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Holiday Twin Set

Last Minute Sewing

At Christmas time I head 'home' to the frozen upper midwest, AKA St. Paul, Minnesota to spend a week with my beloved Tilton tribe. I stay with my brother Bill along with 3 adult nieces + 1 spouse, and there is lots of cooking and hanging out around the big kitchen table. Clothes are casual. A warm coat, hat, gloves, boots are essential. Bill's annual egg nog open house on Christmas eve, and the big family gathering at my brother Louis' home on Christmas Lake are an excuse to get a little more dressed up, and at both gatherings there is cooking and cleanup, so nothing too fancy-schmancy.

In a 'must sew' moment, I whipped up this holiday twin set to wear with purchased black crushed velvet pants using two fast, easy tried-and-true patterns.

The Pieces Layer & Play Well Worn Together or Separately

The Cardi:

  • This is a fabulous double sided fabric, a dream to sew.
  • One side is silver-y metallic, the other matte, a nice contrast, so it became a must to use both sides as a design element.
  • Cut it on the cross grain so the wide stripes would run mostly vertically
  • Made straight from the pattern envelope.
  • Added a wrap around kimono style band at the neck, leaving the edge of the bands raw and an asymmetrical length.
  • Used the even feed foot when doing the hem topstitching.

The Tunic

  • Tossed the Inner Glow Charcoal Metallic Sweater Knit in the washer/dryer using the hottest settings, hoping it would shrink and become more dense. It did, and I am happy with the result.
  • I use this pattern so often, I have a firm paper master pattern my FBA built in.
  • Using a purchased top as a guide, changed the shape of the front hem.
  • Used raw edges at the hem as the fabric rolls nicely along the cut edge.
  • Used the neck edge as-is from the pattern, but cut a wide strip for the neckband using the Sterling Stripe Knit. I often experiment with neck bands, for this top wanted the neck to be a bit smaller for warmth.
  • Using a folded strip, sewed the neck band with the left shoulder seam open. Then I pin the garment together and try it on. Even though I'd used as much tension as possible, the neck band still seemed loose. Not quite right.
  • I tried running a narrow piece of elastic through the neck band.
  • Voila! It worked.
  • See more details on the neck band below.

Tunic Neck Band

  • The photo below shows the size of elastic run through the neck band using a handy bodkin.
  • I keep a stock of different elastics on hand, this narrow oval shaped piece worked perfectly.
  • The other option I considered would be to use a wider elastic that would fill up the width of the band which I intend to try on another project as I've see it used in upper end Comme des Garcons garments.
  • If you are not familiar with the avant garde Comme des Garcons clothing line, this will be the featured show at the Met in NYC next year. The Costume Institute's spring 2017 exhibition will examine the work of Japanese fashion designer Rei Kawakubo, known for her avant-garde designs and ability to challenge conventional notions of beauty, good taste, and fashionability. Click here for more info on this upcoming show, May 4-September 4, 2017.

  • Not too much, not too little, the fullness adjusts automatically when worn.
  • I tried on the garment to get it right before stitching it down.
  • The elastic sits easily right at the fold on the neck band.

Wishing you a joyous and creative holiday season from Vasco and me!

Happy sewing from my studio to yours,


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© Marcy Tilton