Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Completed: Stepped Hem Lark Tee

I'm back again with another RTW inspired garment. I'll soon be known as the plagiarism Queen!

I stumbled on this jumper on the Whistles website recently and was intrigued by the description of Stepped Hem Knit. The pictures aren't that clear, but with a bit of zooming in, I was able to make out the stepped hem detail at the side.

I happened to have a similar stripe knit in the stash that I had already planned to make into another Lark Tee, so I decided to have a go at copying the hem. It's hard to see in the photo but if you can zoom in a bit, you'll see that there is actually a triangular shaped insert where the side seam should be, which is another detail I wanted to replicate.

Here is my version!

It wasn't too hard to hack the Lark to do this. Here's roughly what I did:

  • Straightened out the side seams, to remove the waist shaping.
  • Removed seam allowance from the side seams.
  • Butted the front and back pattern pieces up against each other at the side seam.
  • Drew a triangle, which I then traced.
  • Decided what length I wanted to make the front and back and also the stepped bit (i.e. the triangle).
  • Added seam allowance back on.
  • Cut the front and back pattern pieces to the new shape (minus the triangle shape)
To sew it together, I had to change the order of construction slightly:
  • I hemmed the triangular inserts first
  • I then stitched them to the front
  • Sewed shoulders
  • Sewed triangular inserts to back
  • Set the sleeves in as per a woven (this is because my underarm sleeve seam no longer matches either of my side seams, so I couldn't insert them flat
  • Hemmed neckline, front and back and sleeves
It came together pretty much as planned. I noticed a couple of "drafting" errors as I sewed it up, such as I forgot to take the SA off the armscye, so I don't have a nice point to my triangular insert underneath the arm. Hack and learn. 

Here is a photo which makes me look like a tube with no limbs, but shows the insert quite well. 
I raised the neckline by 1/2" after finding it too low last time. I like this and might even raise it by a further 1/4" next time, as I really like how it sat before I sewed the neckline. I accidentally sewed the whole thing using a 1/2" SA, instead of the given 3/8", but it hasn't had any negative impact. The sleeves are a little tighter than I was expecting, but I've managed to get away with it. The fabric stretches out a little with wear, so it's perfectly comfortable.

There is still something going on with the armscye on this pattern. I think it's too long/low for me. It looked fine on my star print version, but with this and my first (unblogged) version, it doesn't look right. I might play around with reducing this slightly in my next Lark, as it's stopping this from being my perfect tee pattern. 

It was all sewn on my sewing machine with a lightening bolt stitch, although I did baste all 4 side seams first to help with the stripe matching. It's not perfect, but it's liveable with. My sleeve stripes are slightly misaligned (i.e. the sleeves are not perfectly symmetrical), but I'm coping. I didn't finish the raw edges and hems and neckline are done with a triple stitch. I like the look of the twin needle, but I find that the threads quite often break. The triple stitch seems to be sturdier, albeit less pretty.

The fabric is from The Village Haberdashery and is the Interlock Stripe by C. Pauli in India Ink and Cloud Blue. It's currently out of stock, but they have lots of other colours in both stripes and solids. It's 100% organic cotton, so doesn't have any recovery but it's lovely and soft, nice to both wear and sew. I have used it previously for this t-shirt

I am almightily pleased with this. It worked as I had envisioned. The stepped hem isn't too dramatic, and it might be nice to do a more exaggerated version at some point, but it's a nice detail. I also really like the idea of a sweatshirt version and in a brighter colour (either in tee or sweatshirt format), the step hem would be more obvious.

True story - I sewed the bulk of this at Amy's house the other night, and I couldn't believe it when she said she didn't own a stripey t-shirt!!! Still, it maybe makes up for the fact that she can't believe I don't want a pet! :)

To prove that I really do like this, here is a photo where I am actually smiling, albeit very goofily!



  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Err had to remove previous comment due to typo!
    Such a great hack. Nice work on the stripe matching (nobody notices the sleeve stripe matching anyway!). I look forward to seeing some of the other variations that you mentioned too.
    Striped tops rock!

  3. I just commented on bloglovin not realising I wasn't on your blogsite. i'd be interested to know if you get that comment, as that would be a slightly quicker way to read an comment on my fave blogs!

    1. Not sure if you got my email, but no, I didn't get the other comment. Not even sure where to look tbh, there isn't anywhere obvious on Bloglovin.

  4. This looks brilliant Helen!! You're so good at imagining hacks, then working out how to make them! The neckline is lovely, I'll really need to give a higher neckline a go as the plantain, although I love it, is a bit low for winter without another layer on top. I can't wait to see what other versions you make with this, the stepped hem is lovely!

    1. Thanks Kathryn! Yes, I like a higher neckline, particularly in winter. You could probably just raise the neckline of the Plantain though, rather than buy another pattern!

    2. Yes I'm thinking of adapting the plantain, I'd like to try it as a roll neck too.

  5. Ooooh, this is gorgeous, I love a nice stripey top!

    1. Thanks Alison. My husband dared to suggest that I might have enough stripey tops now. I just laughed at him!

  6. Very cool top, that side detail is very pleasing. It's an interesting cut for a t shirt, having such a deep (as in sideways not up and down) armscye, I wonder if a slight shoulder extension into it and filling in the line would help? Not that anything is visible from looking at it! It looks great!

    1. Thanks Maryanne! There is definitely too much fabric going on around the armscye but I suspect this fabric has also bagged out a bit. I will need to play around with it, but it didn't occcur to me that it might be a sideways thing, and not an up and down thing!


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