share your link in the comments below. I’d love to see what you’re working on!

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My First Sewalong – Hummingbird 30 Minutes a Day

Finished Hummingbird TopI began the Hummingbird 30 Minutes a Day Sewalong last week. It’s also  my first time participating in a sewalong.  I made the Green top from this bright knit blue fabric I got from Stonemountain and Daughter Fabrics in Berkeley (love that place!). And here’s my first Hummingbird Top. I’m very pleased with how it turned out.

All these photos were taken with my iPhone so please excuse the quality.

I didn’t exactly work on this 30 minutes a day. I traced my pattern on Day 1 – my waist is currently in between the 30 and 32 to I traced a line in between the two measurements for the top and for the peplum. I figured it was knit so I didn’t have to be too exact. ;o)

I cut my pieces out on Day 2 and did the neckline on Day 3. I don’t have a serger so I used a zigzag stitch on my sewing machine. The stretch stitch on my machine is way too bulky – sews each stitch three times so it’s really slow going. So I just used a zigzag that wasn’t very wide or long.

The trickiest part of this top is sewing strip of knit fabric to the neckline. Be sure to watch Steph’s helpful video on her Day 3 post before you do it! I gently pulled on my strip of fabric as I sewed it and it was fine.

I pressed it and it lay flat! It looks quite professional. I love this neckline.

Then I didn’t work on it again until the weekend.

I didn’t make a muslin – I like sewing dangerously sometimes. Plus I figured that my measurements were accurate and knits stretch so it had a very good chance of fitting.

I decided to hem my top as an experiment. I don’t usually hem knits because they don’t unravel. But I decided that because this top has such nice binding on the neckline and arms that it would be good to finish it off with a hem.

I decided to use some 3/8-inch fusible bias stay tape by Design Plus, which I got at Stonemountain and Daughter earlier this year. It’s not a fusible knit tape so it doesn’t stretch, which might be a problem down the road – I’m not sure. But I just ironed it on, folded it over once. So it’s just a single-fold hem. The last photo below is the zigzag stitch I used on the hem. For this my stitch width was slightly below “1” and my length was slightly over “2” on my Kenmore sewing machine. The stitch doesn’t really look like a zigzag unless you squint at it really closely.

The cut pattern pieces
The cut pattern pieces

My neckline!
My neckline!

Hemline with shallow zigzag stitch
Hemline with shallow zigzag stitch

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