Saturday, May 23, 2009


Since I haven't explored a whole lot since I moved to the south, I took the 3 day weekend as an opportunity for a little trip. Chattanooga's only a little over 2 hours from here, so I thought it would be a great place for a day trip. I started at Ruby Falls, a touristy but beautiful spot about 1100 feet underground. Unfortunately, it's a guided tour that takes over an hour all together, having to stay with your group and all. Also, you only have about 5-10 minutes to enjoy the falls themselves, but all the rock formations on the walk there are interesting.

Ruby Falls

Some interesting lighting on the rocks underground

After I left Ruby Falls, I went over to Genuine Purl on the North Shore. At the yarn shop, I picked up some Koigu in a colorway I hadn't seen before. The shop itself was kind of boring, style-wise, but it's the only yarn shop in town. The staff was friendly and the selection was pretty good though.

The North Shore is a cute little area I'd like to explore more the next time I venture up there. There's a long pedestrian bridge that goes over the river that looks pretty cool and a park below it. On the North Shore are a bunch of cute little shops and restaurants close to the bridges. I ate at MudPie, a casual place with great food. On the other side of the river is the Tennessee Aquarium, which I'd like to visit even though Georgia now has a larger and better one here in Atlanta. The building looked super-modern from the outside so it's probably not too many years older than ours. Other than that, it didn't look like there was a whole lot to do on that side of the river (within walking distance). About a mile and a half down the street, though, is the Chattanooga Choo Choo. It's a Holiday Inn property that's a little more than just a hotel. You can sleep and/or eat in a train car, browse the various shops (which is what I did), take a train or horse ride, or walk through the beautiful gardens.

A statue at the Chattanooga Choo Choo Garden

The garden

One of the many types of roses in the garden

The night before I went to Chattanooga, I decided to work on a new top. I was originally going to use this fabric for Amy Butler's Cabo Halter. I started it last week and cut my fabric wrong, leaving too little for that particular top. So, I found a free tutorial for the Spring Ruffle Top online and used the fabric for that instead.

My finished Spring Ruffle Top

I liked this tutorial. It was pretty easy to follow and would have probably taken far less time if it hadn't been my first sewn garment. I think it took me about 4-5 hours all together. I made lots of mistakes, but I think it was good for a first effort. I even wore it to Chattanooga without it falling apart.

Modifications: I opted out of the ruffle, or even the trim as mentioned in a variation towards the end. So, for the straps, I just sewed the edges together and pressed them, turned them inside-out, and sewed them on so that the seam was in the back (instead of on the side how they would have been with the ruffle or trim). I also opted out of the pockets... cause who needs extra bulk at their hips anyway?

I did opt for the arm divots, as well as the waist shaping (1.5" on each side instead of 1"), both of which could be done earlier in the process instead of as an afterthought next time I make this. Also, the actual size of the front and back ended up far too big for me and I ended up taking it in a lot.

The pattern suggested for larger busts that the pleats not be sewn down, but instead sewn across the top. I took this advice (also because I think it looks better) and I think that worked out well.

The back ended up larger than the front after the pleats were made, so I ended up with some inadvertent gathering in back, which I would likely do deliberately next time (similar to front, but maybe only with 2-3 pleats instead of 6), or just cut the back smaller than the front. In addition, I'd likely make the back slightly shorter, as well as take up the center top a bit further. I am not sure how I would do this, or if the slight pleating on the back itself would help with the puckering. I knew something like this would be needed, similar to short-row shaping on the back of knit sweaters, but I didn't realize it until I saw how much it puckered. So, I ended up taking it up in the center-back in a somewhat wonky way (which is why I am not showing a picture of the back).

Close up of pleats

My favorite modification isn't really one. The tutorial doesn't specify any special way to hem the bottom, so I took advantage of a cute stitch on my sewing machine about an inch from the bottom.

Hem detail

Not too long ago I came home to a gecko at my door - at least I think it's a gecko - that's what a friend told me it was - I just thought it was a regular lizard if such a thing exists. He was crawling down one of the poles right outside my front door. I ran inside to get my camera and luckily, he was still there when I returned.

Doesn't he sort of look like the Geico gecko?


anunmaker said...

Did you go by yourself?? and the top looks great. The fact that you were able to actually wear your first sewn garment is very impressive!

laurie said...

Beautiful new top! You must wear it to show soon.

We have lots of those leezards in SC. The cats are going to love them when they get in the house.

Stickyfingers said...

Totally love the top! I like the pattern better than the halter, too. I may have to make one for me.

Good job!

Renee' said...

I love the top too! very impressive. wish i could have gone with you to those falls etc. looks beautiful!! miss you :-)

The Pattern Slave said...

top is very impressive!!

now make a suit for the gecko!