Skip to content

The Carnegie Hall Knit Top

2012 July 29
by elizabeth_admin

How do you get to Carnegie Hall the old joke goes?  Practice, practice, practice.  Which is apparently my mantra for the last two weeks.  Yesterday, I spent a good part of the afternoon “practicing” on my coverstitch machine’s binding attachment.  Sheesh.  I’m a little over with the practicing thing right about now I have to admit.

But let me backtrack.  When my family was visiting last week, my sister had a few tops that I couldn’t stop looking at.  They were oversized (hello 1980’s!), burnout cotton knit tops that looked so effortlessly summery and chic at the same time.  I loved them.  Something along the lines of this top I found at UU Clothing


Isn’t that super cute?  And I had to make something similar right away.

Of course, I couldn’t just go looking through my patterns or Burda magazines to find a similar pattern.  Noooooo.  I had the great idea to significantly alter a pattern I have already made up, Burda 60-2009-109, the batwing top, here and here.  I’m always a sucker for masochism I guess.  Basically, the changes I made to the existing Burda pattern were:

  • Scoop out the neck to round it out more
  • chop off the sleeves to make wide kimono-ish short sleeves with squared off instead of tapered sleeve openings so I could easily hem them (I used my french curve to  add the curve for the underarm)
  • add 12 inches of ease to the torso/waist/hip of the top for the oversized flowy look that my sister’s tops had
  • lengthen the top by 3 inches.

I wasn’t sure if this “experiment” would work.  And I wouldn’t know until I put the finished top on either because I was going to bind the neck and you can’t try it on mid-process as one shoulder is left unsewn until the binding has been attached.  I just thought what did I have to lose?  A couple of yards of fabric that I bought in the Michael Levine’s dumpster dive shop  in LA in April.  So I just went for it.  🙂

And here’s where the practicing came into play.  My knit, a two-way stretch striped knit, just would not play nice in the binder.  It kept twisting and twisting.  So much so, that for a minute, I considered whether I could call it intentional twisting or not.  I tried everything in the book to fix it.  I changed the pressure foot pressure. I tried changing the needle tension. I tried changing the stitch length.  After no setting changes alleviated my problem, I then resorted to interfacings.   I tried all different kinds.  They all stopped the twisting, but they were too thick and stiff for this knit.  They made the binding stand at attention, not a good thing for a slouchy top IMHO.

Finally, I thought to use starch on my binding but I couldn’t find my starch in any of my boxes.  After my birthday dinner last night, we stopped at a store to pick up some starch, but when I got home at 9pm, I found out that the nozzle had been broken off.  Dang it!  That’s when, in desperation, I thought to make my own starch spray.  I used this tutorial on-line.  I found that this ratio of starch to water was pretty good, but my binding needed heavy duty starch, so I added about a tsp more to my solution and it worked a treat.  I finally had binding that was stiff enough to bind without twisting.  Eureka!

So I bet you’re wondering how my top turned out.  Well, I love it!  It has just the right amount of ease that I was looking for, the sleeves turned out just like I imagined them and I love the neckline.  It’s low, but I planned it that way because I wanted to wear either a t-shirt or cami under it for a layered look.  I’m pretty lucky that this experiment worked out.  It had nothing to do with drafting skill as I have none.  It was just an idea, a great pattern to start with, and plain dumb luck.  I am pretty lucky in life though.  *knocking on wood*

Here’s the proof of the pudding…





Jack was my photographer this morning.  Didn’t he do a great job?  Here’s a little extra pic of my photographer.


I think I might need to make another of these tops pronto, maybe in a solid knit.  I love the neckline.  Isn’t it cute?  (If I do say so myself.)

Happy sewing everyone!

10 Responses leave one →
  1. July 29, 2012

    You know Jack takes great pictures…full of background and at a great level to get all of you! The new top is very pretty! Glad you got to spend some quality time with your sewing machine.

  2. July 29, 2012

    Great looking top.

  3. July 29, 2012

    Oh I like this top and thank god for starch! Solvy (fusible soluble embroidery interfacing) works well too but its a bit of a fiddle to fuse. Nice job and I suspect there were some skills involved too BTW, definitely.

    PS love the pic of Jack in his jim jams … :o)

  4. July 29, 2012

    What an easy breezy knit top. Jack did a great job!

  5. July 29, 2012

    oh he is so cute, I can’t stand it! Cute top, too 🙂

  6. July 30, 2012

    The top, and of course the PJs are cute, but I have to admit, the background is distracting! It’s like you left NYC and moved to Shangri la!

  7. July 30, 2012

    I’d say you have drafting skills – great top.

  8. renee permalink
    July 30, 2012

    I don’t know why I chuckle everytime a blogger puts the kids to work taking photos. But, I do!

  9. Judi permalink
    July 30, 2012

    Yes it sure is cute! …and Jack!!! You obviously do have ‘drafting skills’…way more than the average bear…you just don’t know it. 🙂

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. Feeling stripe-y | SEWN

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS

  • Follow SEWN...
  • My Weapons of Mass Construction

    Singer Featherweight 221 (1938)
    Baby Lock Imagine
    Brother 2340CV
    Husqvarna Viking Emerald 183
    RIP: Brother 1034D
  • Translation

  • I’m a proud member of

  • I support

    Project 95
  • Archives

  • Categories

  • The Trench Sew Along