Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Karen Kane Knockoff
The Karen Kane Shirt
The Knockoff

I purchased a beautiful silk print peasant style top for the Christmas holidays that I just love and get compliments every time I wear it. It's a very popular silhouette that works well for me. The top is by Karen Kane who makes beautiful upper moderately priced clothing in updated to modern looks. 

Since the style is so generic it lends itself to many variations, so I have decided to recreate it into a pattern that I can use over and over again. The style is a rather simple one with no intricate details so copying it should be easy to do. I will need to create just three pattern pieces - a front, back and sleeve. The tricky part will be adding the extra fullness needed at the neckline and sleeve hems to accommodateg some gathering.   

My approach will be to do a rub-off of the shirt. I've read several articles about this approach but have never actually done it before. Seems simple enough. Fellow blogger Picknstitch recently posted a very helpful tutorial on the subject that I intend to follow.  

To do the rub off I laid some large fluffy towels over my worktable. I covered the towels with some drafting paper I purchased at IKEA. Its cheap, $4.00 a roll that comes in 24 inch widths, just right for making pattern alterations or creating patterns as I am doing now.

Garment layered over paper and towels
I then carefully placed the Karen Kane top, inside out,  atop the paper smoothing out any wrinkles. I pinned the top to the paper to preventing it from shifting while I worked. Then with the sharp tip of a pencil or straight pin I traced the seam lines by poking through the paper. Once all the poking is done, I remove the shirt and slid the paper off the towels. I then drew the seam lines with ruler and pen following the poked pin marks. I did this for the front, back and sleeve, thus creating the three pieces I need to make the copy cat shirt.

Poke the seam lines to create the shape of the pattern     
Marking the center front

The finished front pattern piece

All in all the process worked great. My only dilemma was adding the proper amount of fullness to the top to address the gathers. Since the Karen Kane top doesn't appear to have an inordinate amount of gathering I added 50% of the measure of the neckline for the gathering. I did the same for the gathers at the sleeve hem. Both seemed to do the trick.

I have other renditions of this top on the docket. The next one will have 3/4 length sleeves as I want it to be more of a spring to summer top. I also plan to use the blouse fabric as the bias trim around the neckline and will add a narrow placket to the front with small buttons making it just different enough to add variety to my wardrobe. I'll post that one when it's done.