Category Archives: TabulaRasaT


I wanted an easy success. Fit for Art Tabula Rasa is a good choice. (They won’t let me link to a pic, so if you want to see the schematic, click on the link).  I still want to make winter/cool weather clothes. It may be warming, but I am still in South Dakota. Typically we have long cool springs–feels more like a drawn out winter thaw sometimes. No more sweater knits in the stash, but I do have a couple of cushy double knits like this bright blue ponte purchased I think from

To position large prints and stripes, I expanded the  quarter pattern pieces into full (both sides instead of a quarter placed on a fold or cut double).  I find the full pattern pieces easier to use when working with stripes and yes I care even when the stripes are as subtle as these.  I’m also still concerned with easy access to my port during chemo treatments. So for the neckline I chose to make a high surplice and drafted my cross-over piece

One of the things I really love about Peggy Sagers, is the freedom to slash and develop the pattern into something unique for yourself. I didn’t want two full fronts, just a left underlay. So I copied about the the top 3rd of the front. Held it up to my body and marked how deep I wanted the neckline. Using my curve, I drew a neckline.  Didn’t like that,so I drew another.  Finally I shortened the piece to above the bust darts.

I’ve gotten to the point I hate facings and didn’t want to use them, but I feared FOE would not wrap the edge nicely. I chose to cut a neck binding  and for good measure contrasting cuffs of the same black knit.  It was only when I saw the finished pics that I thought Star Trek.

Anyway, easy sew. Once your fit the FFA and understand the directions, feels practically like it puts itself together.

After several years and many pounds, I am beginning to notice fit issues. Like the diagonal on the  left back…

duck butt on the side view (especially prominent on my left side). Also either I’ve got my bra straps way too tight or the bust dart is in the wrong place. I’m rather surprised I hadn’t noticed that in the hundred or so previous versions. What you can’t see, is that the sleeve feels very close especially with this 20% stretch ponte.

I tried to fix the fitting issues by adding 1/4″ along the seam allowances but I think I really need to trace and fit the next size up. I’m not really sad, just a twinge of regret, when realizing at the rate I’m gaining weight I probably will only wear this top during the rest of winter and early spring this year.  In a way, that’s OK because the fabric was a concern.  I bought it thinking pants but didn’t want to wear the bright blue on my bottom. My style is either monochrome/pattern or darker on bottom with lighter brighter on top. When I looked at the bright blue, I couldn’t find anything lighter or brighter either in my stash or my closet to wear as a top. I knew if I made pants, they’d sit in my closet. I like the top and while not planned, I realized I would be happy wearing it with blue or black pants because of the black binding.

Next time however, I will be refitting.


Note all photos were headless because my hair is having a particularly bad time. It is almost 3 inches long and all fuzz.  On this day I had tried wrapping it around curlers to dry because I didn’t want to stand in front of the mirror for an hour with the curling iron. It didn’t work. Not only is the hair still frizzy but now it breaks and sticks out in clumps. Iin multiple places.



Tabula Rasa Tee with Dondi Collar

Here’s one of the things I love about a TNT: you can try a new idea in record time. This time I am choosing to experiment with the Dondi Collar which Judy Kessinger creates in her book Design It Yourself.   I bought the book but she gives detailed instructions in her free video Dondi Neckline

Judy makes all her changes to her master pattern which I didn’t buy. I already have a T-shirt that fits nicely (why reinvent the wheel). I chose to use my fitted Tabula Rasa T pattern this time.  I used it last for the Bargello ITY top.  I know I had to add 1/4″ to the side seams – Thank you Chemo for the additional padding –  however I didn’t change my pattern.  Also found this time this fabric, I needed more circumference for the sleeve.

My fabric is an old Walmart find. Know it is old because my label said 3.5 yards.  I never buy that much fabric anymore.  Anyway, lovely peachy-pink. One of my favorite and most flattering colors.  It is a french-terry weave. I pulled it off the shelves a couple summers and put it back thinking it would be too warm for my SD summers. Now I pressed and spread it out only to think it is too thin for winter wear. Almost put it back, then decided I needed to test this oldie.  I’ve been finding that my oldest fabrics do not sew, hang and wear like modern fabrics. Consequently, I’m not satisfied with the finished garments. Entirely my fault. I’m expecting modern behavior from 20+year old fabric. So I decided I needed to make something simple and quick before deciding whether the remainder was stash or trash donate to the pet-blanket makers. Hence the TRT which even with the needed tissue changes was pretty quick.

I’m never satisfied making just a plain old top. Usually it’s embroidery time or some other embellishment when I have a non-printed, rather plain fabric. Because of my uncertainties with this fabric, I opted to use the Dondi Collar which I’ve been wanting to do since about July.  After trimming my neckline 6″ deeper and measuring,  I cut my collar 13″ wide and 30″ long. I serged it into a circle and folded in half. I quartered both the top’s neckline and the collar; pinned in place and serged. Followed by pressing the seam towards the body and top stitching. I don’t like neckline seams that roll and fold. Much prefer to nail them in place.

I think the front is the best view of this top. You can see issues with the sleeves but as I noted before, they are too tight probably because of this fabric. They were fine in Sept when I made the Bargello ITY top.  This fabric is too thick for the double layer collar. Must remember that when I make the Dondi collar again.

Another example of too thick collar because of fabric, it doesn’t want to either roll neatly nor stand up against the back of my neck. I also note that back  raising at the hem and it’s a bit poofed out.  I’ve  been contemplating the need for a deeper RBA (round back alteration.)  Possibly this issue here is I used 1/2″ shoulder pads whereas this top is fitted for 1/4″.  I’m out of 1/4″ pads.  Have been for a while and have been using 3/8″ pads.  Guest that next 1/8″ is just too much?

Please ignore the big yellow spots on the back. I always add a whiff of spray starch before pressing/ironing. This time it went all in the same spot. I’m contemplating the RBA because the center back rides up at the hem and I have at least the beginning of my U-drag lines.  Mess on sleeves I’m blaming on the fabric which is not stretching enough but I have to admit, it could be the RBA.  Except that the neckline does seem to hug my neck, just clumsily because of the thicker fabric which also doesn’t want to drape like a modern day knit fabric.

Sigh, I will wear this once or twice until it shrinks to uncomfortableness. I like the Dondi collar and will make it again. I need to remember and test my chosen fabric to be sure it will lay nicely.

Also, I will add a little circumference (I’m thinking 1/2″)  to the sleeve. After all, I usually pad out evenly so it would be a shocker to need more hip/tummy circumference and not need more sleeve circumference. I need to buy more 1/4-3/8″ shoulder pads from WAWAK or alter my pattern for the 1/2″ shoulder pad. Otherwise, I think I will just keep watch for a few more versions of myTRT and check out my existing TRT’s when I take pant fitting pics (usually I crop-out the tops and focus on the pants.) It could be time to trace and fit the next larger size. Which would mean another test garment–in a more current fabric…. thinking, thinking, thinking…


Do you mentally visualize your projects?  I was prepping another pattern to use with this fabric:

Finished prepping; laid out the fabric and placed the tissues on top.  As I snapped out the light to go upstairs, I thought ” This will never work”. It’s not that the cut pieces won’t sew together and create a wearable top. But as I was visualizing the fabric cut up and sewn into the pattern I just prepped, I realized I wouldn’t like the result.   It wouldn’t be a garment I reached for over and over.

Overnight my mind pointed out that not only is this a Bargello print  it’s also a rather busy Bargello. This ‘flame stitch’ pattern, which is normally is described as being very active or having movement, lacks spaces for the eye to rest on. And, well it’s a horizontal stripe on an ITY fabric. I prefer to avoid horizontal stripes.  I feel they emphasize the rotund parts of me which these days is most of me. But am I reluctant to cut cross grain especially since this ITY is a bit short on stretch.   The good thing with waiting to cut until the next morning, is that my left brain totally revised my plans into a great garment.

I decided to use my (Fit For Art) Tabula Rasa Tee pattern and the 3/4 sleeve. I know, I’ve now used the 3/4 sleeve for the  last 3 tops. Thing is, I find the 3/4 sleeve to be useful for all but the hottest days of summer and the coldest days of winter. It looks good on my figure too. I’ve used the back pattern piece in which I added an RBA and then rotated the RBA to the neck. There are 2 tiny darts in the neckline but without the center back seam my lower right shoulder becomes less noticeable.

As I scooped up the other pattern pieces and laid out my TRT tissues, I realized that I could reduce some of the business by  making the sleeves and side a solid color.  I debated between this brighter blue and a navy.  Both knits were about the same weight and close to the weight of the ITY. Probably the darker knit (navy) would have been more slimming. My heart just sang with the bright blue and that’s why it won.

To add a little more interest, I once again use the draped front

Same drape front pattern piece as the rayon knit, but the drape behaves a little differently.   Possibly because of the sleeves but maybe it is all the difference in fabric.

Really got to love TNT patterns. I started laying out and cutting this at 1PM had it done by 3PM. Partly that’s because I’d done all the thinking the day before.  Also because there was no fitting involved (but might should be) and finally because I’ve made this pattern so many times, it practically sews itself.

One thing I’ve really got to remember is that large prints, plaids and stripes need full pieces instead of the usual half-front, half-back.  It takes only a few moments to make a full-piece and then you have it for use over and over.  The Bargello was not as difficult  as the rayon knit i.e. it wasn’t stretched off grain, but it can still be a challenge to line up the stripes not just between pieces but between sides of the same piece. Great thing about my choice for the solid sleeves and sides? I didn’t have to exactly align the stripes of the front and back. Close enough, was good enough!

Possible fitting needed?  Look at the side views again.  It could be my lack of photography skills that make it look like the back hem is rising in the center. But I’ve also had the issue of the back coming forward as I’m wearing the drape front rayon knit.  Granted it could also be the heavier, drape front creating a forward drag.  I am more inclined to think my back is rounding more and I need to increase my RBA .  Sigh, they don’t tell you this in health classes.  The body continues to change with every year of your life.  Your clothes need to be adapted for the body you have now.


Wasn’t intending to  sew a 3rd tank right now. It’s too close to fall to be sewing summer things. But I had just done a good job straightening my fabric when this red stripe decided to be a nuisance again.

I bought this  knit  on-line and was disappointed when it arrived. It was advertised as a rayon knit. Which it was but the knit was so thin.  What’s up with that?  The last few years I’ve stopped buying “sweater knits” because they are aren’t going to make anyone sweat. Transparent sweater knits for heaven’s sake. The white stripe of this knit is almost that bad. Anything dark (know of any darker body spots on the upper body?) are going to show. In addition to that, there were two worn spots like this:

I didn’t ask for a refund. I figured there was enough for a tank top and as insubstantial as the fabric was, I wouldn’t be using it for winter wear. I folded and put it in my stash. Where it, like the fabric of the previous TRTank, rolled about causing me endless work just keeping it out of the jaws of the Roomba.

Finally I had enough and decided another Tank, even this late in the season, would be welcome.  I hung it on a hanger intending to work on it in a day or so. That’s when I realized how slippery it was.  It would not stay on the hanger for more than a few minutes. I started spray starching it. Which  helped with the hanging. I took longer than expected to start sewing with it. So everytime I had to get into the closet, I pulled it out and spray starched again.  Must have starched it 4-5 times. Even then it was a bear to lay out and cut.

I have noticed a few cowl neck tops coming across my Pinterest feed and in RTW.  They make me drool. I like a good looking cowl. So why was it that I couldn’t find a cowl in my pattern stash?  Finally realized that my Fit For Art Clever Crossings variation had a cowl for the surplice and the Neckline variations  had both a shallow and deep drape neckline.  I compared the drape neckline to my T front. The deep  Drape neckline is 2″ wider at CF and about 6″ taller.  Thinking this could make a nice looking drape, I opted to use the deep drape.

Why I didn’t morph the pattern piece into a full instead of half piece, well it’s beyond me.  I used the full back with neckline darts but the front I opted to lay out, cut one side, the flip and cut the other.  That’s when I discovered that in addition it’s other faults, the grain is skewed. I don’t want to hear about how knits don’t have a grain.  I’m telling you that the fabric was twisted and skewed and I had a heck of a time cutting the front and keeping the stripes horizontal. Ditto for the back.  At this point, I hoped I would be sewing a wearable muslin.

Hurrah!  I like the cowl!  It would be OK for it to be a little deeper but this is attractive and modest, two things the FitForArt patterns do very well.  It is obvious that FFA patterns are not drafted for Hollywood stars or others who feel they must reveal all.  I do wish I had used an  extended shoulder.  For a long time I’ve loved the balanced shoulder-with-hip silhouette. Between 120 and up to my current weight, this is the silhouette that makes me the most satisfied with my body.

I’ve really become enamoured with stripes ever since I realized they don’t have to match!  Stripes can be turned in different directions! I cut the sides cross grain.

It’s like a little surprise. Plus I didn’t have to worry about exactly matching stripes. I did try to roughly match but the way this fabric was skewed, I didn’t hope for success. When cutting the back it skewed so greatly, I thought this top would be a wadder. Dead before it was even hemmed. Imagine my relief:

This back view is where I would really appreciate the shoulders being balanced with the hips.

One of my continuing complaints with on-line fabric shopping is the lack of weight descriptions. Oh they say light, medium etc. Or transparent/translucent. I think sometimes, as in buying this rayon knit, that I’ve had enough experience with the particular fiber/weave that I can confidently purchase. Truth is, I’m missing critical info. Had I known how light and squirmy this fabric is, I would not have purchased.  If I get another like it, I’m going to bin it immediately.

Tank 2

I bought this ITY fabric…

….because I was fascinated by the print as it appeared on Fabricmartfabrics web site. When the fabric arrived, it was bright. Like glowing in my hands bright.  I’m not a dramatic person. Not an alpha.  I don’t crave attention nor have I ever had a burning desire to lead the pack.  I’m more of a romantic. Maybe with a gamin twist.  Like many people, I’ve had to adapt my personal inclinations and clothing choices for my job. The point is, can you see why this stunning print could have sat in my stash for a few years?  Well it didn’t really sit. It rolled to one side or the other. Hid between other fabrics. Wiggled forward and onto the floor or backward, also onto the floor where the Roomba would try and fail to eat it.  Recently,  I’ve been forced into straightening my shelves and have picked up this same fabric at least 3 times in the last 2 weeks.  Last time it had rolled  into a tube and was once again working itself into the Roomba Feeding Zone.   I decided to use it.  Right Now.

I also decided to make a couple of changes to my pattern.  First, I cut a copy from from fitted front and back-with-CB-seam.  Labeled these new copies as Knit,  Sleeveless, Extended Shoulder, w/o Bust Dart.  Long label and tedious to write out on all 3 pieces and the envelope where they will reside. Oh, forgot, I also included the date 201908 (which means Aug 2019).

There are 2 other pattern alterations  not discernible from the label.  I trimmed 3/8″ height at the shoulders. I’ve adapted the pattern for the small 3/8″ shoulder pads I always slip into place unless I am wearing a  tank or sleeveless garment. I also added 1/4” to the back and front side seams and on both sides of the side-piece.  1/4″ may have been a little too much. As you can see from the side-view (above) it’s getting a little tenty. The label did include a reference to the rotated bust dart (i.e. the w/o bust dart).  I moved it to the hem.  Started to move it to the shoulder but that would have introduced a lot of fabric above the bust.  I am hollow chested. Lots of fabric in that area = bad idea.  I have in the past simply eased the but dart area to the side piece. I wanted dart-less because I had a difficult time easing on  the previous TRTank.

I scooped the front  neck after cutting out the fabric.  Only thing noted on my patterns is a 7.5″ neckline depth which is the deepest I want.  Any deeper shares “the good china”.  The FOE in the pic is actually a dark, almost purplish blue. It matches the deepest blue in the fabric. There are also black swirls so I could have chosen black FOE.

I think the CB-seam may not have been the best choice with this fabric

I think the interruption of the printed pattern emphasizes the extra curve created by my round-back alteration and also brings attention to my lower-right shoulder. I love sewing. Love the fit I can achieve.  The problem is, you start noticing little things like the effect of the CB line with a print. You start noticing poor fit and badly used patterns on others as well as yourself. But the real moral of the story is in today’s full-body pics:

No matter how well nice a garment looks during fitting, wear will distort it.  Look closely (click on the pics) at the shorts above and then at the final fitting of same:


In May 2017, I converted the Tabula Rasa Jacket into a vest by ditching the sleeve and altering the side piece just a bit (detailed here.)   Once that was done, it was a short step to doing the same thing to make a Tank or Sleeveless top from the Tabula Rasa Tee (detailed here.) Then seemingly, I forgot about about this pattern. .   I have a lovely knit fabric which an even more  lovely print I wanted to use, but only had about 1.25 yards.  Suddenly the Tabula Rasa Tee bubbled up in my memory.  Even the long sleeve TRT is amazingly conserving on fabric.

There were 4 vertical repeats of the print. I wanted to use it the best advantage and made both copies of the front and back pieces and converted them into full pieces (vice the normal halves that we use). I also rotated to the shoulder, the dart created for my round-back alteration.  Being summer, I scooped both front and back necklines, just a little.

I wanted to cut the sides from the solid black areas but they simply were wide enough. I chose instead to center the sides along another repeat.

After the first fitting, I let the side seams out 1/4″ from waist to hem. Finished neckline and armscyes with FOE; hemmed at the coverstitch.

I added a 1/4″ ease to the front, back and side pattern pieces for future use.
I had forgotten how much I loved these patterns because I haven’t used them since Oct 2017; almost 2 years. When I pulled out the storage box for the TRT/TRJ , I was amazed at how many variations I have. I really worked this pattern. Why had I forgotten it?  Don’t know, but it’s back in rotation now!!!

TRT with Lace Hem

I had one goal in making this TRT: checking the fit after the Pink Lace Tee disappointed me with its drag lines. But I  may as well have a little fun too, eh?

My fabric is an ITY purchased I think about a year ago.  I like the blue color but was undecided about the print both when I purchased it and when it arrived. It just didn’t say me.  While I wasn’t thrilled about the fabric, I knew it would be an excellent test, being of the same fabric previously good TRT’s were constructed with, or if something is wrong with the pattern I won’t be upset if this doesn’t turn out well.

The fun bit is adding a 6″ lace to the bottom of the sleeves and hem.


Oh and adding a keyhole neckline.  There must be hundreds of ways to make and finish a keyhole, I have a whole Pinterest board of them. I chose to create the keyhole with a facing

and bind the edge of the neck, slip stitching across the open keyhole space.

I’m happy to say this fabric cut from the same exact pattern version as the Pink Lace fits as nicely as ever.

I’m also happy that the print looks nicer in garment form then it did as flat fabric.  I’m not entirely sure my blouse is finished, even though it needs no further stitching.  I’m looking at the visible proportion of lace to bodice.

I like the swish and fell but I think there is just too much visible lace.

or maybe not enough?

I’m also thinking, I might like a bit more shaping. Maybe some elastic at the waist?  Not sure and of course, if I don’t fix it soon, it will be like this until it goes into the trash.



PS I have the TRT down pat.  Even with the extra steps required for keyhole-neckline and lace hems, I had this done in 4 hours from start to finish. Yeah!  Love TNT’s!  Yeah!!!!


PPS Re Fitting:  I see hints of the issues which plagued me on the Pink Lace TRT.  Partly I think I have a posture issue in addition to one shoulder being lower than the other. It’s been noted that I may have one leg shorter than the other.  I never seem to be straight in the pics; always leaning slightly to one side.   I also tend to stand with my weight on one leg or the other.  When I purposely stand with the weight evenly on both hips/legs and feet about shoulder-width apart, the drag lines just don’t appear.  But, I do have unnecessary ease through the body of the garment.  I  want a little more ease. I want the garment to skim my tummy and hips doing no more than indicate I have such assets.  Also, this is a basic T-shirt design. It’s even named Tee which is derived from men’s Tee shirts which are unfitted (and men often wear one size too small in order to show off their own assets.) IOW it’s supposed to have excess ease. So far, I’ve worked on variations to the basic pattern. Now  I may work on introducing a little more shape. Just for fun. KWIM?