Finished - the Pinnacle Top....
Hello Friends. I’m not going to dwell on the very strange times we find ourselves in thanks to Covid-19. To say it’s a shitty time is, of course, an understatement of global proportions. For many it’s all consuming at the moment. Fortunately for my family and I it is not. I’ve had the time, headspace and resources to keep sewing. My stash is deep, my body is cold and my queue is long. I'm delighted to have a hobby that is so homebased, mindful and rewarding.
It’s coming into Autumn now, and I need warm layers (and jeans!). I decided to pair up the Papercut Patterns Pinnacle Top/Sweater with some lovely lightweight fleecy cotton lycra purchased last winter from TheDrapery. It’s a muted navy, with some subtle colour flecks throughout. Despite the lycra it’s quite stable and doesn’t have much recovery, which wasn’t really an issue except for the bands.
This pattern is drafted for both wovens and knits, ostensibly. There are three versions – 2 for wovens, 1 for knits. The woven version has the neckline finished with bias binding or a facing (for the deep V option), the knit version finished with a neck binding, cuffs and a hem band.
There is much to say about this pattern. For the TLDR version I am most pleased with the outcome but not at all pleased with the user experience. If you ever plan to make this I’d read on. If not, admire the pretty pictures, the autumn leaves in my garden and fret not about crappy instructions, incorrect notches and questionable outcomes based on fabric choice…..
I went with a size medium, and am pleased with the fit. It’s loose and slouchy, perfect for an overlayer. When I tried it on before adding the bands I liked it, but would consider sewing the side seams at a slightly larger seam allowance if I was to make it in a woven. The length is perfect on me as drafted (I’m 178cm tall). Without the hem band it is of course a cropped length. There are instructions on the Papercut website giving advice on how to lengthen it.
The success of this design hinges on those beautiful triangles, intersecting with precision at the bustline. And they are precise. If you don’t stuff it up. If your fabric doesn’t stretch out. If you don’t give up in a miserable rage thinking that you’re a dunce and must have cut your fabric out incorrectly.
The first step. The very first step of all views is to connect one side of the bottom triangle to one side of the body piece (the back, sleeve and front/side body piece is all one – it’s very cool). If you get this step right it’s smooth sailing as far as I’m concerned. The problem is the instructions just aren’t specific enough on how to get it right. You need absolutely precision. You might be ok if you’ve been a quilter. But a huge proportion of the 500+ sewists on Instagram and those who have blogged this top have not been ok. It’s not easy and it’s not intuitive. The instructions advise to use the notches to help line up the pieces. One notch is helpful (the top notch). The other is not. The lower notches do not match, at least on my PDF version of the pattern.
I hope that the pics of both my actual fabric plus the pattern pieces are helpful in clarifying how the pieces need to be positioned. The seamlines need to match. This means at the top of the triangle it needs to be exactly 1cm (the seam allowance) from the edge of the body piece, and at the bottom of the triangle it needs to overhang the body piece, also by 1cm exactly.
I’m sorry about the average photos. I was taking them at night, not expecting to have to document my process. Once I got this worked out (unpicking the damn thing several times) it genuinely was very easy from here on. I still basted everything to make sure it all matched up before stitching but the rest of the triangulation all fell into place once I had that first piece in the right spot.
Fortunately my fabric, being a knit, did not stretch out. Remember this pattern is meant to be for wovens as well as knits. And those triangles are cut on the bias. So if you’re stitching, unpicking, restitching and overhandling your pieces you run the risk of them stretching out. There are absolutely zero recommendations on handling pieces cut on the bias in the instructions. Another reason to be getting those triangles right first time. I don’t doubt there were many versions of this top that turned out less than perfect due to distortion from overhandling. If I do make this in a woven I’ll be seriously considering using fusible stay tape at least on the lower triangle piece.
Once I had basted my triangles and had them perfectly aligned I was far too traumatised to risk unpicking them and overlocking/serging them. So they have been left raw as the fabric does not fray. I noticed that the instructions sometimes recommended finishing a seam and sometimes did not. In one step the instruction is given to finish the seam but no instruction to actually sewing it first! If you want your edges finished you need to finish each seam as you go. But I would still baste and double check all lines up first.
The rest I sewed on my overlocker without drama. I noticed, as Anna pointed out, that both the sleeves and the hemline are shaped for a turn back hem for the woven. This needs to be trimmed before the bands are attached in version 3 otherwise the seamline will flare (also not mentioned in the instructions). I did narrow the cuff pieces a little as the lack of recovery in my fabric made them a bit sloppy. I noticed that the front rode up before I added the hem band. This is very apparent in most of the woven versions I’ve seen online. I have no idea how to remedy this. The idea of contemplating an FBA on these pieces gives me hives. Perhaps more length at the front only would work, tapering to nothing at the side seams. I would also consider a woven bodice, and adding ribbing bands, similar to the Merchant and Mills Fielder Top.
To me it’s very clear that this pattern was not tested. These are obvious errors that should have been detected. They’re not the only pattern company to have average instructions, but errors on top of poor quality instructions are just not good enough. It appears that the company takes very little notice of reviews or comments by sewists – a lot of stress, time wasting and confusion would be alleviated if they at least did a tutorial on their blog/website. I emailed them a week ago and have had no acknowledgement. The poor attention to detail frustrates me and it will be a very long time before I consider purchasing another Papercut Pattern.
****edited 4/5/2020 - I've had a reply from Papercut regarding my complaint on these issues. Turns out they issued a new version of this pattern May 2019 AND January 2020. The first errata fixes the misleading instructions, incorrect notch and has the lower triangle redrafted. The second errata fixes the facing on another view. I was told I should have received the updated versions as I purchased mine as a PDF in November 2018. I did not receive the updates. Neither has many of those who have commented on my Instagram posts regarding my experience. The company has an errata page but does not publish notification of these errata on either their blog or Instagram feed. So if you purchased your PDF pattern before January this year you might want to contact them for an updated version. If you purchased a paper copy - who knows?! It seems we are all somehow just expected to know when they issue these errata.