Sewing and the Trivium

Learning to Create

Join me as I use the tools of learning to delve into the world of needlecraft.

 
  • Jenni Beth

Rebecca Page Bralette and Tank Top

I recently got to sew up Rebecca Page's new Women's Bralette and Tank. This is a great pattern with a lot of options: a crop top or basic lined bralette with a sports bra band or exposed elastic band, a tank with a gathered/ruched side seam (this options works great for a maternity or non-maternity tank), and a tank with a pleated "skirt". All choices have an optional pocket in back for a cell phone, which is amazing.

The Grammar

Ruching Detail - Ruching is used to gather and create volume, texture and interest to a garment. It is created by gathering a piece of fabric that is longer than the fabric that it is sewn to, causing it to "bunch up" in a particular area of a garment. I have seen it frequently used on the side-seams of maternity tops to allow more room for a pregnant belly, but it can also be used on non-maternity tops to add fun detailing.


Exposed Elastic - Exposed elastic is sometimes used as an alternative to an elastic casing or folded over sewn-in elastic. It is often used in the RTW waistbands for pajamas and boxers, and it is super-easy to put in. You just have to sew the soft elastic together with a zigzag stitch and then serge it on (remember to disengage the knife on the serger so you don't cut the elastic!)

Techsheen - techsheen is an antimicrobial nylon/spandex 4-way stretch fabric used in athletic wear to wick moisture away from the body. As such, it is often used in linings for bralettes, activewear, and swimwear. It gives support to the garment while remaining breathable. I got mine from Phee Fabrics, and used it in both of the garments that I made.


The Logic - Putting it all together

I needed to adjust this pattern (and realistically every other pattern I make for myself) for height. I am 5'3.5", and most RP patterns are drafted for someone who is 5'6". On this one, I took off 1.25" from underneath the armscye (as instructed in the tutorial) to reduce height and didn't change the height of the skirt at all. This brought the band of the bodice (bra) portion right where I prefer it to be and still gave me enough length to cover the top of my pants.

My first sew was the bralette version with a band made from white techsheen with 1" elastic inside. I took a little wider seam allowance on the side seams of te bra, because I wanted a little more support than the pattern was designed for. (I wanted to be able to wear it without another bra underneath for working out).


I paired the bralette with underwear from RP's Bianca Underwear pattern. I didn't change the basic shape at all, but I added bands to the top and legs out of the same techsheen that I lined the bra with. The underwear doesn't have any elastic in the bands...just the techsheen. To make the bands, I measured the finished opening and made them 90% of the length of the opening. The waistband was 3" wide, and the leg bands were 2" wide. I also lengthened the front of the gusset liner in the undies, serged the edge, and left it lying on top of the sewn front gusset seam.

Overall, I really like this bralette and tank. My makes are super-comfy, and I have worn them so frequently since I finished them. Plus with the licensed star wars fabric from JoAnns, I can match my (predominantly boy) family! And it is amazing to have a pocket in the back of my tank when I am wearing leggings, or something else without a place for my phone to go :)


This post contains various affiliate links. Purchasing patterns using these links does not cost my readers more, but the designer does provide me with a small commission from any sales. The commission helps to fund my fabric costs, and is very appreciated.

 

My Favorite Designers and Fabric Stores

Disclosure: I am an affiliate and promoter for these two designers, and I will make a small amount of money if you make a purchase after clicking on my link. The cost to you will not change. These are designers whose patterns I love, and that I would sew up for myself whether I was an affiliate or not. The fabric stores are just ones that I love. I do not earn any money if you purchase from them :)

 
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Why "Sewing and the Trivium"

The Story

Classical educators like to divide education into developmental stages called the Trivium. These are called "Grammar," "Logic," and "Rhetoric." Grammar refers to the first steps of learning anything: learning the vocabulary of the subject being studied and memorizing facts about that vocabulary. Classically speaking, this corresponds to the elementary years of learning - years when students never seem to grow tired of astounding the adults around them with fact after fact about things they are interested in. Have you experienced talking to a six year old who is really into dinosaurs? enough said...

Adults also begin learning with the grammar of a subject. Each subject has its own unique terminology and facts that need to be mastered before one can explore the more complicated applications of that subject. Sewing is no different. What is a french seam? What kinds of knit fabrics are better for different applications? What is a dolman sleeve or a raglan top? These are grammar queries.

In classical education, logic refers to the action of logically processing the grammar facts students have learned, or are learning. The student who is particularly suited to this type of thought is the middle-school scholar - the student who wants to argue his or her way through the world and "be right" about all the things. This pattern of thought includes bringing different ideas together, comparing and contrasting them, analyzing what an authority figure says about an argument, and deciding whether different arguments are consistent with each other. In the sewing world, logical questions include things like, "How is knit fabric different than woven fabric?" and "Why does this pattern ask for a particular fabric type?" as well as tasks such as mashing two patterns together or changing the sleeve/length/placket from how the pattern was designed.

The final part of the classical trivium, rhetoric, is when a student makes an argument of his or her own by developing a "thesis" or main point and then laying it out for someone else in writing or speech. Typically, students are ready for formal rhetoric in their high school years - years that they are very concerned about what they look like to other people and gain an interest in learning to craft a message in a way that will be most effective for their purposes. Examples of rhetoric in sewing would be fully-formed tutorials or sew-alongs - or even the writing of a blog post itself. Anything that is explaining previously thought-out/tried-out projects can count as rhetoric. 

My goal on this blog is to lay out my sews and thoughts using this framework. And that is why I chose this title.

 

"Blessed is the man...whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does he prospers"

Psalm 1: 2-3

Tree Leaves
 

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