Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Up-cycle with Sis Boom, plus a Cathy/Marlo hack tutorial bonus!

I"m so excited to be blogging this week! I have been working on my new sewing space during the last couple of weeks, so I have not been sewing much. I was looking for something to jump start my motivation when I found Sis Boom's Upcycle Challenge blog tour! Sewing, upcycling and blogging all in one. What's not to love?
For the challenge, I wanted to do a pattern I hadn't sewn up before. So I chose the Cathy. And since I love hacking patterns, I decided to add a cute hack and include a tutorial. Note: This hack is done with the Cathy girls pattern also using the Sally girl's pattern, but can be done with the Marlo women's pattern also using the Angie women's pattern.
I've been seeing tops with a circle yoke everywhere, and thought the Cathy would be perfect to hack into one.
Let's begin with the before shot of the maternity shirt from my box of maternity clothes that I doubt I'll ever use again. (Please excuse the poor photo, I neglected to check the photo thoroughly before cutting into it.)
The fabric is a stable knit, with a pretty border print. I love the fabric, and although I could wear it as a non maternity top, I really disliked the fit. When this challenge came up it was the first top that came to mind. I had to do some piecing for the inner yoke pieces, but you don't see them anyway.

 The crop top part was total miscalculation, but they're so in right now, so it ended up being a win!
I love that I was able to use the Sally pattern to save myself all the hassle of drafting a yoke from scratch. Although the tutorial seems lengthy, it actually took me less than an hour to sew up the top, not including the muslin, which was only necessary for tutorial purposes.

Before I begin the tutorial, I should say that all the tutorial photos are done with the muslin, and I wasn't particular with stitching, pressing, or finishing seams. The muslin just photographed much better than black fabric and black thread.
 So for this top, I wanted a circle yoke, with a center gather on the front and back. The first thing I did, was grab the Sis Boom Sally front bodice piece. I used this to create my circle yoke by measuring the strap width, and continuing that width down along the neckline as shown in the following pictures.

This created my yoke pattern piece. I made sure to mark where it should line up with the fold, so as to not get mixed up with which side was the center front and which was the shoulder seam.
Cut out four yoke pieces. Be sure to baste the shoulder seams of two yoke pieces together and fit over model's head to make sure you'll be able to get the top on.

This next step is important. I print up the Cathy and tape together. DO NOT select the length at this time, as the pattern piece will get modified. (I did, and got a crop top. But you should wait.)
Since the top of the Cathy bodice piece lines up with the neckline originally, and now you want it to line up with the bottom of the yoke, remove the width measurement of the yoke from the top of the bodice piece, as shown. In my case (size 7) it was 2.5 inches. Then select the length from available cutting lines, but either add the 2.5 inches onto desired finished length, or choose a slightly longer finished length than what you want. Cut out two from your fabric.

This part requires a little playing around, but here's what I did. I pinned out some of the width in the center front causing a pleat. Then I laid the yoke on my daughter, and lined up the bodice against it, slightly overlapping to include seam allowance. This allowed me to see how the coverage was. If I wasn't satisfied, I moved the pin until I was.

Lay the bodice down, with pleat still in place and measure along the top of the bodice. Mine was 10 inches. You'll want to gather the top of the bodice until it reaches this measurement. I chose to gather only the center of the bodice, but you can gather along the entire length if you want. As long as the measurement after gathering is the same. A pleat or a couple of pleats would also work.

Once you've got your four yoke pieces cut out, your two bodice pieces cut out, and your gathering or pleating finished, you can proceed to follow the pattern steps on pages 10, 11 and 12.

Once you're done those steps, take one of the yoke pieces, and place it upside down, right sides together on the bodice piece.

Beginning in the center, pin the yoke to the bodice working your way out on each side. (Similar to pining in a sleeve.) Sew it in place and clip curves. Repeat for the back. Press seams.

Turn the top inside out, place shoulder seams right sides together and sew. Finish seams and press.

Take the other two yoke pieces and sew them together at the shoulder seams, right sides together. Finish and press seams.

Lay the top down right side out so that the circle yoke is spread out. Lay the other circle yoke down on top of it, right side down, so that right sides are together.

Sew along the inner neckline. Clip the curves, turn to the inside and press.

The next part is a bit tricky. You have to go along the entire outside of the folding under the yoke edge and pinning. On the shoulders you'll be folding in both inside and outside yoke layers, while along the bodice you'll only be folding under the inside yoke edge, and pinning, making sure to cover the outer yoke/bodice seam. Once it's all pinned, edge stitch along the entire outside of the yoke edge to enclose all seams and raw edges.

Finally, all you have to do is hem and you're done!

With the cost of knits being so high in Canada, upcycling is definitely worth it when sewing for the kiddos. I just can't justify spending so much on an article of clothing that they will outgrow as quickly as they do. Especially if you're stuck sewing on a petty small budget.

Remember, you can follow me on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook using the social media icons in the top and bottom left hand corners of my blog. Also my Pinterest Board with all my creations can be found in the bar along the right hand side. I love to hear from my readers, so please leave your comments and questions down below! Thanks for stopping in!


  1. This turned out super cute! Wish I would have kept all my maternity clothes now ;)

    1. Thanks! I think I'll be going through my husband's closet next, or some thrift shops.