Finished projects

A Seamwork Akita

Maybe I’m slow. Maybe I’m still fine-tuning my craft. Maybe “One Blouse, One Piece, One Hour” doesn’t apply to all.

It took me way more than the recommended one hour to complete the Akita Top by Seamwork Magazine.

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Please don’t judge me by the terrible hem!

It’s simple enough, so what’s up with me? I’ll just direct the blame to my lovely yet pain in the @$$ fabric. That’s a good scapegoat, right? Totally not my fault, right?

I found a couple of yards of this mystery fabric in a bin underneath a table at SAS Fabrics in Tucson. Every time I shop for fabric, I tell myself I need to buy more solids. This fabric is “solid” enough and even has a cool dotted texture.

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So feminine!

But don’t let the prettiness fool you, folks. This was a beast to work with. I think there’s a good amount of polyester in it, so that could be an issue. It didn’t press well at all and my machine kept wanting to eat it. I changed my needles twice to make sure that wasn’t the problem. Nope, the problem was just the fabric.

I even made my own bias tape for this. It’s only needed for the neckband (as seen above) and I didn’t want to use store-bought bias tape since that’s too thick for such a lightweight fabric. But my self-made bias tape came with its own issues.

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I chose to make the tiniest strip of bias tape I could, which is always a great idea for a difficult-to-press fabric. After fighting with the strips and my iron, I finally broke down and used a spray fabric stabilizer to get crisp folds. Thank goodness it worked!

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I used Colette’s tutorial on how to make continuous bias tape and it was extremely helpful. You only need a 10 inch x 10 inch piece of fabric to make a loooooong piece of bias tape. The only issue is you’ll have lots of joined seams, so I think it would really only work well for bias tape that isn’t visible from the outside of the garment. I had issues with the seamed sections because the fabric didn’t want to cooperate with all that seam allowance being in the way (a measly 1/4 inch) so they didn’t keep a fold well. I managed, though, as you can see from the neckline above. Not perfect, but not too shabby, either!

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Akita has only one pattern piece that you cut on the fold, so it’s great for people who HATE cutting fabric. I used to be one of those people, but I’m finding the longer I sew, the more enjoyment I get out of all parts of the process.

Since it’s only one pattern piece, all that needs to be sewn are the darts, side seams, hemming the armholes and bottom, and finishing the neckline. All of that should only take an hour, right? RIGHT?

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This is my sad attempt at the hem. And… wait… it’s a high-low hem? That’s not the way the pattern was drafted! I honestly don’t know what I did as I lined up the pattern markings just right, but I’m liking the extra booty coverage. So a fail turned into a win here!

For the hem, I sewed a straight stitch 1/8 in or 1/4 inch from the edge (I forgot which it was), then turned that under and pressed along the stitch line. Then I turned the fabric again and stitched again. The fabric puckered when I stitched that first line, so all fingers are pointing to the fabric and not my skills. No siree Bob.

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But even after all of that drama constructing the Akita, I find it works out well enough, especially if I tuck in that God-awful ripply hem.

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I graded from a size 4 on top to a 10 at the bottom. Can’t help those curves, y’all. It seems to have worked just fine and I can get this top on and off with minimal contorting.

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I seem to be having a theme with making tops that are too see-through to be worn as-is. This is another one that requires a light-colored tank top underneath. Maybe my next project should be an army of white tanks…

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Pensive about a whole army of little white tanks… I mean tank tops!

At first I was worried that this top would be too unflattering to wear, but I’m glad to see that it’s not too shabby tucked into a cute skirt! My skirt is from Anthropologie, by the way. I got it on sale, of course. Their regular-priced items are way too expensive for me – even with working all of the overtime I have been lately! But I always get compliments when I wear it at work. I just hope my Akita top does it justice.

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Running out of posing ideas = the “Is That a Spot on My Skirt?” pose

I’m lucky I was able to get these photos done when I did! I had my hair and makeup all set and I heard huge gusts of wind and drizzling happening outside. The weather behaved for the 5 minutes I was posing on our balcony, so I’m happy it all worked out. I think I like this setting for blog photos. I mean, you can’t beat that view!

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Looking out over my kingdom… errr… I mean the Catalina Mountains…

Well, that’s about all I have for my first Akita Top. After all the grumbling and headaches over the fabric, I think it turned out a-OK. Time for a victory dance!

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But maybe next time I’ll choose my fabric more wisely…

-RED

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18 thoughts on “A Seamwork Akita

  1. Nobody will notice they hem, I’ve seen similar on RTW clothes…or at least that what I told myself regarding my last hem!

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    1. That’s relieving to hear! Come to think of it, I never really pay much attention to people’s hems, either. Maybe one day I’ll be brave and wear it un-tucked. By the way, LOVE the name of your blog!!!

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  2. Ahhh yes, the dangers of beautiful mystery fabric! x’D I applaud you for successfully getting bias tape out of that stuff without setting anything on fire!!

    The blouse is really cute the way you’ve styled it; it looks like it will coordinate very well with lots of different bottoms, which is always great to have in your closet. I wonder about the timelines for Seamwork patterns–do they mean sewing time only, or cut/prep/sew/press time, or what?? I’m not even sure I could sew this top in an hour if we don’t count cutting out: you’ve got to get the neckline bound and measure and set the hems, and then there’s seam finishes to consider, not to mention my tendency to get distracted by fluffy kitties and snacks and TV while working… 😉

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    1. Thank you, I’m happy to finally have a solid in the mix! I want more Akitas but might make the top a size 6 instead of 4 because my man shoulders sometimes pull the fabric. There’s a new way to finish and sew the side seams so I wonder if that will cut down on time. BUT YES the Seamwork timelines always seem off. I’m currently working on a Catarina that is basically taking me 3 hours alone to do the stupid elastic waistband. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong but it’s stretching out and staying stretched out. I’ll check after work and try to steam the elastic to see if it shrinks but WTF. NEVER had this issue on my Monetas! Am I digressing in my sewing abilities? Wah!

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  3. I feel you – I swear I can never sew as fast as patterns say it should take. Although, for you, I think it’s definitely the mystery fabric’s fault and needing to make the bias tape. The fabric is pretty though those cute little dots! And the top looks great styled 🙂

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    1. I’m curious to see how it goes in another fabric for sure. I’m also wondering if I’ll end up with another high-low hem. I’m still scratching my head over how that happened. But this is looking like it’s a “fail” gone right – I’ll at least get a lot of wear out of it. 🙂 Now I just need to work on my me-made skirt collection.

      Thanks for the encouragement! 🙂

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  4. The top is adorable. I’m pretty partial to all things pink though. I hear you about picking fabric that is too thin and you need to have something underneath. I’m working with some chiffon that pissed me off a good one. I ended up buying fabric to sew in as a lining. Haven’t touched it yet though. I need to quit with difficult/fussy stuff. My blog is feeling empty! I think I might be better off just sewing and let someone else pick my fabric! lol

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    1. Chiffon is crazy! But those floaty, sheer fabrics are always so beautiful we just can’t help buying them. Sounds like you need a palate cleanser. I see more Sorbettos in your future!

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  5. I think this fabric is called Swiss dot. Thanks for this review. I am skeptical about the Akita top, so it’s good to see an honest take on it. I have seen a few Seamwork patterns, and they usually take about the time allotted, or a little less. But I haven’t found much to love.

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    1. Ah, Swiss dot! That makes sense. 🙂 I’d like to make the Akita again in an easier fabric to sew and see if I have the same issue with the uneven hem. Overall, I’ve liked the Seamwork patterns I’ve made but a few do require some adjusting.

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  6. Thank you for taking photos of this as you went along. I am a very beginner sewer and I was so confused about the bias binding (because I had only bought double fold bias tape). Your photos helped a lot.

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