Sewing Karma decided I was getting a bit too big for my britches.
I picked up this pattern last fall with the intention to sew up the cropped pants but alas, never got to them. View A (the long tunic) wasn’t appealing because of the gathers in the front. But then Pattern Review started the Pattern Stash Contest, and I had perfect fabric in my stash, so figured it was time to give this baby a shot.
I used a poly something remnant purchased when Hancock’s was closing out. I like the black & white, and I also like the weight of the fabric because it drapes but isn’t flyaway. It sort of has a peachskin texture, so that’s what I’m saying it is. Very easy to work with and handle, but it doesn’t hold a crease well, which impacted finishing.
I did a slight pivot on a size 18 to increase the bust a bit.
First thing I noticed when I finally pulled the pattern out of the envelope was that there are no gathers on the front – those are ties hanging down. Duh. Maybe I should have looked at the line drawing, but this was a good surprise.
The pattern had a few areas that required careful and visible marking: the neckline slash opening, then the front and back arm facings. It was impossible to mark on this fabric, and although I love using the erasable gel pens, if you have to do any pressing before stitching your marks are gone so instead I did quick tailor tacking by hand (too quick, I’m afraid).
Starting point was the ties, which are very thin, and I was pleased to be able to use a small tool that was gifted to everyone at an ASG meeting (City Wide Couture) a few months ago. It is a large dull needle with heavy thread attached and tied off permanently that you use for turning things inside out (there’s probably a couture name for it – please let me know if you know). I stitched up the tubes, attached the thread to the end of the tie, dropped the needle down and pulled. Very easy process with no fraying of fabric or punching through seams which made a nice thin tie possible.
I wanted to finish the top quickly on Sunday night so I could wear it to work on Monday morning. In my first incarnation as a sewer, my downfall was rushing through projects to wear the next day to work. I used to make a lot of mistakes and then just say SCREW IT and try to press it out, or wear the garment anyways and say it was a ‘design detail’. (I’ll spare you the horror of the bathing suit incident …) But lately I’ve been doing really well – enjoying sewing for the sake of sewing and things have been turning out nicely. Until that Sunday.
I stitched up the neckline, shoulders, side seams and tried on the garment. All was good. Added the right shoulder facings. Tried it on and it fit great so I stitched the left arm facings, serged all the seams and did the hems.
And then I tried it on again. The left arm facing was all wonky. Like it was too small on that side and there was a big and very noticeable bunching of fabric under the arm. I tried pressing it out and then put it on and asked myself if I just wear it the way it was. No one will notice, right? But I wasn’t proud of it. I pulled it off and looked at the facings. Fortunately the geometric design made it easy to see that there was definitely a difference in shaping between the left and right sides. Flipped it over and looked at the back. Same thing.
I had sewn the left facings back to front. And serged the seams. On fabric that doesn’t take kindly to stitches being picked out. Dang. (Superstitious me says that this happened because I sewed in the label before I was done …)
The thing I like most about the finished top is the shaping of the armscye which gently hugs the natural curves, so there is no opportunities for gaping.
So I set it aside for a day then started figuring out how I could amend this … I stitched and re-shaped the left side as best I could. It’s far from perfect, but it’s wearable. There is still some fabric bunching under that arm.
Since the fabric does not hold a crease well, I wound up topstitching the neck and arm openings using a 3mm stitch a scant needle-width from the edge. That helped to make the edges crisp, and also tamed the facings some.
For the hem I used my blind stitch foot. And that was it.
- 1 hour – cutting
- 8 hours – sewing and correcting – for something that should have taken 2 hours.
I like the top now that it’s done. The crisp black & white pattern is great with white pants or jeans in the summer. I’ll wear it, however I’m disappointed in myself because it turns out that I really like the pattern, and the fabric. The pattern part isn’t a big deal because I’ll make it again, but this fabric works so well with my wardrobe. Sigh.
Lesson learned: Even though I have more sewing experience, better tools and time to sew I still need to slow down. Be deliberate. Measure twice, cut once. Baste first. Try it on again. Check the damned stitching before serging!
I’ll make it again – soon. And I’ll mark the arm facings well. I think it’s time for the painter’s tape trick.