Friday, September 28, 2012

Manequim 04-2012-216, Cowl Sleeve Top

Manequim 04-2012-216 Thumbnail

Melissa made this top a while back and I was very intrigued.  It's a twist on the cowl top with the cowl at one of the sleeves instead of the neckline.  I thought it might be a good pattern for a special piece of silk that just can't decide what it wants to be.

I found the magazine on eBay and getting it was a drama.  The Post Office left me a peach notice slip, which I dutifully signed.  The next day they left another one, which I again signed.  Then they sent the package back to Brazil.  Then I had to pay shipping *again.*  Finally, it got to me.  I was *quite* annoyed with the USPS and sent them an email, which they assured me would be answered in 24 hours.  Three months later I'm still waiting.

Anyway, tracing this pattern was crazy!  The pattern sheets are about as dense as the new Burda sheets, but actually slightly easier as most of the items only come in one size and therefore have only one set of lines.

This is in 5 different pieces, as I recall, that you then have to connect once you have them traced.  The final pattern piece is HUGE.  This photo does not convey, but I can tell you that I cut on my dining table, which seats 4, and the pattern piece is hanging off the edge.  HUGE.

This top comes only in size 44, which is somewhere between a Burda 42 and 44.  I wear a 34-->38 (transitioning from bust to hip) in Burda, so sizing was a concern.  Before I started tracing I naively thought I might be able to do some grading but seriously, no. 

So instead I went slapdash, my default mode.  I figured I'd need to narrow the cowl armscye and generally make the whole thing smaller in circumference.  I also thought I'd probably need to shorten it between shoulder and armscye.

I folded out width as follows:
 -Shortened at non-cowl armscye in front (1 inch)
-Narrowed back neckline (1 inch)--I still ended up putting in back neck darts
-Narrowed the cowl armscye (8 inches) tapering as I reached the hem (4 1/2 inches)

Attempted Tissue Fit

I thought it might be helpful to do a tissue fit.  Ha!  There are some disadvantages to tissue paper, LOL.  I first tried to do it on my body, but I really couldn't get any information out of that.  So then I put it together on my paper tape dress form.  Um, yeah.  Without drape, it was really impossible to tell what was going to happen in fabric.

So I just went ahead and cut it out in this very drapey silver poly satin from the G Street $2.97/yd table.  I bought it for lining.  Before I had it cut, I shook it vigorously to try to create static electricity.  When none developed I was satisfied and bought five yards.  Well, I think that was just a particularly humid day because it is indeed extremely staticky and therefore not useful as lining.  Grrr.

Band Show-Through

As I was putting it together I determined that I should have shortened the shoulders in the back, so I took up an extra inch there.

All in all, the fit isn't too bad.  Because it's meant to be a drapey style the same size can fit a fairly wide range of figures.  Melissa found to her surprise that the cowl sleeve doesn't reveal her bra.  It does on me, unfortunately.  Not terribly much and only if I lift my arm up and away.

Neckline and Armscye Finish

This fabric was not fun to cut--very difficult to keep on grain.  I sewed it with French seams, and finished the neckline and non-cowl armscye with bias tape.  I tried cutting bias strips of self fabric, but it was just too wiggly to get it right, and the fabric doesn't take a press very well.  Although it doesn't look like it in the flat, the bias tape does not show in wearing.  I topstitched the bias tape in place 1/4" from the edge. The cowl armscye and hem are turned and stitched.

I gathered the cowl armscye shoulder by hand and then hand-stitched a decorative band in place encircling it.


Alas, this pattern will not do for my special silk.  I really like the cowl armscye and think the drape is especially interesting from the back.  But the front is pretty plain and blah.  I don't think it looks quite as bad as in the photo at left, but not a whole lot better either.

The pattern is quite interesting--very Japanese.  The patterns in the Drape Drape books are generally one piece like this, which creates interesting drape as the grain moves around the garment.

I won't be making this again, so if you'd like the tracing (let me be clear--the tracing, *not* the magazine) let me know in the comments below.  Please make sure I have some way of contacting you; to protect your email from spam harvesters add spaces and write out words such as "at" and "dot."

All photos are here and the pattern review is here.


puu said...

i'm sorry you don't like it, because i actually think it is really flattering on you. the cowl sleeve and back draping are a cool change-up (i think) from what we sewists usually look for in a garment (front design interest, i guess?).

i've long admired this pattern--like you, i saw it from melissa. i would LOVE the tracing. i am not sure how you will work it out, but count my name in...

devviepuu at gmail dot com

Karin said...

I can't help but wonder whether the fabric is the problem. Melissa's looked great in real silk. On this version, I agree that all the interest is in the back and under your arm! Then again, if a muslin doesn't look promising I wouldn't have the enthusiasm to keep going either. There are so many tempting patterns to try.

LinB said...

I like the pattern on you! I am of an age that no one needs to see my bare arms in public, ever again (are you listening to me, X? Because it scars my eyeballs when you come to see me and I have to watch your arm flab jiggle. I love you, but put on a shirt with sleeves next time, lol.) With a printed fabric, the front wouldn't be so "blah." Or ... gasp ... do a version with the cowl under EACH arm.

Adelaide B said...

Huh. I don't think I would have ever even tried this style. I think it suits you though. Also, I think I like the silver fabric.

T. Sedai said...

Hmmm... I have to agree with other comments that perhaps in a different fabric the drape would be a bit different and more pronounced. On the other hand, I have to agree with you that if you have a very special fabric, this might not be the best pattern for it. I think it is a nice blouse, but maybe not as special as it needs to be for fabric you have been saving for a while.

Trumbelina said...

I recently became interested in this magazine. The final top looks really cool, but I understand not wanting to make it again. The style looks really good on you, especially with your new Jeggings!

Anonymous said...

I kind of like it. I think that a different fabric might be better, but it's still pretty on you. I think it would be cool to do another version with the drape on both sides.

Clio said...

I have a RTW top that is VERY similar to this (it's Kenneth Cole), the difference being that it's a drapey knit and the hem is asymmetrical. So, I agree with everyone else that maybe the fabric is to blame.

That said, this top is exactly my style and I think it's pretty awesome on you - especially the back.

Judith said...

Well you gave it a go, which is what sewing is all about! I don't mind the look of it, but I think, like you, that it needs a bit more in the front - how hard would it be to draft in a touch more drape??? Thanks for reviewing this...

Carol said...

I think this looks great on you,too. It's a really fun design. It would be great in a really busy print and I love it with your incredible jeggings.

McVal said...

You have been busy! Adorable top!

Mrs. Micawber said...

Still rockin' the jeggings!

This is a fascinating pattern. I wonder if it would be possible to get equal drape on the front of the arm as well? Might add some interest that way.

ana5059 said...

Nice outfit the jeans and the top!!

Anonymous said...

I have been reading you blog anonymously and admire your skills, I am rediscovering sewing so to speak. I think your top looks good and casual, especially the way you have styled it.

Having said that I would like to put my name forward for the tracing, I think I would enjoy the challenge. Many thanks.

KDatterdeen at hotmail dot com

velosewer said...

The top has worked and the jeggings look good too.

meli88a said...

Very edgy and perfect with those jeggings -- you look ridiculously cool. Like, too cool to talk to, that kind of cool.

anne k said...

Very chic on you. Keeper!
Don't count me in - my arms are way too old for sleeveless now. Boo hoo.

Linda said...

Cute top. Love your shoes!