Here’s something I whipped up the other day: an Astoria top from Seamwork magazine in the art class print from Sidewalk. I think it works (as do many of the prints in this collection) as a “grown up” print, don’t you? This is probably hard to believe, but I always try to design fabrics meant for women’s apparel, but the collections always end up reading “kid” more than “grown up” once they’re done. I keep trying though. I swear the collection I am working on right now is more serious, just you wait!! Anyway, I love these little pencils so much and it’s really fun to make them into something I can wear.
I made a size medium of the Astoria pattern and made just a couple of small changes. First, I removed the curve in the side seam which I imagine is meant to accommodate those whose busts achieve the dimensions set forth in the measurement chart for the size medium bust (mine does not). Furthermore, I ended up flipping the entire neckband to the inside of the top and stitching it down after finding that it wasn’t sitting quite as flat as I’d hoped (this is a result I think of using a 100% cotton knit; if you had a lycra knit, you probably wouldn’t have this issue). Overall, it fits quite well considering the cowboy approach I took (no muslin, serger for everything but the sleeve hems and neckline). If I make this again, I might add some length; it’s definitely a cropped top and lands right at my natural waist, so I really can’t raise my arms in this outfit without showing off my midsection. But I think as long as I wear this with high-waisted pants (which unfortunately these awesome red cords are not), it will be fine.
I love Seamwork magazine, and this was my first attempt at one of their patterns. I own a few Colette patterns and love the designs that Sarai and her team produce, but the Colette aesthetic has always been a bit fancier than my chase-the-toddler-at-the-park wardrobe demands. So when they launched Seamwork magazine and included a new line of patterns with the subscription (two patterns are free with every issue) that are simpler and a bit more casual than their Colette patterns, it was right up my alley, since as you probably know I tend toward fairly simple garment designs.
I still balk a little as a pattern designer at the low price ($6/month for a Seamwork subscription, which means the patterns are all $3 each), because I worry sometimes that stuff like this can make it tougher for my own patterns to sell, but I think that the adage “you get what you pay for” is applicable in many cases. The entire Seamwork magazine is so beautifully presented, the articles are wonderful, and the photographs are amazing, but overall my impression is that the patterns can be hit or miss. Which really is fine with me as a subscriber, since I’m already getting a fantastic magazine with top-notch articles. You can’t expect to get awesome every time when you are getting two new patterns every month for $6. Maybe they do compete on some level with my patterns for the customer who responds to low pricing, but I’ve come to realize that I need to be catering to the person who will value the time and attention I give my patterns, and is happy to pay more for that value. If it takes me six months to make each pattern and then charge next to nothing for them, I really don’t know how I could have a sustainable business. I hope this doesn’t come off as a diss to Seamwork — that’s not how I mean it — but I do think that it’s important to talk about value and quality and how it relates to pricing. Seamwork is just taking a different approach with the subscription model.
Anyway, the Astoria top has been, as they’ve put it, one of their “fan favorites,” and I would agree: it’s easy and quick to sew, and doesn’t require much fitting or fussiness. And as you can see, it’s great for showing off Sidewalk!