Category Archives: Surplice

2017 Autumn 6PAC: Knit Top 2

Hmm, what is going on?  I look in the mirror and say “WOW this is great! I love it!”  Get the pics and say “????? WTF ???????”

This is once again the Fit for Art Tabula Rasa T I’ve made and loved a dozen times. I used the surplice front again and again paired with a full front. I really like eliminating all possibility of wardrobe malfunction.  Last time I followed directions and made the 3 tucks on the side to create the curved bottom hem. This time I said “why go to all that trouble?” Instead I got out my curve and a la Peggy Sagers, trimmed a curved hem

OK, I didn’t like the first curve when I compared to the full front and I cut it a second time.  My  first surplice T was pretty well-behaved throughout the day but not well enough that I wanted to trust 2 surplice fronts instead of the faux that I did. That curve wants to stretch. So this time, in addition to the full front, I  taped the surplice on the reverse side

I used bias fusible tape because it bends so nicely during application. If it doesn’t work, next time I will use the straight, fusible tape. I wanted to tie this top closely to my 6PAC’s theme. I cut a strip from the blouse fabric and wrapped it around the surplice edge before hemming the bottom edge.

OK hemming the bottom edge is why you’d want to use the 3 tucks instead of the curved hem. It was a pain. I resorted to running a basting stitch along the edge  to ease the hem to the body of the garment . Before setting this piece aside I added a button loop and hemmed the short,  left side.

I’d already decided that I wanted the short  edge to be free but kept in place with a button (so why did I do all the surplice stabilization? Oy Vey! Sometimes I do too much.)

This is really a pretty button. So sorry that my photography skills did not do it justice. I used to go to garage sales and look for buttons and other sewing stuff.  I think this is a button from one of those trips. I’m totally unsure of how old it really is, I’ve had it about 4 years. And it is all there is. I don’t have a second. I knew I would want to use it as a stand alone statement at some point. That time is now.

I finished the sleeves with another strip of fabric from Blouse 1

But finished the neckline with my new favorite, picot elastic

I  think, I’m hoping that this top has the same issue as Knit Top 1, ie  the polyester/lycra knit fabric.

As with Knit Top 1, both made from the same pattern and similar fabrics, this top is also too big. I’m not sure if I want to run them through the laundry first or just put them under the needle and serger blades. At least, I think it is an easy fix. Could be wrong. Could be I should eliminate polyester lycra from my stash and buying habits.

Clever Crossings

Anyone out there a Fit For Art patterns fan? I certainly have become one. FFA released a new variations called Clever Crossings 

Now, I had considered this conversion on my own. It’s really not that difficult to create a surplice front from a pattern that fits. Problem is, most surplices don’t hang nicely on me. They gap; or they grow.  I ended up taking in the last surplice I did 7 times, 7 inches. Finally tossed the thing in the trash along with the pattern (I think an Ottobre Design). I’m not fated to achieve better results by creating my own surplice either. But it wasn’t the surplice alone that got my attention.  FFA has added shawl collar to the surplice; tweaked the surplice to have an upper insert, empire or curved hem or uneven hem created via side tucks. Most intriguing to me is the tulip sleeve. I simply had no idea how to go from the TRT long sleeve to the flutter sleeve. Alas, I will not be using the most interesting sleeve until fall. (I can’t stand sleeves or any kind mid-summer).

What they don’t advertise is the fitting procedure for the surplice which is included in the instructions. Generally I read through the instructions one and never consult them again. I’m looking for anything tricky rather than new. I’ve got lots of experience under my belt when it comes to sewing. Which translates to lots of preferred ways of doing things. I’m not doing something different just because it is in the instructions. Actually I’ve had several experiences where doing what was in the instructions made the process much more difficult and resulted in a  amateurish finish. But I do at least skim the instructions and stopped short when I realized I had not seen this method of fitting the surplice.  And I won’t be sharing that today either. It’s a process that requires either a genuine muslin that you plan to toss, or a wearable garment in which the needed change is discovered and then transferred to the pattern for the next garment. I decided upon the later because I’ve had so many surplices that fit nicely out of the envelope but as the day wore on needed more and more safety pins in front. I’d rather like to know the full extend of the needed alteration before slashing the pattern.

For $12 (plus shipping) you get a lot of pattern pieces. I don’t want  to dig through all that flimsy tissue every time I want a new variation. Besides, you have to sort through different cup sizes for the same pattern piece. So even though it took an hour,  I sorted through and  traced all the size Large, A cup pattern  pieces. I knew immediately I was not making a true surplice i.e. right and left sides do not have a surplice.

I don’t really think of this as a faux-surplice. It isn’t just bias tape or contrast band stitched to the front piece. It is a separate full left front and surplice right front.

I opted to stitch the 2 tucks


which create the asymmetrical hem

The pattern includes (and I traced) a pattern piece for a shaped front band and back band. Not sure why I traced those because I always intended to cut a strip from a contrast fabric to create the band. It’s a knit.  A cross-grain strip will wrap around that edge just as easily as a fussed-with shaped band.

Well I take it, back I didn’t always intended to use just the contrast band. I did consider using the contrast fabric for the surplice front or maybe substituted for back or side panels. In my head, those variations always looked like the Art To Wear of the person trying to use up scraps rather than the artist selecting materials. KWIM? Let’s just say I have a limited appreciation of Art To Wear.

I am puzzled about the final fit. The back really surprised me. This is the first time I’ve seen such tightness across the back and really narrow at the shoulders.

I do remember narrowing the shoulders about a half-inch and of course sloping them. I expected to make a small adjustment to the front shoulder. But along with the other fitting concerns, I just pleated the front shoulder of the surplice to fit the back

I’m reluctant to blame the fabric. I’ve used that too many times. It sounds like a goto excuse rather than a bona-fide issue. But this was not the best fabric. It’s a 100% poly that has been sitting in the stash for numerous years. It’s the kind that pills and will be in and out of the wardrobe quickly. Which makes it good for a wearable muslin i.e. nice enough that I can stand wearing it several times and discover any issues but I won’t have to tolerate its shortcomings for very long.  Back to the point, I don’t see any of these issues in my  first sleeveless TRT  nor any of the other sleeved versions. So are they fabric issues? Did they result from adding the surplice? Combining surplice with full front?  So what’s the plan? Well I like it:

So I’m going to wear it and check the fit of the surplice. I’m going to review my previous versions of the TRT and see if any of the others have a tight-fitting back and see how narrow they are across the shoulders.  After I take stock, another one of these is definitely in the works.