Louise Cutting does this very interesting thing. She creates a focal garment, usually a jacket, coat or over blouse and then adds a little top inside. While the focal garment is interesting, it’s usually the little top which is the real winner for me. And that’s the case with her pattern Your Every Day Drifter
This pattern is now OOP and not on Louise’s site anymore. (I had to upload my own picture to show you what it looked like). The top is described as a vest for very good reasons. The neckline as drafted is far too low to be worn by itself. Likewise the armcyes. You need something underneath, a blouse, T shirt, camisole, something that will both cover you bra under your arms and your cle vage in the center front. The pattern is fine as is, if you want a vest. In fact the lower armscyes are especially desirable in a vest which will be worn over at least a top and bra; and maybe a sweater and camisole layer. The extended shoulders fit those of you with quarterback tops and help straighten and extend the shoulder line for those of us with narrow sloping shoulders. It buttons in the front and has a casing and tie at the waistline. You could of course ditch the tie. I did.
I also raised the armscye 2.5″. How? I just finished the armscye facing 1.5″ shorter and then stitched the side seams 1.5″ higher up. Ummm, that’s only 1.5 inches and I said 2.5, right? Well only after I’d tried it on did I realize I would still be showing an inch of my bra at the side. My fabric is a loosely woven, soft duck. I serged as fast as I could narrowly beating it’s inclination to unravel 6 inches in 6 seconds. Ripping was not an option. I tried on one small section where I had not serged both sides evenly. Instead of my Gingher seam ripper slicing through the serger thread, it caught and ripped the serger seam away from the side seam leaving an ugly 3″ of raveled end about 1/2″ deep. Since ripping was not an option, I used a joining stitch on my HV Ruby, butted the two side edges together and connected the two side. Oh I started with the belt loop,securing stitch. It’s 4 stitches across, back and forth 3 times and then ties off and trims. Wonderful when attaching belt loops to pant waistband and anytime you need just a little extra security, like at the top of a side vent or center back vent.
I’m pretty confident of Louise’s drafting. I either love her designs or they just don’t work for me PERIOD. This vest pattern reminded me of a pattern which has long disappeared from my collection. Very similar to this shape and I’d made many versions over the years; sizing the pattern up as I gained weight. I don’t remember the pattern number or company, fairly sure it was a Butterick. I missed it and have 1 version left. I keep intending to cut apart the last version and use it for a pattern, but I still like to wear it every once in a while. I’m hoping this little vest will replace that pattern. I copied the vest pattern several months ago. I cut out a sweater knit and intended to embroider with free motion embroidery. Never finished the FME and now I don’t remember what size I cut the pattern or what alterations I may have made. I pinned the tissue together and tried it on Mimie. The only things I could see for sure was that the neckline and armscyes were too low. I explained how I fixed the amscyes in the previous paragraph, but before I got anywhere near needing to fix them, I altered the pattern at the neckline. As is, it would have been fine for the sweater vest, but since I’m not inclined to flash boo bage, I tape a rectangle of tissue to the tissue at the neckline and marked, while still on Mimie where I wanted the neckline to end. I chose to do this at Mimie because I’ve marked her with my favorite necklines.
It’s very easy to see through the tissue, choose one of “my” necklines and copy.
I do take the tissue to the cutting table and true my freehand marks.
I dug out some more vintage buttons for this garment.
OK, I didn’t go looking for vintage buttons. I dug through my boxes looking for buttons in one of the 3 colors in the fabric. I found the perfect buttons, far too small. They would be perfect for dolls or babies but a little light weight for a 14P, Senior Citizen. I kept finding buttons too large, too small, or too few i.e. 1 or 2. I finally came across these, 5 in total. I can tell they are antiques from the stem. It is brass. I tried so hard, but not one of the 10 shots I took showed the blue of the oxidizing brass. It’s rare to see a modern button made of brass. The stem is also shaped differently. Sigh, see the little nubbins on the 2 top buttons? Those are the stems. I’m not sure how they are attached. The stem doesn’t go all the way through. The top is either shell or glass. I’m not sure exactly how to test to determine what the top is. They do work perfectly. But they are smaller than what I had in mind.
The buttonhole is 12mm. It’s a little tight. I thought about and should have made it 13mm long. But my test button felt just a little tight. I was a real goof. I asked Ruby to recommend a button type and she popped up with an interesting cross-stitch buttonhole. I decided to go with her recommendation since I’d already seen what can happen when thread stitching pulls away from this fabric. This is one of the few times I’ve had issues with the buttonholes. Every other one, 3 of 5 were perfect. The other two started 1/8″ further from the center line. Now, I dropped the needle each time in exactly the same place. But every other buttonhole, Ruby would take an extra stitch at the beginning and yes I let her finish and trim the previous buttonhole before starting the next. Now dumb me, instead of switching to manual mode, kept trying to correct the automatic buttonhole. For 8 months now, all but twice, Ruby has consistently made perfect buttonholes. I was thinking I did something wrong and could fix it by removing the end bars and restitching. What I did was make big lumpy buttonholes. Finally, I sweated out cutting with embroidery clips the stitching before and beyond where I wanted the buttonholes and then using the manual buttonhole procedure to finish. 2 of my buttonholes are a little lumpy. I’m hoping since they are small and the thread matches perfectly, the buttons will cover up my mistake.
Usually I start discussing the fit with the back. I like to build a little suspense before you see my smiling face, but this time I want to start with the front because I have the fewest criticism of the fit of the front:
Ruby does beautiful buttonholes. Let me put this in perspective: this is the 3rd garment of 100+ (I’m retired and sew everyday) that has had issues. It could be the type buttonhole. It could be the stabilizing. It could be the fabric. It might be Ruby. I doubt it. She’d done too many perfect buttonholes and these were very specific, every other one was off. I should have dropped into manual buttonhole procedure as soon as I realized the automatic buttonhole process was off. So I’d say, I, ME, MYSELF was most responsible for the issues with my buttonholes.
Um yes it’s kind of a side + front view but I think it shows the fit. you have to remember that the fabric is a light, soft duck. It is heavier and rougher than a cotton shirting. Heavier and softer than a quilting cotton. This is not canvass, a fabric duck is often confused with. They share the same weave and the fact that they are hefty. But canvas is best at tarps, sails and artist’s paintings. I might use a waterproofed canvas for a raincoat. But generally canvass is too stiff for garments. Even DS’s oilfield clothes are constructed from a heavy, dense duck. The grade of duck that I’m using is most often seen in home dec. It tends to make sturdy, but comfortable furnishings, table clothes, napkins and misc. I like it especially for jackets, coats and vests. My shorts above are also duck. But it wasn’t a good choice for them. My shorts are washed after each wear and the duck fabric is continuing to shrink. I’m not sure what makes some duck fabrics continue to shrink and other seem not to shrink. I can’t tell the difference by looking at the duck fabrics or the information on the end of the bolt. So with this top, I’m taking a chance that it will not shrink as the shorts are doing. If it does, well it does. This version was intended as a prototype, to see how it fits during wear.
The important thing to note is this duck fabric will not have the drape of the softer sweater knit previously planned. I notice this especially at and just below the shoulders; the drag lines around the armscye and bust. These lines would be there to some degree just because of the straight lines of the design. They are more apparent because of the body of the duck fabric. I’m not unhappy at all with the front. This is rather what I expected to see, plus it is comfortable to wear. A real bonus, this is attractive on me!
When viewing the side, keep in mind we’re still talking about that duck fabric, but I’m also standing in a less than design flattering position. I was actually moving Mimie out of the way so that I could take pictures of the garment. The camera snapped giving me an interesting picture. The drag lines from the side are all about my forward reach and lift of the dress form. I’m actually terribly pleased with the side view. I do not appear to have a Santa Claus stomach even though I’m still dealing with the bloating and constipation. (A problem all seniors understand well. If you get to be a senior, you’ll understand too!) I’m happy that the hem appears very even and the center front is staying shut despite my antics.
It is the back that has my attention and criticism:
The hem is even; we’re still contemplating the effect of the duck fabric; the shoulders look fine and actually the armscyes are typical for this type design. This pattern is mostly straight lines. The sides have no curvature; the center front sports curves at the hem and neckline purely for design interest. This pattern does not have any darts at all (a bust dart could be most useful). The shoulders are angled, which is good. The center back is the sole point of shaping. At the center back, Louise has provided subtle curving at the neck, over the shoulder blades, into the waist and back out over the hip. It is ingenious and almost enough for me. As is, the shaping provided by the back seam creates a comfortable, lightly shaped garment. Most patterns similar to this resemble a gunny sack or potato sack, burlap sack, flour sack. I mean just a big sack. Had I added the waistline tie, ALL the drag lines would have been attributed to the tie. I wasn’t sure this fabric would tie well. My test draping on Mimie indicated more of a cinch and flare (Judy Jetson again) rather than the soft gathers shown on the envelope. I contemplated and still am contemplating perhaps adding tucks around the waistline. I’m just not sure.
Now I do want to share the garment in my closet, I’d most like to copy. I know this makes for kind of a long post, so please forgive me:
This blouse is at least 12-14 years old. I used a cotton/poly shirting. That’s important. When shirting is manufactured they make sure that the fabric is smooth and comfortable. The poly was less than 20%. There is enough poly to help resist wrinkling and make ironing quick. But not enough poly to interfere with cottons wonderful characteristics. The cotton absorbs perspiration, making this a cooling garment. There is also about 4 inches of ease, maybe a little more, but it has far more ease than you would expect in a tailored shirt. The ease is needed if the blouse is to be comfortable. This blouse has the same extended shoulders as LC22547 vest; and yes they are a straight angled line. It has the center buttons which is a nice slimming line. Also see the angled front hem? Like the rounded hem of the LC Vest, this is slimming across the tummy. I’m always astonished when I see Vogue recommending against this type line for pear shaped bodies, like mine. Sure you can make a tummy disappear with 97% Lycra slimmers and shapers. But honestly, this is so much more comfortable and require no more layers, especially desirable on hot summer days. Trust me on this one. I’ve always had a tummy. It result of my posture. Even at 96 pounds I had a little tummy. My tummy just disappears when a diagonal line zips across it. You should notice the same drag lines which would seem to indicate a bust dart is helpful. I think these lines are also a result of the straight lines of the design. IOW, I’m not sure they’d disappear if I did add a bust dart.
In the side we again see the drag line indicating/asking for a bust dart, but there is also a slight raising of the front hemline. I probably should have pressed this before photos. It had been pressed and hanging in the closet and I didn’t think to do so. I’m sure that would have made the myriad of horizontal lines along the side seam go away. I am pleased though to point out that the side seam is pretty vertical and almost bisecting the front and back. I’ve heard that the front should be a little larger than the back. Given my recent fitting adventures with tank tops, that would seem to make sense. Overall, I’m satisfied with the fit from the side view.
A couple of important things to note about the back. the hem is nicely horizontal. Even after 12-14 years, it doesn’t dip or lift. The other drag lines are about what you would expect from a garment of this type. In fact, there are far fewer of them than the normal sack. But #1 IN my mind:The back is cut on the fold i.e. there is no center back seam and therefore no center back shaping. Yet it fits as nicely as the LC Vest. Why? The shaping was moved to the side seams. This has me contemplating a combination of side and back shaping for future versions of the LCVest.
A very important last but not least: this pattern was drafted for a shoulder pad and I have inserted a 1/4″ shoulder pad. It’s a small pad only about 2″ wide and filling about that much front and back. This little pad, however makes a heck of a difference in the final fit. the LC top was intended as a VEST. IOW it would probably be sitting on a blouse with a small shoulder pad. Multiple shoulder pads, even small ones aren’t that flattering. I’d like to include the shoulder pad when worn as a top. Not quite sure how I’ll go about this. I may need to draft separate patterns for use as vest or top. Whatever, after and many variations over 20 years time (the 12-14 applied only to this last version) in my closet, I know it will be worth the effort.
So that brings me to my conclusions about the Vest in Louise Cutting your Every Day Drifter. I think there is a good, strong possibilities that this pattern will replace my treasured top. It’s important to have patterns for clothes that I enjoy making, wearing and that flatter me. It’s also good to be able to envision changing up these great little patterns. For future versions I can see
- tucks at the waistline
- the tie as drafted by Louise
- darts at the waistline
- curving the sides at the waistline
- wearing a belt nah scratch that I don’t wear a belt unless I need to keep my jeans up at my waistline.
- removing a wedge as for a sway back adjustment
- adding a small shoulder pad
- shortening the overall length
- changing design details such as V neck, U neck and diagonal front hem.
- combinations of all the above