Instructions Work Better When You Read Them

During the last month where I pretty much failed at blogging, one of the projects that I completed was Simplicity 3750, View D.  I came across the pattern at Hancock’s when patterns were on sale for $1, and I was there with my friend Suzanne.  She pointed it out to me, I agreed it was cute, and since it was $1, I decided I would buy the pattern and make us each a top for our upcoming vacation at the end of May.

I did my top first because I am more paranoid than usual when sewing for others, and I figured if I made any mistakes I’d rather mess my own top up than hers.

Definitely a good decision.  This pattern was not the picnic it appeared to be at first glance.  You’re shocked, right?

It started off easy enough.  Here is my cliff’s notes version of the instructions:

1)  Attach the yoke pieces to the bodice front.

2)  Start the gathering process on the bottom of the bodice.

3)  Make the elastic casing for the top of the bodice.


4)  Stitch the sash together.


5)  Connect front pieces of the bodice, sandwiching the sash securely in between.

It was around this point that I had a fairly major fail at instruction reading.  If you’re following along at home, this was around Step 9 or 10 of the pattern instructions.   Since I am a rebel, I rarely mark my cut pieces of fabric, and this case was no different.  No large dots to warn myself that I needed to stop stitching.  So when I attached the sash and the bottom front piece of the bodice to the top of the bodice, I stitched all the way across and thought nothing of it.  This came back to haunt me shortly.

6)  Sew center back seam of back piece together.

7)  Connect back of top to front of top at the shoulder seam.

8)  Commence bias tape collar disaster.

The pattern calls for covering 3/4 of the collar edge in bias tape.  My first issue to overcome was the fact that I had no bias tape that remotely matched my fabric.  Ooops.  Amazon saved me on that one and two days later I was able to continue with my nicely matching bright pink bias tape.  The instructions don’t say anything really about how to deal with the ends of the bias tape neatly, since at this point you have already stitched the bottom of the yoke pieces to the front bodice piece.


I stitched along, and when done had a very nice finished edge … except the two ends where the bias tape met the elastic casing.  Thankfully, Elizabeth was sewing with me that evening, and as I began to grumble over my predicament, she made one of her brilliant suggestions – fold in and restitch the bottom yoke seam so that it catches the bias tape ends. She also pointed out that it would have been way easier to add the bias tape prior to stitching that seam in the first place.  I have vowed to do this when I make Suzanne’s top.  Anyway, I had a minor issue when I tried to restitch this seam – caught some fabric I didn’t want in the seam and needed to call in Fred to undo it.  Sigh.  The red arrow below points out the yuckiness.  Follow that icky line to the bias tape edge near the top of the picture though, and you’ll see the fix did work.


9)  Stitch the front and back together at the side seams.  Also, make sure to hate yourself for that boo boo you made when you connected the sash to the rest of the bodice.

I was so disgruntled over this that I did not take any pictures.  It was nerve wracking trying to stitch a seam around a sash that must stay out of the way when you didn’t leave a seam allowance for said sash.  I managed because I sure as hell was not able to undo all the overcasting and other steps I’d done since then.  The slightly messy parts of the side seam are thankfully hidden by the sash when wearing the shirt, so yay for small victories.

10)  Realize that as usual, the pattern sizing was way too big when you try on the top, and decide that you have to take off about 3″ on each side.

Which means somehow redoing those awful side seams.  Again.  It was awful because I was trying to take all the excess fabric off from the back of the shirt, so I had to play a lot of folding games and make sure I watched carefully while I stitched to fix this stuff.  In retrospect, I think I would take the top in along the center back seam instead of the sides.

11)  Add the little ruffle sleeves to the armhole edges.

12)  Cover the armhole edges with more bias tape.

13)  Hem the bottom of the top.

I did use my tissue paper trick a lot on this top trying to prevent wavy seams.  I also used my narrow hemmer foot on the little ruffle sleeve edges.  I am getting better at that thing … soon I won’t even need the instructions every time I pull it out to use it! 😛

I finished the top up last weekend while I was at Elizabeth’s after the Jo Ann’s trip.  She is hosting a new foster kitty that is just adorable.  And I’m not really a cat person.  Super cute.  Look, she even wanted to play when we were taking pictures of the top.  If you are interested in providing a home for this cat, please head over to Elizabeth’s blog and let her know!


You can tell in the pictures that the square neckline of this top probably requires a strapless bra.  Also, don’t you think my psychedelic flannel giraffe pajamas match this shirt well??


On this fabric, you can barely see the contrasting pink bias tape because it turns out looking just like another stripe, heh.  I am curious how contrasting tape will look on Suzanne’s tank version as her linen fabric does not have stripes.  I’ll be sure to post a picture of that finished product soon, and hopefully report that it cause me less angst than mine did!


5 comments for “Instructions Work Better When You Read Them

  1. Hedy
    April 18, 2013 at 11:48 am

    It fits u great and looks good on u

    • Tyraenna
      April 18, 2013 at 6:35 pm

      Thanks, Hedy 🙂

  2. April 18, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    This top turned out really well. It’s very flattering on you. As for the hiccups, I never mark my fabric, either – EVER. But you know how I feel about instructions in general. Thanks for mentioning Amelia Earhart. It’s going to be extremely difficult to part with her, but I’ll do it for the perfect home!

  3. April 20, 2013 at 8:02 am

    Adorbs, just adorbs!

    • Tyraenna
      April 20, 2013 at 7:53 pm

      Thanks 🙂


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