I have previously made just one Seamwork pattern, the Akita, a few years ago, and it turned out technically well, but horrible on my body. It looks so cute on the model, who has a very different body shape than I do, and this was back when I had ideas that if I could just get thinner, I would actually change my body shape. Thank goodness I found the idea of Kibbe styling, and started to understand bone structure and frame, and how to make fashions work with the body I have by choosing different specifics from the start.
The Seamwork Paxson sweater is actually one that I was drawn to initially to make for my pre-teen daughter. I had never made a raglan style sleeve, and at this point in her body development, she is right at the appropriate cup size for not having to adjust most patterns. Considering the Paxson is a unisex pattern, that is meant to be a little more on the baggy side, I thought my first go would be for her.
Fast forward this through year, where in spite of my #makenine2019 plans I spent most of my time working with knits, and then seeing adorable makes using this glow-in-the-dark Doodles brand knit from Joann fabrics, I decided I was going to try to make myself a Halloween Paxson sweater to wear to work.
Step one was to alter the flat pattern to make sure there was room for my bust. Since I was using a stretchy knit, I knew I probably did not need to do a large full bust adjustment (FBA), but I did want to make sure there wasn’t too much pull going on with the width, and that there was plenty of length to cover from my shoulder, over my bust, and down. Shirts ending up too short is a frequent problem I have, whether in ready-to-wear clothing, or sewing patterns. I have learned with most patterns meant for stretchy fabric, I can get away with a pivot and slide method of FBA, but it is always good to check that ultimately I have enough length. I have actually made the mistake before of adding length and not needing it, and a garment ends to too big! For this, I compared the flat pattern piece for the front to the Cashmerette Concord pattern piece I had previously made, since that has the larger cup sizes, in order to see how they compared with both width at the bustline and length. I found I did not need to lengthen the front at all.
For this top, I used my upper bust measurement of 34″ to choose the XS size at the neck, grading to the S size at the shoulder and through the upper bust area, and then my 40″ bust measure to grade to the M there. Instead of choosing the bust measure from the suggested size, I knew that I wanted a more snug fit so that the top did not end up baggy (which is not a great look for me), I used the finished measurements as my guide, knowing that the stretchy fabric would not have an issue with my movements. I then used the same finished measurements for the same reason to grade back to a size S at the waist, and out to a M at the hips. If I had used the suggested measurements and graded to a size L for the bustline and waist, I would have ended with a much baggier look than I wanted for this fabric. For the raglan sleeve, I cut a size small everywhere except graded to M for the portion that would go below my arms.
I did do a full muslin, which was quick, but the fabric I chose was a leftover knit, and had less stretch. It did give me the opportunity to check the shoulder and bust fit, and try the neckline. I had not previously had success putting in a neckline in the round, but am pleased it worked out. Ultimately, my daughter took the muslin top away from me because she loved the baggy look on herself with leggings, and the floral print. Of course I didn’t get pictures.
The next step was to use the fun Halloween fabric, and even though I had previously ready reviews that said it did not have much recovery, and it was difficult to work with, once I got the differential feed adjusted properly on my serger, it went together perfectly.
I have started washing my knits after sewing, before the first official wear, and think it does a great job getting those little wavy seams (like where I attached the band) to lay better.
As with any raglan on a large-busted frame, there is of course extra fabric above the bust, but I think by using the pivot-and-slide/grading FBA method like this, it has minimized it. I got so many compliments on this top, and it is a fun print. The fabric does glow, even after a couple of washings, as long as it is allowed to “charge” in direct sunlight. We shall see how it does for Halloween 2020, and I am not looking around to see what other fabrics in my stash are calling out to be made into a Paxson!
Here is the official review that I will be posting on Pattern Review:
Paxson is a unisex pullover, and has a crew neck, waistband, and cuffed raglan sleeves. There are optional elbow patches that can be made in leather, felt, or a woven fabric, which I did not do.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes, even though I am much larger-busted than the model.
Size cut: XS neck, graded to S shoulder, graded to M bustline, graded to S waist, graded to M hips.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
I did not have any problems understanding what was to be done.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like how easy it was to grade between sizes, and how well that turned out. After my failure using the Seamwork Akita pattern years ago, I was very nervous that this would not be drafted in a way that making the FBA changes I need would work out. I do wonder about how the length will work on a man, as using my husband as a comparison, his torso is much more proportionally long than mine (even when you account for the extra length I need in the bust area). I feel it may be too short to be comfortable.
97% Cotton, 3% Spandex knit from Joann Doodles line, glows in the dark
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
Pivot-and-slide FBA to accommodate my larger cup size (see sized used for how I graded).
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, and yes!
I really like this pattern, and am looking forward to sewing more for myself, and maybe my pre-teen daughter as well.
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