I started this blog about a year ago, and my first post was about tops I made from a self-drafted flared pattern with a high to low hem. I’ve returned to the same pattern. I love this pattern. It’s so simple and so adaptable.
One reason I made this top this “medium” length is because that way it can function both as a top and as an underskirt. This is my Olivia Wrap, which could really use an underskirt, or something, as light does shine through.
The fabric is a really soft bamboo jersey. I hope it holds up and doesn’t pill right away. I think it was comments by Kate of Fabrickated that I should wear more soft greys that impelled me to actually slap money down for this at this particular time.
When I finished that one, I pulled out some other fabric that I bought recently as a roll end, at a drastic reduction. It’s a merino wool that very few stores in town sell, but that I’ve been drooling over ever since I discovered it last year (and made a short sleeveless version of this pattern with). This fabric was so wide that I could make the front and back panels side by side, and have a more or less maxi length shift with 3/4 sleeves.
I got the idea for the diagonal zipper after reading a post by Lori from Frivolous at Last, in which she showed some new patterns she bought. One of them had a diagonal zip, and I thought it looked fabulous. I think this magenta zip totally brightens the pea-green of the fabric. I think it’s pea green? Is it pea green? In some light it looks more golden-khakiish. Anyway I love the colour, as I tend to love colours that sort of slant away from the primaries.
I spent a few days mulling over how to cut the fabric and install the zipper. I knew if I just slashed the fabric on the diagonal, it could stretch way out of shape and I’d never get it back together. I’ve read some bloggers who have talked about using fusible non-stretch interfacing on stretch knit closures, so I thought I would try that, but I didn’t know where the interfacing should go — on the part that folds under, on the part that doesn’t fold under, or on both? After some experimentation I decided to put it on the part that folded under, so I cut a one inch wide strip and placed it where I wanted it. But I was really hesitant to fuse it to the fabric, you know? So I dawdled and sewed two parallel lines down the middle. I figured I would cut between those two parallel lines. Then, when I had confirmed and reconfirmed about a million times that this was the right placement for the zip, and that it would start at exactly the right place by the sleeve, and end at exactly the right place by the hip, I ironed on the interfacing, cut the fabric plus interfacing between the two lines of stitching, folded top and bottom pieces half an inch and pinned on the zip.
Then I knew I had a problem. The zip, of course, is totally inflexible. The jersey, when pinned to it, looked a little bit rippely, or wavey, as if there was too much fabric for the length of the zip. I knew it would have to be eased in while sewing. I pulled out my walking foot. But the walking foot isn’t designed for zippers, so I had to experiment,again, with a spare zipper, to see if it would march right along on top of the zipper teeth. And it did! That walking foot as a tank, man. It’ll march over anything.
I’d say this zipper installation is about the closest I could possibly come to perfection. There’s no gap between the top of the zip and the sleeve and the zip lies perfectly. It’s not, by the way, on a straight diagonal. I put in a very slight curve. And it’s fully functional!
I’m not entirely sure what to do about the bottom hem. The missing part of the front is where I cut the sleeves. It created a steep low to high curve. Should I keep it, or make it more gradual? At the last moment I decided the sleeves would be too short if I turned them over to hem them, so instead I made facings which I attached to the sleeves, thereby actuallly lengthening the sleeves a bit.
Crone robes, yesss. Fashion for the boomer wise-woman!
Hmm. Looking a little too much like the good shepherd here. The belt is some kind of leash — for a dog? a horse? A yard-sale find. The sandals are a Salvation Army Thrift Store special. They actually have my name stamped on the leather insole — my name is the brand name of the shoe. Can you believe that?
I’ve noticed that among sewing bloggers there are those that love high-low hems and those that don’t. I love them for shorter tops, thigh-length tunics and maxi shifts primarily because they elongate my body. I’m about two inches shorter than I should be 😛 Everyone in my genetic family is taller than I am. And the length I’m missing is from my legs. They’re too short for my torso. So anything that lengthens my legs is good, anything that lengthens all of me is good, and anything that hides where my legs stop and my torso starts is good.
Anyway, I know it’s rude to talk money, but I want to say that this little number cost all of $10 CAD. I’m sure it would be way out of my price range in a store. Just one of the joys of sewing.