Last week I sewed the new Nittany Top by Itch to Stitch Patterns. This is a very loose fitting top with pleats at the neckline, and an optional keyhole. (I sewed the version without a keyhole.) I love that this pattern has cup sizes A-D, and the larger sizes have a DD cup size. There is an optional sash you can wear to give you a ‘waist’. This pattern is on sale through June 7th.
I had a hard time deciding what fabric to use. Since I was pattern testing, I didn’t have any examples of fabrics others’ had sewn. It’s best to choose fabric that holds a press well, but that also has some drape. I chose a rayon crinkle woven from Joanns’. It was white, so I needed to dye it next.
Dyeing Rayon with Rit Dye
Since the fabric is 100% rayon, it lends itself to being dyed with regular RIT dye. I found this incredible blog post detailing recipes for mixing different colors of RIT dye. I am a person that is very picky about color and I love unusual shades of pinks, purples and blues that you can’t easily find in a bottle of fabric dye.
I used Petal Pink and Purple Rit All Purpose Dye. This will dye natural fibers like cotton, linen, silk, wool and rayon, as well as nylon. I used about 5 parts Petal Pink and 1 part Purple dye.
The blog post had a recipe for mixing a color that she coined ‘bodacious’, which is a mix of the petal pink and purple dyes. I decided to use 5 parts petal pink and 1 part purple. I used our pressure canning pot (not with the lid, obviously) and stirred my fabric in the dye solution for about 40 minutes. Then, I gently rinsed the fabric in cold water for what seemed an eternity. (You’ll see a towel in the picture below. I decided to give a few stained towels and old washcloths new life with some pinky/purple pizazz!)
Next, I washed the fabric 3x in the washing machine. When the fabric came out of the wash, it was much lighter than before. It was also strange, because it seems more of the pink left the fabric and so I am left with a light lavender color with a twinge of pink. Despite it being different than I intended, I really love the color.
Next time I am going to use the Rit ColorStay Dye Fixative because that should help my fabric hold more of the color instead of washing out..
Adjustments to the Pattern
I removed 2 5/8″ length from this pattern. This is more length than I normally remove from one of Kennis’s knit patterns. The Nittany Top is really long, though, and I am short in the torso and from crotch to waist. I think I might remove even more length next time. The intended fit is really long but I don’t think it suits my petite frame. Wearing this top with the belt (if I get around to making it) would help pull the edge of the blouse up.
I also did a 1/2″ narrow shoulder adjustment. I didn’t make changes to the bust. I could have moved the bust dart up, but decided to leave as is. I think it looks fine without that change.
Sewing the pleats is really the only tricky part of the pattern. It requires you to be slow and methodical. Because of the attention to detail required in these steps, I do think this is an intermediate level pattern.
I really like the way this top turned out and can see myself wearing it to church or when I teach sewing classes. I am not typically a person who wears oversized shirts, so I think next time I sew this I will size down one size. The shirt comes a bit low in my armpit and is very loose across the bust, so I know a size smaller won’t be too small.
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