As we discussed in our Small Yardage Patterns episode of Sew and Tell, part of sewing your stash means putting your scraps to good use. I have accumulated lot of garment fabric scraps over the past few years. And because I’m incredibly consistent with my fabric selection (neutrals, black, ikats), my scraps tend to coordinate. I have been so inspired by creative scrap solutions during the quarantine period, especially because new fabric is hard to come by. In the spirit of sewing stash, I made my own pieced patchwork version of the Antero Shell with my scraps.
There are two main things to keep in mind when piecing scraps for clothing. First, the piecing technique will impact the drape of the finished garment, so boxy is best. Second, for best results, choose fabric scraps that have a similar weight and drape. Now, let’s get piecing!
Even though I wanted the finished product to feel freeform and artful, I knew I needed to go into the process with something of a plan. I had some fun and sketched out a bunch of options. After posting the image below to Instagram with a request for input, my two favorite designs rose to the top. Someone suggested I make them all, and friends, I’m sorely tempted!
After deciding the version I wanted to make (spoiler: I decided to make two!), I separated my scraps into piles. To decide which fabrics to use for which versions, I laid my scraps on my worktable in various arrangements. This is a total trial and error process — have fun while playing with fabric!
Patchwork Antero Shell Version 1
For the first version, version 2, I quickly mapped out the proportions for the panel width, since I wanted to keep things relatively symmetrical. The center panel for this sample is 15” and each side panel is roughly 5”, making up the full front panel width. I squared up my scraps first, then cut them to the needed dimensions.
On my serger, I pieced the side panels (in related but not identical ways) and stitched them to either side of the cut center panel. To manage the seams, I pressed the seams to the center panel and topstitched. I pressed the full panel exactly in half vertically, precisely matching up the seams of the center panel. Then I placed the pattern on the fold and cut the blouse front.
The piecing of the back was a bit more organic. I didn’t have a plan but I knew the rough dimensions I needed. Once the back and front are pieced and cut, follow the basic steps for blouse assembly.
Bonus Mini Hack: Cuffed Antero Shell
One note: I did add cuffs to this design. The process for that was very simple: I cut two 4”x17” strips, serged one long edge, and attached the raw edge to the side edges of the blouse after sewing the shoulder seams. After sewing up the side seams of the blouse, I pressed the cuff in half to the wrong side and stitched it in place.
Patchwork Antero Shell: Version 2
The other version I made was easier in some ways, since the design is split down the center front. I built each half of the blouse front individually, using the basic plan I had sketched.
Once the piecing was complete, I seamed the two halves together, pressed the seam to the darker side and topstitched the seam allowance in place. I pressed the panel in half along the seam, placed the blouse front pattern piece on the fold and cut the front.
Another Bonus Mini-Hack: Scoop Neck
For this blouse, I skipped the cuffs but changed the neckline to a simple scoop, using another woven tee pattern I had on hand. I pieced the back in the same freeform manner, then assembled the shirt, using bias binding on the neckline.
The process of piecing scraps is fulfilling in so many ways: you can create a one-of-kind garment, use fabric that would be otherwise taking up space and use your creative design skills in a new and different way. The Antero Shell Top is a perfect canvas for patchwork. Pick up the pattern or try the same technique with other boxy top or dress patterns in your pattern library!