A Coordinating Top

for Shorts 2 shared on my pants blog. The fabric used in the shorts was an unusual color not often found in my wardrobe or for that matter in stores.  The shorts fabric  is a dark aqua microfiber twill. Not a green, although some photos might suggest so. Not a clear blue that has been darkened, but an blue-aqua.  I like the light blue-aqua and purchase it just about whenever available. Trouble for me is that I don’t like near color-matches. I want the colors to either match exactly or contrast in some way either by value or hue. Aqua is formed by adding yellow to blue. Yes at a certain point the color changes from blue to green or greenish, but there are many variations possible during the shift from blue to green.  Back to my “i don’t like near color-matches”, the shorts fabric had sat in the stash for quite sometime.  Once made I started hunting for coordinating tops.  The dark blue-aqua works well with many of the colors I use but I like a monochromatic look. No scratch that, what I like is an ombre with dark on the bottom and lighter colors on my tops.  I hunted in my stash, pulling and discarding numerous blue-aqua fabrics because they obviously were near color-matches which is not satisfying for me.  Eventually, I happened on 4 yard cut of fabric which was exactly the same blue-aqua as the shorts but without all the darkening.

A 4 yard cut of knit fabric.  Want to know how long that’s been in my stash. Years. 15. 20.  When Walmart first starting selling $1 fabrics, I bought 5 yards. I always had a big ol’ remnant left. After the first year, I started buying 4 yard cuts, unless I was planning a Home Dec project then I wanted 8 to 10 yards. About 15 years ago, I started thinking about retirement and started buying 4 yards cuts of suiting, but 2 yards of  knit fabrics. I can be reasonably sure that I purchased and then moved this fabric 4 times before using it.  I definitely get the check mark for using old stash with this project.

I’m tired of utilitarian garments. I want to be artistic. I want to work with my Cameo stencil cutter. I want texture. I want glitz. I need something immediately that coordinates with the shorts I made yesterday.  I decide to use Pamela’s Pattern #104

I wonder why I haven’t used this pattern in ages. It is perfect for me. The narrow shoulder and essence of waist is beyond-belief flattering.  I can still remember the first T-shirt on which I used #103, the conversion pattern. My Dh was stunned.  We bought T-shirts together.  The same T-shirt.  When I wore mine, he was stunned. I could see it in the widening of his eyes. He didn’t need to say anything but he did not only that first wearing, but many wearing later he was still commenting on how good it looked.  I haven’t used it in a while and wasn’t sure of the fit.  I pulled out the large-sized tracing and compared it with the HAF just fit. Shoulders were a little different, but then the HAF’s shoulders are a little different. The hip was the same but the waist was decidedly different. I decided just for insurance to add 1/4″ to the side seams before cutting fabric.

Then I turned to thoughts of embellishment. I know this pattern well enough to feel confident about just serging it together, finish and wear. I decided that since I need this coordinating top now, I would use my favorite embellishment of machine embroidery.  Now despite the fact I have collected an embarrassing number of Me designs, I still buy at  Secretsof.com especially when they have their 50, 60 and 70% sales. Thing is, not all of the designs I’ve collected are well digitized. Some free things are worth exactly what you pay for them.  Also, as embroidery machines and digitizing tools have improved so have the designs.  Right now, I’m in love with GracefulDesigns.  Not only are her designs wonderfully elegant, her prices are reasonable.  My one issue with her digitizing, if this can be called an issue, is that I think more jump stitches could be eliminated. Sometimes I think that today’s digitizers are assuming that everyone has a machine with automatic clip capability.

#1, that’s not true. Lots of us have older machines and there are new, stripped down and therefore less expensive machines marketed to the new ME customer.

#2 Some embroiderers do not like the knot created and pulled to the back by auto-clipping. They turn the auto-clip feature off.

#3 Some embroideries, the design itself not the user, are best if not automatically clipped. Two sided embroidery, when the  finished product should look the same on both sides, is the first example which comes to mind.

My point is jump stitches can be inevitable, but I think GracefulDesigns could eliminate more than she did. But I love her designs and last fall purchased HeartsEase #2. Unfortunately Secretsof.com is so protective of their copyrights, they won’t let me display the picture from their site. If you’d like to see the set, which I’d like you to do, you’ll have to click on the link.  There are several lovely designs and combinations in this set. I chose to use the triple scallop with two sets of triple HeartsEase flowers. While the designer chose lavender and yellows, the colors of the Triple Viola, I wanted colors that would complement the light aqua of my top and the dark aqua of the shorts.  I chose pansy like colors of golden-orange and yellow.  I skipped the last thread color and substituted light orange crystals for the flower centers.  I’m sure the crystal centers I chose are not true to either flower (viola or pansy) but I craved a little bling. My final stitch out is incredibly beautiful. The picture doesn’t do it justice.

This design is just wonderful–well worth the extra clipping. A huge THANK YOU  to Graceful Designs.


to be continued




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