For Part 3, you’re going to want a BIG eraser. Or…perhaps you have a steadier hand at hand drawing than I do? OK, for this part I wanted a BIG eraser. I also relied heavily on an Omnigrid ruler and a basic French curve ruler. You could get away with other measuring tools, such as a basic ruler, and for many years, I used a plate or cup edge for curves.
Couple things to keep in mind before drawing:
- You’re going to have to sew these pieces together, so keep your angles as simple as possible. Everywhere I could, I used a 45-degree angle or a 90-degree angle.
- Also filed under sewing these together, remember each piece will need a seam allowanced added. That includes the new “cut on center” lines that were used to cut full fronts/backs, as this will now have each side of front/back split into mirror images on the left/right. I’ll be adding 3/8″ to each of mine. “Cut On Center” is now +3/8″ to allow for sewing both sides together.
- Try to keep your lines to a uniform size, if you can. Keeping my lines to 1″+ 3/8″ seam allowance on both sides will allow me to cut strips of 1 3/4″ that can be cut to lengths needed.
- Remember to match up bottoms to tops, and backs-to-fronts through the sleeves – more on that later.
- Colored pencils are your friend. You’re going to want to have these colored the final color, numbered, and labeled left/right on the front/back so you remember to cut mirrored images in the same color. Do yourself a favor, and do it as you go.
- Have an eraser close by. It’s easier to draw your basic lines, then erase connecting/crossover lines.
An Omnigrid is great because it has 45-degree markers on it, and I can line up a previously drawn line under the ruler, add an inch over, keep it parallel, and draw the next line. It’s not necessary, just easier. color as you go, so you don’t get confused as to which line is connecting to where.
When you’re ready to match patterns on the shirt front and back, make sure the BOTTOM of the shirts are matched up, NOT the arm whole aka armscye. The armscye may not match due to the curvature of the sleeve inset, so match the hems. Put your first design on top of your next piece and match up your starting points. This is also where it is good if you’re using uniform sizing and angles. I just had to notch where the top of the red line started, draw a 1″ thick line of red at a 45-degree angle, and the rest falls into place.
See my arrow? There’s a little red line there – that is where I marked my start so I could match it up. When I go to match this to the leggings, I’ll match up the side seams of the leggings to the side seams of the top.
But first, let’s talk about sleeves. “Walking up a seam line” is exactly what it sounds like it is…you want to match up the sleeve head curve to the shirt-body sleeve hole (armscye) 1 cm at a time, until you get to a line, and mark that part on the sleeve, walk up to next mark, and so on. Repeat on both front and back, then connect and color your marks.
When you’re done with your top pieces, they will look something like this:
Next, you’re ready to line up your bottoms and match your lines. Now it might be late to add, but since I just remembered it…if you’re hacking patterns like I am, please be sure both patterns have the same seam allowance…if my bottoms have a 5/8″ seam allowance, and my top has 3/8″ – then my matching is going to be 1/2″ off on both sides (1/4″ for each seam.) That would suck after all this work, amirite?
OK, other than that, since my bottom pattern is pretty easy, matching up the bottom was a cinch (famous last words):
Next up, will be pattern piecing. If you’ve ever done quilt paper piecing, the idea will be the same. If not, you’re in for a real treat. 😉 Insert sarcasm. I can’t stand paper piecing, to be honest, but I’m glad I’ve done it.
Now, this is all fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants here…applying experience I have elsewhere. If I was going to actually make a sellable pattern from this work, I’d have to test and retest this all multiple times….I tell you this so that you know, when you buy a sewing or quilt pattern, that intellectual property they put out in the world is worked over and over and tested. I’ve done pattern testing…trust me, it takes a lot of work to even get the pattern to me to be tested. So while I put this all here for free and for fun, please know Seamwork & Sew Liberated put in the time and hours for the blocks I’m hacking, and many a quilter has spent time making paper piecing patterns for me to tinker with – off the top of my head, Elizabeth Hartman’s alphabet taught me a ton. This will be a bit different as we’re not using stiff quilting cotton – that has it’s own set of pros and cons, but hey, you can’t know what you don’t know, and if you don’t know, just go with it and have fun.
ALTERNATE ROUTE 1. You can stop here and cut out your color pieces. Make your base outfit in the base color, appliqué (sew on top) your stripes and patterns. In fact, if you’re not sure about sewing a curved line in spandex, and/or sewing 45-degree angles in spandex lycra slippery stuff, that is a good option. Bonus: no seam allowances needed.
ALTERNATE ROUTE 2. Hell, you don’t even have to sew the parts on. You could fuse them on with 2-sided interfacing – but for the love of the Iron Gods, put a piece of cotton or silk between your iron and the lycra unless you want a hot, melted mess and a ruined iron. Same bonus of no seam allowances needed.
Continue to Part 4