It’s a “piece of cake”. Actually, it’s one of the recently introduced Cake patterns Riffs and I have just completed not one, but two of these delightful knit tops!
This design caught my eye when I saw Steph wearing a cute chevron-striped top on her blog. I was thrilled when it was released in pattern form!
Lets take a look.
The Cabarita is intended for intermediate to advanced sewers. There are minimal directions provided, so if you haven’t gotten your feet wet in working with knits, I would hold off a bit before trying this, but don’t wait too long!
In addition, the pattern features customizable fit options allowing you to trace your pattern size by connecting the markings on the pattern for your desired bust, waist and hip measurements. What could be easier?
For me, the key element in this design is choosing a striped fabric. I found both a navy stripe cotton jersey blend and a nautical cotton/spandex blend from Girl Charlee fabrics.
What to do next?
You’ve probably heard it before, but…pre-washing the fabric will allow the fabric to shrink , if it is going to, (no bad surprises later). And since most fabrics are treated with sizing (think hairspray) to make the fabric attractive, this can cause the needle to bounce off the fabric resulting in skipped stitches. (Not to mention the fact that this sizing flakes off into your machine, yuk!)
And speaking of the machine- a ballpoint needle. A ballpoint needle can slip through the loops of a knit where a regular machine needle might damage the knit or cause the needle to skip. (who needs that aggravation?)
Pattern Layout and Cutting
This is the part of sewing which is probably the “least thrilling” to most people. However, careful pattern layout leads to a fabulous outcome, so here we go!
Because I am working with a striped fabric, I cut it out in a single layer so that I could be sure to have my stripes matching. The pattern has markings showing you where to place your pattern pieces along the stripes (crosswise grain;stretch goes around the body). In addition, since some knits are created “in the round” and then split along one side, it is conceivable that a stripe could be on a downward spiral. Cutting on a single thickness keeps everything out in the open and you can see where your stripes are going.
I placed the front piece face-down on the fabric, cut around it, starting at the hem at the CF and ending at the neckline. Then, with a ruler and my Frixion pen drew a couple of guidelines at the neckline and hem along the CF to aid in lining-up the pattern for cutting the other half of the front.
When cutting out the back pieces on a single layer, remind yourself to flip the pattern piece over so you don’t end up with two of the same sides. Painter’s tape is a staple in my sewing room and it is a quick way to mark the wrong sides of fabric and pattern pieces and easily removed without leaving a trace (stealth sewing).
The pattern does not call for interfacing, but I chose to interface the collar with a fusible knit interfacing. After cooling, I trimmed the outside curve with pinking shears to eliminate bulk and to blur any shadow of the seam. I also under stitched this seam to the collar facing (the collar piece without the interfacing). It is not necessary to do this, but I lIke to keep the edge rolled underneath. It is usually difficult to get all the way into the corners of the collar, but that’s okay, whatever distance you achieve is fine.
Tips for under stitching:
Trim, grade, clip and then press your seam towards the garment facing. Place your garment on the machine so that the seam allowance is against the feed dogs and the facing is on the top.
Stitch about 1/8″ or so away from the seam onto the facing. If you have a stitch-in-the ditch or edge joining foot, it makes the job so much easier ;). Under stitching attaches your seam to the facing and the collar has a beautiful roll.
As recommend, I used the knit stitch on my machine for most of the seams and used my serger to finish them. I used the serger alone for the shoulder/sleeve seam, and rather than attach the sleeve band before sewing the under arm seam, I preferred to sew the band into a circle and then attach in-the-round. I think it looks better.
Top Stitching Tips
Lengthen your machine stitch to 3-3.5mm, and if you have a machine foot as above, you have it made!
Do you have partially filled bobbins hanging around? Of course you do. Now is your chance to recycle that thread! Set your machine to a basting stitch and baste your top along your desired hem depth. Press up along that line and you are all set to hem.
I used my coverstitch machine, but I didn’t always have one. Twin needle stitching can give the same visual appearance as RTW, so you can duplicate the look 🙂
What do I think?
I love the unique style of this top, and as a bonus, you can wear it with the collar in front or in back!
My best description of this top would be Classy Casual. It’s as comfortable as a T-shirt, but it certainly doesn’t look like one!