Pattern: Coppelia by Papercut Patterns, available here (awaiting stock) or from Papercut as PDF or printed pattern. Size XS.
Fabric: Cottagely Posy knit- 95% cotton, 5% spandex, 150cm wide from Priory Square by Katy Jones for Art Gallery- buy here, and here. I used 1.25 metres, directional pattern so all pattern pieces placed in the same direction and a little creative placement to cut the hem ties.
Alterations: Added 3 ½" to hemline. Kept neckband to the same length. Cut additional hem ties- 4 in total and made them a little longer so the tie could wrap round to the front if needed. Widened cuff by 1" in total.
This is my first Papercut pattern. I love the presentation and the thick brown paper and it is worth paying extra for. It makes tracing so much easier. The sizing is generous. I started out tracing a Small but quickly realised with a little pattern comparison from well fitting knit patterns that I needed to go down a size and this feeling is replicated on other sewing blogs. My niggle with Papercut is the model aesthetic they choose for their patterns is very young, very slim, many styles are very short and at 44 years old this makes me feel totally out of their target market. Seeing ingénue styled models standing with their toes pointed inwards also irritates me. Maybe I need to get over that or maybe it would be good to see them vary their presentation a little and I don't just mean a blonde model replaced with a brunette. Whinge over. It was a well cut pattern, I liked the construction and although I did a test run with some duvet reclaimed jersey and did a few tweaks I can see this is a pattern that I will return to and my daughter saw this and requested her own version. My test run was the cropped wrap view which sits on my natural waist line. For this version, I extended the hem line so it sat between my waist and hips. The fit was great and definitely makes me want to try other Papercut styles.
Raglan sleeves make for easy construction. You do need to consider how to handle the gap in the seam for the hem tie so I used a combination of lightning bolt stitch (Janome Stretch stitch) and overlocking the seams. Art Gallery knit fabric is very stretchy which means it recovers well- the jersey bounces back into place- but the elasticity means that they curl a lot when cutting or sewing and are a little tiresome to work with. A stretch needle rather than a jersey ballpoint is essential. I also use ballpoint pins. I also find that served seams on this fabric have a tendency to pop open so I used lightning stitch for the seam and the overlocker to finish the edges. You could stitch the whole top on a standard machine, a serger/overlocker is not essential. I love the print, so pretty and such vivid colours.
Getting the correct amount of stretch on the neckband to prevent gaping, especially for a small busted/flat chest fitting is hard. I didn't stretch enough on my test run and I stretched it too much on this version. You can't tell when I am wearing it but it is a little too tense and I know for next time. The level of stretch is going to vary according to the fabric used and is mainly done by feel and experience. The most important place to get it right is as the band curves round your neck. I also looked at my better quality ready-to-wear jersey tops e.g. Boden, and many have twill tape stitched across the back neck so I used that method here. Its a handy technique as it neatens and stabilises a bulky seam.
It's a pattern that benefits from a jersey with a little elastane/spandex/lycra- they are all the same thing. The lycra helps it cling rather than flop or gape. Papercut rate the pattern as Rookie/beginner. I would say intermediate is more accurate. A bit of knit sewing experience is going to help a great deal and the construction of the neck band and hem ties needs a little time to get your head round. Definitely one to make a test version of first.