Thursday, February 6, 2014

Vogue 8907, Asymmetric Collar/Cape Silk Chiffon Blouse

V8907 Thumbnail

I had never even noticed Vogue 8907 until Allison C showed hers as part of her Italy travel wardrobe and then I *had* to have the pattern.  A pullover top with a cool detail?  Yes please!

I bought the snakeskin print at Chic Fabrics in New York ($10/yd) in November 2011 to force myself to get rid of this wrap top; I didn't make a broad back adjustment on the pattern and the top was just too tight across the shoulders.  But I really loved the fabric and wasn't letting go of it; when I bought the replacement fabric I was forced to rotate the top out of the closet.

I don't like this fabric as much as the fabric in the top I had to get rid of because the huge print motifs were very difficult to manage.  I didn't want to center the medallion thing, but the print repeat is very wide so I basically had to just put it to one side.  It just looks kind of weird.  But I think the large collar/cape sort of minimizes the prominence of the medallions because the cape is the feature, rather than the print.

Match TNT Pattern to Neckline

Since I already have a pullover woven top that fits me (almost) perfectly, I didn't bother using the body of the Vogue.  I just used my TNT, tracing the Vogue neckline onto it.

Cut Cape

As drafted, the cape is cut longer than the blouse and is caught into the hem to create a blouson effect. I didn't have enough fabric to do the full length cape, so I used my large French curve ruler to trace a gentle curve onto the cape.  In cutting, I made the cape as long as I could with the fabric I had left after cutting the body and sleeves.

I also adjusted the neckline of the collar/cape to match the narrower back neckline of my TNT (back necklines on commercial patterns always gape on me) by taking tucks on either side of the center back marking.   I finished the collar with a serged rolled hem.  Easy peasy.

Lining a sheer piece always presents the conundrum:  to line or underline.  I prefer the lining to hang free, but I always get tripped up at the hem.  I have a very hard time getting the hems perfectly aligned with one another, especially when one of the layers is a tricky, slidey, unevenly drapey, impossible-to-keep-on-grain silk chiffon.  I have ruined at least one project at this final step.

Lining with French Seams

Combined with my fabric limitations here I hit on what I thought was a genius solution:  finish the chiffon layer with an opaque hem band, and then the lining would only have to fall somewhere within the confines of that hem band, and if it was a little crooked it would make no difference.  What a relief!  Of course, this added an extra 4 or more hours to the project given I had to construct everything with French seams twice (once for the fashion fabric, once for the lining) and them apply the hem and sleeve bands, but I'd rather spend more time on a garment I will actually wear.

Using the bands also gave me that little extra length of fabric for my collar. Win-win!

French Seam Armscye

The lining is joined with the chiffon at the neckline and the armscyes, hanging free at the side seams and the hem.  I am particularly proud of my best-ever French seams at the armscye.  Look how narrow and perfect!

Turn Cuff To Right Side and Pin

To sew on the bands (both hem and cuff), I first stitched the right side of the band to the wrong side of the fabric.  Then I pressed under the seam allowances on the other edge of the band and folded over to the right side of the fabric.  It's important to make sure that your folded edge extends a little beyond the first pass of stitching so it will be hidden.

Topstitch Cuff on Right Side

Finally I topstitched the bands in place.   Stitch-in-the-ditch while desperately trying to make sure you catch the underside of the fabric is way too much trouble for me.

The walking foot was a huge help with the silk, I don't think I could have gotten smooth hems without it.

FInished Cuffs Inside and Out

This creates a beautiful look inside and out.  I think the topstitching on the outside might bother some people, but it looks like a nice finish to my eyes.

Finished Neckline

To finish the neckline, I used bias tape on all the layers at once--collar, fashion fabric, and lining.  I hand stitched the bias tape to the lining to make sure it stayed flat.


I am in love with this top!  The silhouette is not my usual.  Though it has shape, it is not closely fitted through the waist, and a defined waist with a belt or sash doesn't work with this style.  It can only be worn with jeans because it's too mono-column with a skirt and I don't want to tuck in and risk wrinkling the hem band forever.  But it is not *completely* shapeless and it looks current (at least I feel a little stylish in it).


The cape is interesting and I hope not totally weird, even across the back.

I try not to buy sheer silk fabrics because they are such a pain to work with *and* have to be lined so they feel like quadruple the work of opaque fabrics, but I have (well, had!) two in stash, this gray snakeskin print and a purple floral sheer for summer.  I'm so happy with this pattern that the purple floral will be made into a sleeveless version of this top when the weather gets nice again.  I have only one yard of it so the collar may be quite small indeed.  I'm even considering trying to find a mesh knit that looks good on both sides to do View A, the symmetric cape version.  This pattern is a surprising hit!

All photos are here and the pattern review is here.


Hoosiermama said...

I like a monochrome look and I think this top, which seems inherently dressy, would look very elegant with a straight skirt in light gray.

Trumbelina said...

The fabric you chose for this is perfect. I didn't really "get" the drape in Allison C's version (not my style), but your sheer fabric and contrasting bands are really perfect. I think that smaller drape is more in proportion (to my eye anyway). I am wary of boxy tops–I love how they look...on other people, but yours has just enough shape to look... well... shapely and trendy. In short, I frickin' love this. I hope you show us all the purple floral sheer when it's done!

Digs said...

Great job - the drape is terrific, you did a great job on its edge. I'm about to embark on a chiffon exercise myself; instead of lining, I plan to use a double layer and the gelatin method to stabilize the fabric.

Lynn said...

A triumph! So unusual and elegant.

Helena said...

This looks great! I love it!

Kelly D. said...

Very nice! It has a lovely ethereal quality, and the print placement looks great to me.

Nancy K said...

It's lovely. Your changes work very well.

kathy said...

Looks trendy to my eye too.

Vanessa said...

This top is so nice on you!

Anonymous said...

Nice top! I have a jcrew chiffon top. The top shrank in the wash, but the lining didn't. So now I just tuck the lining in. So don't let that lining discourage you from sewing more chiffon tops, band or no band. =)

Venus de Hilo said...

Beautiful, elegant top! Popping on over to Vogue right now to check out that pattern...

badmomgoodmom said...

Super-cute top! It looks way better than the pattern envelope.

Re "I had to construct everything with French seams twice (once for the fashion fabric, once for the lining) and them apply the hem and sleeve bands, but I'd rather spend more time on a garment I will actually wear."

You may need to change the name of your blog. FWIW, I agree with you.

I've seen some cute silk chiffons at a local odd jobber. You've inspired me. If you want some, let me know which colors I should keep an eye out for.

Little Hunting Creek said...

So pretty! And those are some awesome French seams. Id be tempted to wear it inside out to dhow them off. I overlooked this pattern too, but now I see it has potential

Anonymous said...

Yet another pattern I need to add to my hoard...erm...collection. ;-) I thought this pattern looked dorky when I went through the pattern catalog, but your version is sexy and chic!

becki-c said...

I may have to knock it off.

Judith Stansky said...

Elegant and versatile. I can see this with a crepe de chine column skirt or floaty slacks. Brava.

Audrey said...

Your top is really lovely. Chiffon is a PIA to sew but it was the perfect fabric for this style. I really like the look of the solid bands used to trim the hems.

Linda said...

This is a pretty top. I like the sleeve bands as well as at the hemline. Pretty fabric.

AllisonC said...

I really like the changes you made to this top, adding sleeves and making the drape smaller change the look completely, and probably make it more wearable too. I've used this pattern twice and I don't think I am done with it yet.

SEWN said...

Love this top and the little built in capelet. Super cute.

McVal said...

I really like the drape of the cape across the back!

Anonymous said...

Oh wow, that's incredible! Do you ever make an item and put it on and, for a brief instant think to yourself "THIS is my personality, sewn into a garment!"? Fresh and pretty and fun and interesting in the best possible ways!!

How lovely!