Thursday, October 1, 2009

Self Drafted - Ivan Grundahl Stripe Experiment

I love stripes. I love sewing with stripes — how they can morph in 3D and really change the look of a garment, depending on how they are cut and used. When I saw this fun Ivan Grundahl top on an upscale website for $245, I was intrigued. I could immediately see the pattern piece in my mind that would yield this effect. On the left side of the garment, the side seam is virtually parallel to the fabric grain - a very traditional layout. But on the right side of the garment, the side seam is perpendicular to the grain of the fabric. Therefore the side seams would be about 90 degrees in relation to each other, instead of parallel.

My instinct was that a top like this would look horrible on me, but I was intrigued anyway. I came across some very nice, soft, cotton interlock for $2 a yard, so I bought three yards (60" or thereabouts) and I whipped up this top. Mine was yellow and white because that was the only choice available, but I prefer the black and white of the original.

I basically took a tank top that fit me at the neck/arm, and I laid it against the pattern paper. Starting at the center front, I traced about an inch of the neckline, pivoted the garment away from the front, traced another inch, pivoted the garment further, traced another inch, and so on. I ended the pivot&trace when the side seam was about 90 degrees (roughly) from the CF. I then traced the armhole.

The resulting pattern piece looked similar to this:

I bound the neck and armhole edges with the same fabric, positioning it so that only the yellow showed. And, yes, this looks ATROCIOUS on me. It emphasizes that which needs no emphasis and totally hides my better features. My daughter told me it looked like a maternity top on me. Therefore, all you get to see is the hanger version:

Now, I could give this away to a tall willowly, small chested sort, who could actually look good in it, but, instead, I think I will use it as a cheerful sleep shirt. For now. Hey, it only cost me about $7, so it was worth the experiment. ;)


  1. Well, I for one LOVE it. You learned something (OK, probably a few things...!), and you have something to sleep in. Sounds like a hella deal for $7. :-)

  2. Very cool. Have you tried belting it? It should add some definition to the shape, hopefully in a good way. Thank you for sharing your draft.

    Rose in SV

  3. Thanks, Christine and Rose! Rose, have you seen me? lol I have no waist to belt. hehe

    I am wearing this swishy top around the house and I think it's great for that purpose. I matched the stripes, on both sides, so it was a fun exercise.

  4. I love that you are not afraid to experiment. This is a very valuable lesson, and maybe in the future, you will use the same type of layout for something else. A skirt, perhaps. I think it's wonderful you tried it.

  5. Gwen, you are reading my mind! I was thinking that exact thing -- this might be an interesting skirt. lol

  6. You did a super job of copying the original. Not many sewers are aware of Ivan G's interesting styles. I'm a straight up and down figure so I might have to try this. What about lengthening it to a tunic length or dress?

  7. Thanks, Terri. This actually is a tunic length as I can wear it as a short nightgown. For me, it's really a bad design line. The proportions are all wrong for me. But, still, I enjoyed playing with the stripes. :)

    I love Ivan G. So many cool designers doing interesting things out there. I was inspiration shopping on Saturday (after PenWAG) and saw some beautiful pieces by an unfamiliar (to me) company called Niche.