Tuesday, May 4, 2010
This wardrobe pattern has been getting a lot of love on Pattern Review, mostly for the tank, so last time Simplicity was on sale and I was able to get to Joann I picked up Simplicity 2938 so I could give it a try.
I used one of the stretch silk charmeuse fabrics I got in Vietnam at the Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City, so it was a great Special Fabric and Stashbusting (as I bought this fabric in 2008) project.
When I posted my fail of a wrap blouse, Vogue 7876 that was so tight across the back under the arms I solicited advice about how to deal with this recurring problem. I spend a lot of time at the gym, and that band of muscles (trapezoids, deltoids, latissimus) are well-developed from lifting heavy weights. Searching for a solution had yielded several tutorials, like this one from Threads, that tell you to split the pattern in a straight line all the way from shoulder to hem and add width to the entire pattern. This does not make any sense for me, as I have narrower-than-average shoulders *and* a swayback, and adding extra fabric in both of those places would create way more problems than it would solve. Then Rachel kindly posted for me the scan at the left, which made so much sense! It gives me more room exactly where I need it, without adding more fabric where I don't.
So, based on the information Rachel supplied, I did my first broad back adjustment! I didn't know if I'd really need it, given the ease on this top and the fact that I haven't had much trouble with Simplicity's backs, but I wanted to break the seal. This top fits well, but I think the little bit of stretch in the fabric is necessary and I could actually use even more of an adjustment. How exciting to finally know how to deal with this problem!!!!
There is a misprint on the pattern tissue for the finished garment measurements--they switched the waist and hip finished measurements. I'm glad I took the time to puzzle this out. I looked at the finished hip measurement and saw the size 18 with a 41" finished hip measurement would probably be best. Although I do have large hips relative to the rest of my body, 18 is still a lot, especially as I was cutting a 10 at the bust and normally cut a 14 at the hip. But then I saw it said 8 1/2" of ease over body measurement. I grabbed the envelope and looked up the hip measurement for an 18--42 inches, so plus the 8 1/2 inches of ease it should have been 50 1/2 inches, not 41 inches. Math was not my best subject but something was not adding up here! So in fact, once you switch out the numbers, the finished waist for size 10 is 33 1/2" and the finished hip is 40 1/2". While I would normally cut a 12 at the waist and 14 at the hip, I decided to cut a 10 at the waist and a 12 at the hip, as the built in ease seemed like a lot. The finished top fits well. The only place I could possibly use more room is...the bust? I really don't see how that's possible, but the pleats are kind of pulling open above the bust. Weird. Maybe I will cut the center front in a size 12 when I make this again.
I made French seams. The side fronts of this thing got pretty beat up because, as I always do when I make French seams, I sewed the first pass right side to right side. Right side to right side is a very ingrained habit. As usual, I did the first pass with the serger so I carefully trimmed off the serger seam and then sewed it together wrong side to wrong side, which is the correct procedure for French seams. And then knifed into the side front. So then I had to trim it off *again*, recut, and resew. Goodness. Luckily, third time was the charm!
The instructions call for a facing for the neck and bias tape for the armscye. You all know how I feel about a facing: yuck. Since I was cutting bias tape anyway, I decided I'd bias bind the neckline as well. And then I thought it would look nice with the binding as a design feature rather than just a finish. To apply, I trimmed away most of the seam allowances and then bound the edges. I used the binding as I've been doing lately: first, sew to the wrong side, then fold over and topstitch on the right side. It ensures that the right side is perfect.
Because my fabric was a little slippery and hard to work with, I ended up cutting and making really wide double fold bias tape. I'm not sure if RTW is showing binding right now, and if so, what width it is, but I'm ok with the wide binding.
The love for this pattern is well justified. I am a bit wary of pullover woven tops as they can be really sacky, but this top has a nice shape (although I prefer it belted or tucked). It is summery and cool but works in my office as a nice tailored piece. I am definitely on the lookout for other fabrics to make this in, preferably with a little stretch as with this one. All photos are here and the pattern review is here.
Voting is open in the Vintage Contest! I entered my Simplicity 2827 vintage 1950s dress. There are some really great entries so be sure to check it out!