It appears that the Hilary Duff/McCall relationship has ended--all trace of her has been wiped from the website and this doesn't appear even in the out of print section. It's a little too bad; while I don't have any feelings about Hilary Duff as a person or actress, the pattern line had some fun pieces in it. This is actually the second Hilary Duff pattern I've made, the first being my M5880 silk chiffon negligee dress.
The tie neck blouse for the office has been back for some time so I decided to get in on the action. I made this around January, I think, out of some of the luscious silk/cotton I got in November from fabric.com. At $11/yd for this batch (with discount coupon) it is among some of the more expensive fabrics that I've purchased, but I didn't want it to get Too Good To Use--in this case, I would have to look for the Perfect Classic Pattern I Can Wear Forever--so I went ahead and cut into it for a trendy piece. Shocking.
This is an easy pattern, just front, back, sleeves, tie, and bitty front facing--no closures. It's a bit of a fabric hog because the tie is cut on the bias.
The slit that makes the neckline wide enough to pull over your neck is meant to be finished with a facing. While I normally try to engineer my way around using a facing, in this instance finishing that edge with bias tape would make it thicker and more unwieldy so I stuck with the facing. The pattern directs you to understitch that front facing, but in my experience with facings understitching is completely ineffective to keep them from flopping around. I absolutely did NOT want this facing flipping to the outside. I decided to topstitch it down, figuring that the tie would cover the topstitching anyway. In fact, the topstitching looks fine and it would be fine even if it showed. This is what the facing looks like from the inside.
Because the fabric has silk content I sewed it in French seams. I still don't quite know how to handle an armscye in a French seam. This time, I sewed the shoulder and side seams in French seams and then set in the sleeves with French seams. It worked pretty well.
Except that the sleeves were just way, way, WAY too gathered and puffy. Anne Shirley would have loved them. I had lengthened the sleeve because I was thinking I might wear it as a 3/4 sleeve. In fact, it looks terrible with the sleeve going beyond my elbow, so it doesn't help that it's all pushed up either (I put elastic in the sleeveband). In the photos it's hard to tell a difference between the version at left (as drafted) and the finished version, but I cut about an inch and a half off the top of the sleeve cap after seeing the drafted version (which entailed undoing all those beautiful French seams). I might go back and shorten the sleeves eventually, which will help reduce the volume a little more, but I haven't bothered yet (and it's about to get retired for the season; too hot to wear that much silk!).
In the end, I was surprised by how much I liked this top and how well it was drafted. I mean, there's not much to the drafting, but the facing in particular surprised me by being not horrible. I actually like it better than the Burda 08-2008-119 tie neck top and may try it sleeveless this summer, maybe even out of that same silk chiffon as the earlier Hilary Duff pattern, just to be strange. In case you're curious, the skirt is a Knip Mode from last year.
All photos are here and the pattern review is here.