I scored this beautiful Anna Sui silk at PR Weekend Philly last year during our trip to London Textiles. If you recall, we went bin diving into their huge stash of remnants. Silks were $5/yd, everything else was $3/yd. There was a touch over a yard of this fabric, so I paid $5 for it. I have since seen it pop up a few times in places like Vogue Fabrics and Fabric.com, for around $12.99/yd. Score!
When I bought this, I was planning to make another Simplicity 2938 pleat neck tank for wearing under a suit jacket. Although the print contains two of my favorite colors--turquoise and hot pink--somehow it looks very subdued and I wasn't sure I'd love the finished item.
However, when I pulled out the fabric to make it (I decided in the Spring that the next time the serger was threaded in black I'd make the top first thing so I could at least cross one thing off my sewing list--I do not sew a lot of black!), the first thing I noticed is that it takes a little looking to tell the right side from the wrong side. I started thinking if there was a way I could take advantage of that, and remembered that when I made Simplicity 2360 the first time, in the green poly charmeuse fabric from Spain, I thought it would make a lovely top. So I scrapped my sensible plan for a suit-suitable shell and went with fun (are you at all surprised?). It is fun that is still in fashion, at least! I saw several variations on it during my recent snoop shopping forays, including this Julie Dillon dress for $138 from Nordstrom.
I did not change much on this go-round with the pattern. Instead of a drawstring, as I did for the dress and later regretted, I went with the pattern and turned the waist seam allowance into a casing. When I made the dress, I thought that I might want to lengthen the upper bodice pieces to move the waist seam down around an inch or so to my natural waist. When making this iteration I put on the dress and considered it, but then decided to keep it as drafted. When it was complete I wished I had lowered the waist. The top looks great with skirts, but does not work with skinny jeans *at all* because the waist is too high. I was hoping it would be a good top for jeans. Now I have to make yet another! The waist seam is the only exposed seam; for the rest I used French seams.
When it came to finish the neckline I had two problems. First, there wasn't enough fabric left to cut a bias binding, even a pieced bias binding. And second, it was too wide. I knew it was too wide from making the dress, but somehow didn't think to fix it before cutting. I actually (gasp) stay-stitched the neckline to keep it from stretching out.
I finished the ruffle with a serger rolled hem, as before. I also used it to finish the armscye edges. Then I got the crazy idea to use it for the neckline and then gather the neckline somehow. I liked this little gathery ruffle feature in Burda 12-2010-105 as drafted (I ended up turning the ruffle under some picot elastic because my fabric was too floppy) so that's where I went. I serger rolled the neckline close the staystitching. I always lift the knife when I'm doing a rolled hem on the serger; I find I can't get the fabric to stay on the stitch finger if the knife is engaged.
Then I found center front and measured 3 inches on either side of it, cut the shortest length of elastic that would stretch six inches, and then zizagged it in place while stretching. Love this feature! It totally looks intentional, and not a way to hide my bra straps.
Love this top! The pattern definitely works for a blouse, with the caveat about lengthening the upper bodice, as mentioned above, if you want to wear it with pants. I originally thought this top could be added to my Endless Combination wardrobe from last Fall as a match for my Burda 01-2009-112 hot pink corset waist pencil skirt given that the print has hot pink in it. But the hot pink in the top is so subdued that it is not strong enough to counterbalance the flourescence of the skirt. However, it goes with several other items in the closet (the most tame and predictable being the black skirt I paired it with here). There is one crazy outfit I am looking forward to wearing in cool weather. Cidell will not approve.
I would like to see what this pattern looks like with the longer sleeves. They are cut-on dolman sleeves, so it could be cute or sloppy. Nobody else has made it that way (that I can find), which certainly gives me pause! But I can envision another one of these in the closet, if the right fabric presents itself. Not that I can do any more fabric shopping, given my recent escapade on Fabric Mart's website (details forthcoming).
The pattern review is here and all photos are here.
On the sewing machine right now is a dress that I know I won't wear. I realized halfway through this project that the color is terrible on me. The fabric is a seersucker type denimish with tiny stripes of white, dark gray, and red. These colors individually look fine on me, but their overall effect from a few feet away is a pinkish-blue that is very similar in hue to my skin tone, several shades darker. I look like putty in it. I debated whether to just stop and throw it away, or finish it to wear a couple times and then donate. My enviroguilt stopped me from throwing it away. I am trying to finish the remainder of it with dispatch, taking shortcuts here and there, but it is still driving me crazy.
What is your strategy in this situation? Just toss? How do I talk myself into that?
Thanks to all for the info on your Bernina walking feet in response to my difficulty with it. I tried oiling the needle bar and the foot bar, per Jne4sl's excellent suggestion, but it made no difference. I think I need to face up to putting my machine in the spa and living without it for a while. I'm not sure I *can* live without it! I have been trying to devise projects that can be done entirely on the serger, and/or contemplating actually using my treadle as a sewing machine instead of decoration.