Wednesday, 22 February 2017

My 3 Year blogiversary!

I can't believe it! I've reached my 3 year blogiversary! So I've been sewing now for nearly 4 years, come Easter, when I found my informal class with Lyn. I posted my first review on Pattern Review in July 2013, more a plea for help! The following are photos from PR, before I started my blog.
I think you can see why I needed help. This is an unfinished top - I wasn't happy with the dart and crossover position.
Never finished. Wrong fabric and I didn't know how to alter to fit. This was a Maggy London top
First finished item (Jalie). I still have this fabric but I gave the top away.

My first attempts at sewing were appalling. Lack of knowledge, lack of support and a wonky machine! I now have a better machine, support from tutors in class - and of course, my blog and PR, and some knowledge to let me try the things I want to.
I dared to enter this in a PR contest! I got a lot of help and advice. There was so much I didn't know that I didn't know I didn't know! I could make a nice shirt now. My machine can do things the last one couldn't eg eyelets to finish neckline!
Thank you
Thank you so much to all of you who read my musings. I particularly enjoy comments - and am happy to receive constructive criticism, hints,  tips etc on how to improve my sewing, my original focus. Please do carry on visiting my blog. I reread my first blog post and those who commented then are still with me - thank you! I enjoy reading others’ blogs too. I'm not quite into Instagram  - maybe because I have so little to show! Facebook, too - I have an account but rarely use it. Perhaps I should. But I love the greater interaction in a blog post.

What is a blog?
I started my blog as a personal log of my sewing, feeling that having it public would make me commit to it more  - I could never keep a diary. I had to put in a work log/process portfolio for my courses (which came from September 2014) so this helped. At the same time,  of course,  being public means that one has to be a bit more circumspect. I gradually expanded the subject matter from my beginning adventures in sewing and my course work to include family sewing. I struggled a bit with DH or name, photos or not. How much personal detail?

Most read posts
Until very recently, my most read blog posts were one on making a bodice block and dart manipulation from my first course, one on making a McCall's cardigan/ jacket, photo below, one on my first steps in the Seven Steps to Style programme and a post on Helen's wedding and dress. I say until recently. For some reason, the number of daily reads my blog gets has increased a lot since the end of last year and 3 of the previous 4 most read posts have fallen way behind in the stats. In general, posts on actual garments from patterns are the most read. Sadly, I feel that while numbers who read my posts have increased, comments have fallen off, though I believe that is a common finding. My most read post - the one detailing my best makes of 2106, including all the wedding finery. My most commented post (other than an early giveaway post) - Helen's wedding dress.

I still wear this. I'm planning to make another, but without the peplum this time. In navy

Not a great photo of the dress but it worked well in rather wild dancing!
The item I'm most proud of?
Helen's wedding dress, of course! I'm also pretty pleased with Anthony's waistcoat which he has worn to several weddings etc since and of the bridesmaid dresses.

Real life meet ups
Over the last 3 years, really in the last year, I have enjoyed meeting some fellow sewers in real life. In fact, I'm going to the Yorkshire Spoolettes Dewsbury meet up on Saturday coming. I went to last year's event and to the Sew Up North event. I briefly met Kate of Fabrickated in London. I have a fitting weekend coming up in March where I'll meet some more new friends.

Confidence and not buying RTW
Over the last 3 years,  I have become a more confident sewer. I'm happy to consider tackling anything. From a construction point of view that is! I'm still struggling with fit - I'm battling (again) with trousers at the moment,  though I have excellent help! I'm also struggling with making things I suit. In RTW you can try on,  like or not,  buy or not. It's frustrating when I make things that don't suit and I don't wear. I have given away most of what I've made. This is partly why I enjoy sewing for the family and will continue to do so. I need to find my sewn style. I'm fairly clear what I want to wear when I go shopping for RTW. It doesn't fit, I've become more critical - I haven't bought RTW for ages,  though I didn't commit to a fast this year. It's a diet rather than a fast! That is, if I saw something that fitted and I liked I would buy it in a flash! That hasn't happened, with the singular exception of my MOB outfit.
Me in my MOB outfit with Helen
Recently I bought a long black cardigan from Sainsbury's to pair with trousers on a day when I was cold and I think that's the only other thing I've bought in long enough. Quite a change.

My focus this year,  though, is on staples which I can't buy. A well fitting pair of trousers or two or three. A few well fitting tops,  various styles. Some well fitting cardigans, with a bit of style hopefully. A couple of casual jackets. In my colour palette.  It may take me a while! I've opted out,  or rather haven't opted in,  to a couple of wardrobe contests that,  while the things I wanted to make would exactly meet the brief, imposed too strict a time frame for my needs.

Fitting and weight loss
A note on well-fitting. I'm still losing weight and I realise that things I make now won't fit in a few weeks. I couldn't put off,  though. My RTW is fitting even less well than before. I'll have to revisit the trouser block in a few weeks. Should be easier by then I hope. I will ask Rory's help; she just sighed yesterday when I mentioned the weight loss issue. I'm afraid, too, I do go up and down a bit!

College Courses, learning skills and transferring them
My college courses were discontinued,  sadly, but Rory stepped into the breach with a level 3 Class, non accredited. That's good as we learn the skills but don't have to do a lot of the extra associated with the college course - business cases,  financial plans etc which no-one on the course wanted or needed. Even better that I don't have a long commute to Sunderland in rush hour traffic! The techniques I'm learning are expanding my skills. They may not be immediately relevant to my plans this year but many are transferable. I'm immediately thinking pockets  - a zipped pocket would be perfect in a casual jacket and the trousers I originally hacked had a zipped jetted pocket,  though I'm simplifying the design for the block.

The future
As far as the blog is concerned, I'm intending to continue as long as it gets read! I know my photography needs to be better - we'll see! To be honest, it's not a big priority. Are there any changes you would like to see me make?

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Trouser toile fitting aka fitting of pant muslin

Rory was ill last week so our intended fitting session didn't take place.

This was due to be the first fitting session. Prior to that,  I had ‘hacked’ a pattern from a pair of RTW trousers (pants) that didn't fit ‘too badly’ and Dan marked the leg alterations required. The legs sat with far too much fabric at one side and not enough at the other. Rory said we'd work on these rather than the Palmer Pletsch pants we were originally going to use. See earlier post.

I made the changes to the pattern. These changes altered the leg angle. At home,  I finalised the pattern - I added to the back crotch point (this was an ‘in case’ amount, as requested). I increased crotch depth as the pattern was too short.  I added still more to the back rise. I added extra large seam allowances. Then I made up a toile (muslin). I've already said how unhappy I was with this toile and its ‘helter skelter’ legs. The toile seemed to me worse than my original. I could have,  did,  wear the original. Worse, too, the inner seam lengths didn't match. How did that happen?

So today was the first time for Rory to see the toile and she was expecting the worst. She didn't think it was that bad.

I have a couple of photos but some of the alterations were a bit too personal for me to post on the internet!!

Rory got me to try on the trousers. She smoothed out and identified the grain to ensure it was lying down the middle of my leg. She marked this and the perpendicular line,  to ensure it didn't slip while she was working on it.  A lot of the fitting is about ensuring the grain lies correctly.

The following were the changes:
Darts added - minor
Excess fabric at hip smoothed out - minor
Some tucks of excess fabric pinned out - major
Alterations (a few) to crotch point, done in increments - major.This was the bulk of the work. Back crotch point dropped and shortened. Front crotch point further lengthened. Pouff of fabric at from crotch pinned out.
When Rory took out the stitching of the inner seam, which hadn't matched in length,  it now matched!

Rory stitched the changes in place and I tried on the trousers again. Now they were sitting much higher. Just high enough at the back but too long at the front. Rory marked my waistline while I was wearing 1” elastic.
You can see waistline is scarcely long enough at the back.
Darts have been pinned in but there are issues around the crotch area

Helter skelter legs - Rory pinned out the inside leg - there was too much fabric here. At the outer seam, the back curved round from mid thigh to the front of my ankle. At least,  that was originally but it was much better after the crotch alterations. Rory marked where the seam should lie and we cut up that line when we were ready to alter the pattern.

We took the toile apart and transferred the changes (stitching lines) to the pattern. I then added 1.5 cm (⅝”) seam allowances. This is quite a big seam allowance as Rory usually works with 1 cm but this gives a little flexibility in a toile and I confess that I quite like this size as so many of the commercial patterns have this. I had to add paper to parts and cut away at other parts.

I previously thought some of the adjustments made to the pattern had been too large,  going on the ‘little adjustments make big changes’ or just a little change at a time. These changes confirmed that, as some of the previous adjustments were partly undone. Previously,  fabric needed added and it's always difficult to judge how much - much easier to take away.

I have shown some rather poor photos of the pattern changes as I was asked to do that by a couple of people. Unfortunately, they are poor. I don't have photos in progress - there is a lot to do in a relatively short time, so I didn't get a chance.
Front leg outseam alteration - original 1, modified 2 and now 3; I can't find the photo of the modifications to the back leg 

Back crotch - original 1, modified 2 and now 3

Poor selfie in mirror. Pre alterations.
You can see the outseam coming around to the front, extra fabric in the inside and the pouching at the bottom of the fly.
This is the only photo I have that shows the excess needing removed at the front waistband.
Front crotch modification
To be removed

It's difficult to see the changes I've made here.

Rory checked the grainline on the pattern. This had been my major concern after the last set of adjustments as the grainline seemed so much at an angle. I'm glad to say it has much improved!

Rory advised me on the fabric to buy for my trousers - she suggested serge and have me a sample of dicoutil(?) serge which is lovely so I'll try and get some from Fabworks at the weekend when I visit Dewsbury for a Yorkshire Spoolettes meet up.

We also discussed style. I had thought that perhaps I need a waistband. Rory suggested a facing. I do like a facing! I decided to miss out the pockets (jetted) at this stage as their position has altered so much. Then I reckoned I would have a side zip rather than a fly front in the first instance. I want to make lots of different styles if I get the pattern correct!! So I'll keep the first basic.

First,  though, I'll true the pattern and make another toile. I'll be seeing Rory for what is hopefully the final fitting next week.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Orange gilet and yellow banana - and some rethinking

My younger grandson Ben turned 5 in November. He's tall and slimmer than his big brother was at the same age and quite the extrovert. He suits skinny jeans and loves bright citrus colours - I include orange, lime, yellow here.

Level 3 Class

I haven't mentioned much about my ‘level 3’ class which started in September. We started by making various types of pockets in waterproof fabric - jetted (double welt), zipped etc. Difficult when you can't pin,  baste or press!  At least I found them difficult. I'll do a post at the end of the class, I think.

Padded gilet

We moved on to making a child's padded gilet. Waterproof fabric backed with lining type fabric, quilted and stuffed; fleece lining.  Pockets, collar, zip. We were going to be making age 2 or 3 I think. I requested an age 6 if possible - I thought that Ben might be able to wear it and I like to do things for a reason. The fabric we were using was orange - perfect for Ben!

At the last class I had got as far as joining padded sides complete with piped welt pocket and bag to padded back. The long front edges are piped,  the zip and zip guard are prepared,  the outside collar is attached. Next steps are staying the fleece lining,  attaching to gilet via facings (I don't have these yet). The jacket will be turned through the zip. No class for 2 weeks as it's midterm next week. I don't know how much longer it will take.
You can just about see the piping here. The zip is pretty chunky.
But the whole thing is still too small as there is no fleece lining in this.

Meeting family

This last week was midterm for my grandsons, however. This weekend just past I met up with the family in Cambridge. All 3 daughters, 2 sons-in-law, 2 grandsons. Nice. We had a lovely Turkish meal on Friday evening. Helen and Anthony travelled up from London. Helen ended up having to film over the weekend so had to go back after the meal. One of the documentaries she was previously involved in as an archive researcher is on channel 5 at 8pm on Tuesdays (UK) at the moment. I hadn't realised it started last week and had to watch on Catch up. It's called ‘Inside Windsor Castle’.

Does the gilet fit?

I took the partially constructed gilet with me to see if it was likely to fit Ben (I didn't think it would). Rory felt the same and said I could cut a bigger size on return (the pattern would need to be graded up as it was made originally from her grandson’s age 2 gilet and graded up) if I could work out how much extra was needed. Ben loved it and said it fitted perfectly (it didn't) but where was the zip? Later he said he wished he could have worn it when we went out. He of course tried it without the fleece lining which adds further bulk. He insisted a banana was an important part of the try on and photoshoot! I had a chance before this to look at fit but didn't take any photos. So none minus the banana!

I was concerned that as we're rapidly approaching spring and Ben lives further south where it's milder,  that this gilet was just too small and too late. Alison agreed it was too small but felt this type of garment was useful even for a few weeks longer. With ordinary lining rather than a fleece lining,  perhaps?, I wondered.

I will finish the gilet. Perhaps send it anyway? I will make a new gilet for Ben, two years bigger, for this next autumn - in orange, or lime or yellow.  If I do one for his brother, it would not be in such vibrant shades. I still have to make Ben the science geek shirt I made for his brother, too.


Both boys are growing so fast! They are collecting Pokemon cards and know so much about them. Jack played hangman with me and I don't think I got any of his (characters from Pokemon with difficult spellings).  Ben can't spell the names so he stuck to 3 letter words he could spell - and of course in this game short words are difficult. Jack didn't get ‘fin’ within the allowed goes. I think there were only 6 chances in this game.

Wedding dress - postpone red silk dress and Contests

Helen doesn't want me to start her red silk dress (only one minor change,  she'd prefer the back waist dropped between another half inch and an inch) until I have reassembled her wedding dress!  She doesn't want me to have any excuses! So I've said I'll have it (the wedding dress) done for Easter. I will do. I do have a few other items promised for the family (not for Easter) - what with them, plus my class, which continues until June I believe and my attempts to make trousers and jackets,  I've given up any plans to enter the Stitching Guild’s SWAP or Pattern Review‘s Sudoku Wardrobe contest. I'll still make the pants and jackets (I only decided to enter the contests because I was doing that anyway) but to my own timetable. I'll stick to ‘perfecting’ my trouser block and hopefully I'll get a useful block that will be the basis of all the trousers I want to make.

Spring weather

Spring is really in the air!  Last week I had an appointment at the Dental Hospital and another at RVI a short time later - no time to go home. They are adjacent. I could have bought a coffee and relaxed but as it was a nice day I walked through Leaze’s Park literally across the road, which had fewer calories and increased my step count. (I have now lost a stone,  14 lbs,  in 7 weeks but my step count is still poor) That was lovely. The sounds of the very close by city centre were scarcely discernible apart from occasional sirens (main A & E across the road). Instead, there were ducks and bird song. I enjoyed walking around the lake. I've been in Newcastle for nearly 30 years now and have never done that before!  I didn't have time to explore the wildlife area.  The play area looked great. My two sons in law play tennis there when they are visiting. There's a small maze,  a bandstand,  a large pond. Across the road, connectors have demolished the old student residences but have had to build a new home for the resident bats - a tree house at the gates to the Dental Hospital

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Trouser/pant making - plans, body analysis

Since I took up sewing 4 years ago now (how time flies!) I have wanted to make trousers as I find it virtually impossible to buy ready to wear trousers. Even I was a teen,  my mother got my trousers made. These weren't very successful! I certainly wasn’t very fashionable. I've tried to make trousers a few times. I've failed each of those times.

My attempts
  1. I tried on my own just making up a commercial pattern. No.
  2. I tried on my own with a fitting pattern.  No.
  3. I tried in a monthly class to make a pair from a commercial pattern. This pattern was a fitting type pattern but you can't do that on your own,  particularly at the start of your sewing career, and the class was too busy and too infrequent. No.
  4. I tried to make from a Sure Fit Designs kit. That was pretty good but then as now I was losing weight, so having to change things every time I tried them on and other things took over. Those I could have worn,  though. The best so far. They only got as far as muslin/toile stage. I had a brief dalliance with the kit more recently but wasn't paying enough attention and it went wrong. I find that if I've done something before I can be overconfident and under vigilant when I next make it. Another, proper,  attempt is on the cards
  5. I went to a jeans making techniques class. This was good but I ended up making jeans for David. We tried to fit me in a pattern but there is only so much time in these classes and I moved onto David's jeans. I feel reasonably confident about the techniques,  though I haven't practised them sufficiently.
  6. In my pattern-making class we covered trousers but the code we used was atrocious for me. I got somewhere using my own codes but not far enough. Again no time. Abandoned.

I've analysed my body and looked at how trousers (pants) look on me. I have concluded:

  • Okay, I'm tall and have a long inside leg but this really isn't much of a problem. What is more difficult is that my crotch depth is longer than average at my size. Even trousers sold in multiple leg lengths have the same crotch depth. Long Tall Sally does have a longer crotch depth, but there are other issues with these.
  • I'm at least 2 stones overweight.
  • I have high hips (and asymmetrical to boot) which means that trousers and skirts can be too tight there
  • Smaller waist,  higher bigger hips mean that my actual waist distance is quite short - I can't wear a wide belt,  much preferring a narrow one and a narrow waistband.
  • Despite being overweight at present, with much of the weight around my waist and abdomen, my waist is still significantly smaller than my hips. In RTW, my waistbands are too big, with gaping at the back and tightness at the high hip.
  • I have a marked lumbar curve (swayback?) which emphasises the above. This curve and a large booty mean that sometimes garments ride up. This can lead to the wrinkling described in sway back.  However,  the place to shorten for me is definitely the back bodice and not the back of the skirt or whatever. So maybe this is a ‘faux sway back’
  • My posture/body shape also emphasises this - my hips tilt forwards leading to a natural waist that is forward sloping. This means that my front in trousers is shorter than average and my back longer. (Bodices are opposite - very long front, short back)
  • Partly due to height and partly due to weight, my crotch length is significantly longer than average with much more of the length lying in the back rather than the front.
  • My thighs are around about the same width as my hips when you look at me - maybe larger on one side. My front thighs, however,  are prominent. This leads to creasing and wrinkling in the groin area. I have been reading about this and see what changes might be required.
  • I may have slightly knocked knees.  Crease lines don't run vertical. However, I see that prominent hips can cause this too.
  • I no longer feel my derriere is a major issue. It's major but not an issue!
  • Currently my abdomen is an issue but weight loss should help that.

Don't worry!  I'm not over concerned about what I've written.  If this helps me get a better fitting pair of trousers,  skirt,  whatever,  I have no problems with it.

So what's the plan?

Rory is going to develop a trouser block for me. I had to cancel the first session as I was visiting my mother but I have a session booked next week.

She is taking a multidimensional approach.
She's intending to drape but is going to start with the fabric from the failed class at 3 under attempts. This is too big in every direction but therefore gives plenty of fabric.
She's going to re look at my last draft from the pattern cutting course at 6 as she felt at the time it wasn't too far away.

I'll update at the end of the process

I also missed the first of two pattern hacking classes last week while I was helping my mother. I'm intending to go to the second.

I had several possible items for this class. I excluded the incomplete dress from a previous class as this is more to do with fitting than hacking. One was a top,  one was jeans,  another was trousers that fit reasonably well at present and the last was a pair of trousers that I cut up with a view to hacking but didn't get around to it. These trousers were damaged. They fitted well-ish at the time but I don't know about now! I had intended then to lengthen the back/ crotch and shorten the front and had marked them appropriately.

So yesterday, I used the trousers that I'd already taken apart to draw up a basic pattern with seam allowances added. I drew this from the trousers,  ignoring previous info about potential alterations. I marked in pocket and zipped welt position,  zip position etc. I found Rory's advice invaluable particularly as regards the fly area. I gather the way the pocket is done is quite tricky so I will be hanging in to the pieces.

I plan to toile the basic pattern for fit . The next session of the class is on Saturday.

Again, I will update when I have something to show for this. I have posted separately about this, even though I don't actually have anything to show as yet!

Commercial gaucho pattern

I also plan to make up a commercial gaucho pattern (Vogue) that I've liked for a long time. Culottes were another possibility.

Again,  I'll post when I have something to show for this.

Hopefully,  though, I'll end up with a block that I can use to make numerous pairs of trousers, a pair of trousers from the hacked ones and gauchos. I'm not worried about techniques. It's entirely fit that had been holding me back.

Hacking Trousers/Pants

I made my first attempt at hacking trousers for me - one of my 3 new tries to get a pair of trousers to fit me.

I successfully hacked a pair of bagged lined shorts with side zip in inset pocket for Joanne, which have been very successful.

I successfully hacked a dress for Helen with unusual pockets and construction.

I hoped that despite me missing the first of two classes where I would do this, I could catch up and successfully make trousers from the pair I hacked.

For my first hacking attempt, I went the simple route and took a pair of trousers that I had already dismantled, because they had a problem with wear/tear, with a view to recreating them - I had never got around to it. I had originally marked the trousers with a lowered front waistline and added a piece of cloth to the back to show how much I wanted that raised. I remember them otherwise as fitting well and I was sad when they died. However, I had no idea how well, or badly, they fitted now.

Rory suggested this pair as my attempt (rather than the others I took with me) and I drew out the pattern in her sewing bee. She said not to do the changes, simply to transfer the pieces to paper.

Pricking out pattern

This went very well.  The seams of the main front of the trousers/pants were fairly easy to prick through to the paper; I was using a polystyrene board underneath this so pins and wheel had some softness and wouldn’t damage the table.

My front had a zippered pocket - I marked the position. I also marked the position of the pocket, the fly and the main zipper. Rory pointed out that the fly is constructed here with folded over fabric to reduce bulk. She said I could very easily construct the zipper guard so there was no point in tracing.

The main issue with the front, other than the features, was that the knees were very baggy. I marked the knee area. I wonder whether I should line the knees in the final version?

The back was pretty easy - except there was some stretching close to the crotch point down the leg. I wondered if the fabric had stretched due to wear. Rory said that pants can often be eased in this area to improve fit. I traced as I could and marked the area that might need eased.

I added a large seam allowance of 1.5 cms - Rory usually likes to work with a 1 cm seam allowance and thought this amount was more than enough. I hope I haven’t put on a lot of weight since I last wore these!!

I then checked the front and the back against each other.  Rory also checked the actual trouser against my tracing. It became clear that there was an extremely short and shallow front extension to the crotch and Rory advised that I extend that, as it can be altered later.

At home, I made up a toile of these trousers. Just the front and the back but marked the pockets, zipper etc. I tried them on and found they weren't too bad, though the back was too low, as I remembered, and the front too high.

Pattern Hacking Class

In the pattern hacking class, Dan kind of went to town! She and Rory felt that the legs were twisted and instead of the centre seam running down the centre of the leg, there was much more fabric at one side than the other. I'm not sure if this is due to knock knees - I do have a bit but not that much! Full calves? It may be to do with my height and the extra I need in the crotch.

There was hardly any ease in the high hip area - something I often find in RTW. However, by releasing the back centre crotch seam - additional fabric needs added in here - I actually had excess fabric at the sides and had to pin in a bulge of fabric back and front at the thigh area, which I don't need.

Dan unpicked the leg seams and tried to get the seams to lie straight. there wasn't enough fabric, however, and she had to measure the gap but couldn't be sure how much had to go onto the front and how much the back.

I'm afraid I don't even know everything that was done, or why. I got Dan to take a couple of photos of the process, but it's difficult to take them yourself in the middle of the event.

Rory draped the trousers and she and Dan wedged out some extra fabric in the hip back area. Dan and I looked at it and worked out how best to deal with this extra fabric. The end result was that the dart at the top was much bigger and will have to be divided into two. From the dart to the side became very angled outwards and this added extra fabric to the crotch area.

I spent the rest of the class trying to transfer the changes to the pattern ready to make up a toile. Rory said that as we were so far on with this one (I hope and pray we are, but it doesn't seem that way to me!) that she would get me to use that for the trouser block creation. I'm meeting her on Tuesday for this.

Pattern modifications and new toile

So at home, I finished the pattern changes. As discussed, I added extra length to the front and back crotch hooks. I watched a Crafsty class (Barbra Deckert) re plus sized pant fitting and found that interesting though a little basic. However, between that and the fabulous Singer book, and the Palmer Pletsch book, I realised that I really needed to increase the crotch depth. I did this. I had to add 1". I added extra to the back tapering to the side and felt that I now had enough to have the back go up to the waist. The front is still too long, in my opinion but I know that in the past Rory has said I should wear further up at the front so we'll see.

So today I made a toile of the new pattern. Awful!! Much worse than the original toile. I realised when I was making the pattern that something was seriously wrong with the legs but didn't know what. However, I was unable to put a centre crease in one half of the trousers and although the pattern was trued, there was a significant difference in length between the two sides. Trying the trousers on , the seams are very significantly twisted. This is very noticeable - much more so than in the original pants. I'm puzzled as I followed the instructions I was given. I guess I got it wrong - it's obviously not so easy

No photos of the new toile - too awful!

I'll take them to Rory on Tuesday and see what she has to say.

I gave up and started making a top.