Okay, so I’m a trend monger. I like those sleeves with a bit of flourish. But how are they going to fit inside my winter coat?
A couple of weeks ago Hobby Lobby had Simplicity patterns for 99 cents each. So I bought ten. For 99 cents, I reckoned I might get through some of those orphan fabrics in my closet.
Simplicity 8454 makes up four different tops with various sleeves and flounces. I chose View D, which has the flounces on the sleeve and hem.
100% Rayon Challis purchased at Joann early summer for a different pattern. I didn’t get around to that pattern, but the colours are right for fall. The fuchsia and oranges match an ultrasuede skirt I wear in autumn and the long sleeves make it suitable for cooler days.
The top has a lot of ease, so I cut a straight 20 to fit my bust. The only alteration was a lazy girl’s dart adjustment (I simply slid the pattern down so the dart was 1″ lower, then slid it back up).
I try to take pictures of fabrics on the bolt so as to remember the content, but in this case I forgot to look at the picture so assumed this was cotton challis and just threw it in the wash then into the dryer. Surprise surprise – it didn’t shrink! Thank goodness, because I only had 2 yards and this pattern needs 2 1/2 yards. So that meant some creativity when laying out to cut. One of the reasons I’m grateful for an online sewing community is the information shared, like you don’t need to follow a pattern layout as long as you keep things on the grain line and have your fabric design going the right direction. Three years ago I would have gone out and bought more fabric, rather than moving pieces around to make them fit.
I began to realize that the fabric wasn’t really stable after I cut the neck band (on the bias) and once I finished the markings it was almost 2″ longer than I cut. The yoke stretched out leaving an odd bubble in one spot and the round-cut flounces stretched in different places. A bit of a bummer, but the flounces help to hide some (yes, only some) of the unevenness.
This is a straightforward pattern. The back opening is simply folded over, then you’re supposed to use an elastic loop and button for the closure, but I had no elastic so just used a hook and eye.
The edges of the sleeve and hem flounces call for narrow hems, and because I don’t have Teflon fingers, my pressing is usually not so even. I pulled out my narrow hem foot, found a couple of You Tube videos and learned how to use the foot. This actually worked very well. There are places where the hem looks wavy because it was difficult to maintain an even flow of fabric, but it looks tidy from both right side and wrong side. Yay! Another skill 🙂
Question for you: Why do pattern makers insist on using narrow bands on wovens? I get the whole neck band on knits thing, but on a woven it’s just a pain. Since the fabric was so lightweight it pressed easily, but then it also was easy to press too much or too little. Tedious work and easy to mess up. Fortunately most of my friends don’t look closely at top stitching to see if it’s even. Because this pattern has a narrow front yoke, it would be so easy to simply cut two of the yoke and use that as the front facing, then cut a facing for the back. With this lightweight fabric I wouldn’t use interfacing.
While I’m complaining about pattern makers … when they tell you to stay stitch the neck opening, they should also remind you in that step that you’re going to be using a 3/8″ seam allowance when you attach the neck band. I was so careful to staystitch 1/2″ and then had to pick out all of those stitches.
Another place I had to unpick was one of the flounces. There are two sleeve flounces and two hem flounce pieces. All are about the same size. I didn’t even think to mark the difference pieces so went to attach a sleeve flounce and it was about 4″ too long. Given the stretching in the neck band piece it seemed reasonable that this piece could have stretched a couple of inches. For whatever reason, I didn’t follow my natural inclination to just hack that piece shorter to fit the sleeve because I’d sewn the hem flounce to the sleeve. Pick pick pick pick. Next time, painters tape to mark the fabric pieces!
- 1 hour – pre-washing
- 1 hour – cutting
- 5 hours – sewing
This is a super comfortable top. There’s lots of ease and the flounces are interesting without being overwhelming. This fabric has the just the right amount of drape. Next time I’ll make a facing for the neck instead of fighting with the neck band.
I’m not a big fan of front yokes, but this one is pretty innocuous (especially in a print). It might be fun to make the yoke in a contrast fabric, and maybe line the sleeve flounces with the same fabric. This fabric was a bit of a surprise, it didn’t crease much with wearing, although looking at the flounces it sure stretched out. If anyone asks, I’ll just say it was deliberate 😉
Overall, I’m happy with it. A relatively quick make that takes advantage of what’s likely the dying days of the trendy sleeve.