Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Itch to Stitch Orono: Sewing Winter Layers

I love getting to work on a pattern that has lots of new concepts for me. These "sewing firsts" are really how I learned to sew. I learned the basics of sewing as an early teenager from my stepmom, but I did not really make it a hobby until I was pregnant with my second daughter over 8 years ago. I really had no idea where to start so I would just pick a project I wanted to make and learn everything I needed to make that project. Well, I have been doing that for 8 years now, and it has turned me into a confident seamstress who is always ready for a new challenge. 

I recently signed up to test the latest pattern by Itch to Stitch - the Orono Top. This pattern is designed as a winter layering piece or a cozy sweatshirt. I am so glad to share the top I made in testing and my thoughts on this pattern today! This was definitely not a challenging top to sew, but I was surprised to see that I still had a few "sewing firsts" when making it that made sewing the top really fun. 


Let's start with my fabric thoughts on this top. I used a thick and cozy organic bamboo fleece for my top. I have a lot of this stuff laying around, and it was actually one of the few fabrics in my stash that met the stretch requirements for the pattern. The pattern requires fabric to have 15-30% stretch. I have lots of french terries, sweatshirt fleeces, and other cozy winter fabrics, but every fabric I tested from my stash was over the stretch requirements. This fabric has no spandex and the stretch came out to 25% horizontally and none vertically. If you use a fabric with more stretch, you will need to possibly size down. 

The entire time I was sewing this top, I kept thinking it was going to be way too heavy and thick to be worn indoors because of how heavy this fleece felt. After it was done, though, I did not want to take it off. It was so warm and cozy! I have already worn it several times since. I was glad it worked and also glad that it was white. I have noticed my white tops get worn a lot because they go with so many of my pants and fun leggings. 

Sewing Firsts 

This top is really not that complicated or a long sewing project, but I was so surprised to see that I still had some new "sewing firsts!" I have never constructed a welt pocket on the seam. It was really fun and easy to do and made me wish I had more pockets designed like this! I now want to adapt this fun method to every top I think it would be suitable for! I just can't tell you enough how amazing these pockets were to sew and are to wear!

The next sewing first that I had is sewing a raglan sleeve after sewing the side seam. I know this is very minor, but I have never made a raglan that was constructed like this. I know that it was done this way due to the pocket construction, and it was just another fun feature. 

Big Head Problems

So... I must have a big head for my size! I made a size 0 and graded to a 2 at the hips. BUT this collar was not going on over my head, even with my fabric being at the top end of the stretch requirements for the pattern. I am glad I tried it on before attaching it (seam ripper avoided!). So, I started over. I took the collar piece, shortened it an inch in height and add an inch to the width. Even with the added full inch, it was not comfortable going over my head. I didn't want to widen it more because I didn't want to change the design of the shirt and knew that a wider collar was not the intended look. I kept it with just the added inch and attached it. Thankfully, I don't take my shirt on and off all day (except when I am sewing and need to try on a lot). I have mine folded down in these photos and that is how I plan to wear it. 

Does it have breastfeeding access? 

The next question that I have seen from several people is asking if you can breastfeed in this top. I think the image of a tulip style front reminds people of the tulip style breastfeeding tops. My opinion is that this is not a top specifically for breastfeeding. Yes, you can definitely breastfeed in it, but you are lifting up both petals just like you would any other top that you lift up from the bottom. This is because the petals are attached at the raglan seam and will be pushed up over the breast. In a traditional tulip style nursing top, the petals are attached partly through the shoulder seam and not at the armscye so that you can push it over and have free access of the breast. Having said all that - I am definitely nursing in this top because I have a nursing baby, but it is not the most convenient nursing access in my opinion. 

I am so glad that I made this top. I have been dreaming of Spring and already making lots of Spring items, but the weather outside has not cooperated with my dreams. I am glad I am staying warm in this sweatshirt and love its beautiful design!

  1. You can purchase the Orono Top pattern HERE
  2. The fabric I used is Organic Bamboo Fleece from Simplifi Fabric
  3. My pants are the SOS Pants that I blogged about HERE.
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Disclosures: I received this pattern for free as part of the testing process to give the designer feedback about the instructions and fit of the pattern. This post also may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small compensation when you purchase via my link. There is no cost to you.  Any and all opinions expressed are my own.