Thursday, 9 October 2014

::Sewing:: A Dusting of Cocoa

How this garment came to be is a bit of an epic tale.
Started with the monthly stitch announcing indie pattern month
Not long after I went to Voodoo Rabbit Fabrics while I was over that side of town
Didn't really want to buy anything but caved when I saw the cake patterns
My justification was that these would be the 'New to Me' patterns for Indie Pattern Month over on The Monthly Stitch.
Aaanyway, I didn't get around to making it for Indie Pattern Month.
Then there was Let Them Sew Cake Month, aaand I didn't sew it then either.
But then finally there was Amnesty Month over on The Monthly Stitch and I finally gave myself a kick up the arse and just finished it.
Third time is a charm?

Here is my post over on The Monthly Stitch - Amnesty Month: Dusting of Cocoa

Cake Patterns Cocoa Shrug Riff
from Voodoo Rabbit Fabric at end of May 2014
Cut Size 40 D

Being a riff pattern the instructions weren't as detailed as would be ideal.
But I was aware of that before I started as I've been following StephC for a long time and understood the concept behind her Riff patterns.

~Pattern Adjustments~
Traced off the pattern and didn't make any adjustments to pattern before I sewed.

  • Cut a size 40 D
  • Followed instructions, but didn't stabilise shoulder seams (laziness and wanting to get started won over)
  • Basted side seams and it was way to big
  • Flipped it inside out and pinned out the excess
  • Increased height of dart by 7cm (2.75") (didn't change intake)
  • Finangled side seams - traced a new side seam sewing line, basted it, tried it on, repeat, repeat, repeat...
  • Ended up taking 2.5cm (1") at sleeve; 6.5cm (2.5") at side seam curve and nothing at waist
Random side note: These days I jump between metric and imperial when measuring things. I have always used the metric system as I grew up so I find this shift odd. I guess it's because of being exposed to imperial measurements all the time when sewing.
Am I alone in doing that?

  • probably took a bit too much out of the side seam.
  • Top stitch neck facing down because it pulled strangely because took too much out of side seams - should have waited to the end because the facing is used to enclose the waist binding.
  • Raised the waistline at the back and sides by 1.5".
  • Basted binding to this newly chalked line to assess fit.
  • Unpicked binding at front.
  • Raise hemline 1.5" at front too - baste tested it
  • Trimmed hemline, unpicked waistband and unpicked neckline facing from shoulder seem to front waist - so I can finish waistband nicely.
  • Sewed waistband to bottom - ends enclosed in neckline facing.
  • Top stitched neckline facing down.

  • Ponte knit left over after my Lady Skater Dress - from Spotlight. I think all I have left now is scraps.
  • Interfacing - was probably a bit too heavy for this make.

~Changes I made this time~
  • I adjusted the bust darts and side seams to get a better fit.
  • I topstitched the neckline facing down once I had attached the hem band. I just preferred it to be fixed, although it does create some subtle drag lines.

~What I Like~
  • I really like the style.
  • I like how the hem band is finished at the front opening.
  •  I like the sleeve length on this version, however, I have a feeling that if I had picked the correct size they would have been much shorter. Something to remember when I make another version.

~What I Don't Like~
  • The back is a little too small after taking in the side seams
  • The sleeve hems are a little distorted after taking in the side seams
  • I don't like the way the sleeve hem bands are inserted before sewing the side seams, although if I were using a lighter knit it would probably be less of an issue.

~Changes for Next Time~
  • I'd like to start over again for next time. Pick a different size as a starting point.
  • However, making sure the sleeves are a similar length to this make would be good too.
  • Use a cooler fabric, perhaps some merino that I keep reading about on the blogosphere.

Pattern Cake Patterns Riff Cocoa Knit Shrug (from Voodoo Rabbit Fabric) $10.00
FabricPonte knit left over from Lady Skater DressFREE
  • Interfacing - In Stash
  • Thread - In Stash
Time12.45 hours (* $16-ish Australian minimum wage)
Tracing the Pattern-1hr 30min
Fabric Prep-10min
Fabric Cutting-1hr 20min
Sewing-5hr 30min
Fitting-3hr 15min

Wowee! That is a lot for a little shrug like this.
However, when looking at the numbers a lot of that time was taken correcting the error of cutting out the wrong size to begin with.

~Final Comment~
Considering that I started with a shrug that fit terribly (due to my own mistake), I've ended up with a garment that will probably be a bit of staple.

I big lesson I learnt is that fitting a pattern really is a to-and-fro process.
I don't think that I've basted and unpicked this much ever before.
Another lesson was that I should really take body measurements and compare them to the pattern pieces, especially when working with a new to me pattern company.

The fitting issues I had are my own fault. There was some instructions in the pattern along the lines of the cup sizes on the patterns are not necessarily aligned with bra cup sizes, but I ignored that - to my own peril!

I'm just glad I was able to save this make.

I cut out a Tiramisu dress at the same time in the as when I cut this cocoa out, in the same size (40 D). Doh!
So, before I start sewing that up I'll have to compare the pattern to some of my body measurements and the measurements of the pattern pieces. I'm thinking that I'll compare my measurements and compare them to the pattern. I'd say a good place to start would be back length, front length and bust related measurements like side to bust and shoulder to bust. Yeah, well that's the plan anyway.

What measurement system do you work in when your sewing?
Have you rescued an epic fail project? Or do you through yours into an ominous 'wadder' pile?

Leave a comment below, I'd love to hear from you :)

Until next time,

Let's connect


  1. Hi - Just found your blog via your post on Pattern Review. I made a similar observation in a recent post on my blog too - I seem to have become bilingual as far as measurements are concerned. Although I grew up metric I toggle between metric and imperial these days, I think as a result of using north American indie patterns which often don't metric.
    I'm interested to see you accounting for your time - don't really want to go there with some of my projects!

  2. Gorgeous shrug! Looks great on you.

    My sister would love this as she wears these all the time in summer. I hope to make one for her in the future.

    I'm metric despite imperial being the system in the UK - where I'm from originally. I think that's because I started to learn to sew properly when I moved to Australia. I love and prefer metric, but I can use imperial if I have to.

  3. Thanks Jo!
    I hope your make for your sister goes smoothly. Here's my tip, cut the right size to begin with :)

  4. Nice of you to drop by Paola.
    Sometimes I don't want to count how much time I have spent on a project too, but I think it's an important part of making things, it takes time.
    People who don't sew don't understand that it sometimes takes a lot of time to make something. Which is probably why they flippantly ask to have something sewn for them.


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