Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Papercut Pinnacle Top

It is still summer here in the Midwest and I'm still working through my linen stash. I really don't follow a system when it comes to deciding which fabric to sew. I just pick the one that was inspiring to me at the moment. Like this lovely Nani Iro linen. 

It's hard to see from the photo but this lightweight Japanese fabric has the most beautiful design that features a double border print and variegated shades of blue arranged in geometric fashion.

 After browsing through the myriad of inspiring garment photos posted on Instagram, I decided to make my own version of the Papercut "Pinnacle Top" pattern. 

About the pattern:

The Pinnacle top pattern is available in the Papercut pattern website as a paper pattern or PDF file. It features an oversized cropped top which can be sewn in one of three ways:
Variation 1: deep V neckline with short or wrist length sleeve
Variation 2: round neckline with binding and back ties with short or wrist length sleeve
Variation 3: sweater with neck band and sleeve cuffs

The first two variations will work well with woven fabrics and the third one with knit. 
I made view 1. It only consists of three pattern pieces--the body, the triangular inset and the neck facing. 
This is the main body piece. At first glance it is hard to figure out what's going on but after locating the edge which attaches to the triangular inset in the center front, it becomes easier to decipher. 
Unlike the typical top pattern, this one does not have a front and back pattern piece. Instead, it has only one body pattern piece, the back and front being connected already by the sleeve. 
Here I folded the pattern piece so that it is easier to visualize where the sleeves fall on the fabric. I wanted the border print on the sleeves but it was impossible to do it for both front and back sleeves because the grainline of the pattern did not coincide with the selvedge. 

After much rearranging, I decided to just put the border print on the center back.

See the center back? That is made of two border prints sewn along the lengthwise grain.

 As for the triangular inset, the pattern piece was supposed to be laid out on the fold of fabric. I wanted to use the border print for this but it was not wide enough to accommodate the pattern so I had to piece the fabrics before cutting the pattern piece. 

Here are the cut fabric pieces. It's like a giant jigsaw puzzle!


Although the top itself was easy to sew owing to the simplicity of the lines, I still had to grapple with some issues which necessitated some fiddling with. 

•Very Deep V-Neckline

It is indeed mentioned in the pattern website that the neckline is deep. Looking at finished garments posted on Instagram, a lot of them were worn with cami. When I tried on the muslin, I found out for myself how deep it was. I definitely could not wear the top as is so I had to make adjustments on my pattern pieces. 

I raised the neckline by 1.5". I had to redraw the edge that would be attached to the center triangular inset.
I also needed to adjust the triangular pattern piece on the cut side leaving the center fold line as is.

A closer look at the adjustment needed to be made on the triangular piece. 
Not to forget the neck facing. Since I raised the neckline by 1.5", I had to shorten the neck facing by same amount.

This is definitely more wearable for me!

Center Front Seam I created

Since I pieced the fabric I used for the triangular center inset, I created an unwanted seam in the middle. No biggie but I didn't like how it looked so I decided go camouflage it with some decorative stitches. 

After testing a variety of decorative stitches on a scrap piece of fabric, I settled for this one on my Juki F600. 

I used a wash away stabilizer for decorative stitching. It definitely made a difference in the quality of the final stitches. 

I used a light blue embroidery thread which went really well with the fabric. 

Bottom Hem

I tested different methods of hemming the bottom as I did not like how the front center hem was sticking out. Although it seems that the top was supposed to look that way judging from most of the photos I have seen of the finished project, mine was doing so in an unattractive way. I'm guessing it must be due to the seamed center of the triangular inset. 

First try: simple folded hem. I stitched a 5/8" guideline and folded the hem to the inside. 

Second try: I sewed a wide bias cut hem facing and turned to the inside. 

Third and last try: I sewed a 4" wide bias cut hem band and sewed in place. 

This is the view from the right side. 

I decided on the third method. After pressing the band in place, it looked good on the top and improved the issue a bit. It still stuck out but in a more graceful manner. And it's a plus that I was able to add 2" hem to the cropped top. 

And now photos of the finished garment!

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Summer Pants: Simplicity 8956

   I wasn’t really looking for a pants pattern when I visited Jo-Ann’s last month but Simplicity 8956 was on display and it caught my eye. I had a little over a yard left of a linen fabric and I was on a quest to sew as much from my stash this summer as possible. I thought the features which included front pleats, back darts, notched waistband, trouser pockets and belt were perfect paired with my woven fabric. 

Granted the wide legs may not be the ideal choice for someone short like me, I still decided to give it a try!


When it comes to bottoms, I tend to choose pattern size based on my hips. Having a straight figure with a waistline that is almost as wide as the hips, I find it easier to just grade up from the hips to the waist. A quick check of the finished garment measurements printed on the pattern paper helped me make a quick decision on which size to cut. I still sewed a muslin to check on the fit at the crotch. This being a wide-legged pair, I was not too worried about the fit around the thigh and legs.


I have some leftover Kaufman Essex linen blend in my stash. It is a 55% linen/45% cotton and labeled as lightweight (5.3 oz/sq yd) at However, it felt more midweight to me, perfect for pants. 

I pretreated the fabric by pressing before washing. I used the hot water setting on the washing machine then used the highest setting on the dryer. However I did not let it dry totally but took it off when it was still damp and just let it hang to dry. 

Construction Notes

Finishing edges

The directions and illustrations on the pattern are easy to understand. My only constructive criticism is the lack of attention dedicated to finishing the seams. I thought it would at least be mentioned in the general directions but nada. It is easy, especially for a beginner, to just keep on following the directions and realize one needed to finish some edges prior to stitching seams. Here are a few examples:

The center front and back seams will be sewn together only after the center back zipper has already been sewn. It would be wise then to finish the edges first before attaching the zipper.

Since my fabric tended to fray, I also finished the edges of the belt loops before sewing them down in the final step. FYI, those edges will not be hidden in between seams but folded down and sewn in place.

Zipper Attachment

As with most big 4 patterns, detailed instructions on attaching invisible zippers are not really included. Usually one is referred to the "manufacturer's instructions." The latter usually provide only the most basic of instructions. Through the years, I have adapted some useful practices that result in perfectly sewn invisible zippers.

Before sewing on the invisible zipper, I added a 1” strip of lightweight iron on interfacing along the seam allowances. 

 To ensure the two sides of the pants match at intersecting seams, I hand basted the zipper to test. 

 Two essential tools for invisible zipper sewing: the invisible zipper foot and the regular zipper foot. The latter is useful when sewing the seams immediately below the zipper as seen below.

View of the back after zipper was attached. 

Woven Belt

The pattern included a woven belt meant to be tied. Mine had a finished dimension approximately 42" long and 1" wide. Having a handy dandy loop turner helped when it was time to turn the belt right side out. 

The Finished Garment

View of pocket's wrong side. 

View of the hem. I had to add a hem facing to extend the hem length as I was short on fabric. 

While sewing this project, I thought to myself I probably would not make another one. I had doubts about how a wide-legged silhouette would look on my super short stature. I also thought the only way to wear it was with tucked in top and I prefer to wear my tops untucked. But after trying the pants on with different tops, both tucked and untucked, I thought I might be able to get away with the style. 

Shown here with a J. Crew tee purchased a long long time ago.

After trying it on the first time, I decided to shave off about 1" from the width of the pant legs, starting at the bottom then tapering to nothing at mid-thigh.

Paired with a recently sewn Salme Hannah top. For pattern used, check out my review here.

Worn with top tucked out (belt removed to reduce bulk). The top shown here was a recently sewn version of Burda 8987 which I originally blogged about here.

Finally paired with Paco Peralta draped top which posted about here.

So what do you think? I will definitely be wearing this but should I make another version or stop at this?