Difficult duo

A few months ago I was lucky enough to pick up about a yard and a quarter of some silk chiffon. I thought it would work for a sleeveless top to wear with one or two of my “dress-up” skirts. I also picked up an older New Look pattern, which included a simple top.

I decided to make it first in some linen, left over from making a pair of pants a few years ago. When I studied the pattern instructions, I figured it would be a snap. And it would have been, if the size bore any relation to the measurements indicated. I took this thing in. And took it in again. And again. What started as a size 14 is now about a 10, at least through the armhole and sides.

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I also had to re-angle the bust darts to lower the points. The thing is still too big across the top of the chest. This I don’t understand. Usually something with a shallow oval neckline hangs nicely on me and looks good. I slapped a pocket on (possibly crooked!) to break up the vast expanse. The top is alright — I’ll wear it because it’s simple and I love the linen. I like the bottom shirttail-like hem. And I learned a new to me technique about facings. The facings encompass both armholes and neck. The instructions were to attach the front facing to the front, and then to slip that between the back facing and the back. When sewing the back facing to the back, you also sew all four shoulder seams together. The result is that the shoulder seams are hidden in the facings. Pretty cool that.

The silk chiffon presented a whole new set of challenges. After I finished cutting out the front, with a slightly dull rotary cutter, and discovered the fabric would not lie still, I almost ditched the whole thing.

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I decided to press fusible interfacing to the facings before cutting them, and that worked. And scissors seemed to work better than the rotary cutter. I did manage very nice rolled hems, following instructions I had read on another blog just a week earlier. In fact, I would have to say my sewing machine loved the fabric. The only real problem was cutting it.

So now I have at least two new outfits.

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I don’t know if I’ll use this pattern again. I like an oval neckline, and I like the side slits and the bottom. Also, there’s a slight curve in the centre back seam, which is nice. But I don’t like how it fits across my upper chest. How can something so simple, not hang properly from the shoulders??

Just call me angel . . . in a napkin

I ended my last post by saying I’d be refashioning a table cloth for next time. I just can’t use that horrible, horrible phrase, “and now for the big reveal”. I can’t. You know?? It must be the ugliest phrase in the English language.

So, anyway, this is me, dressed in a table cloth.

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Pretty angelic, yes?

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It was a huge tablecloth, which I found at the local Sally Ann (does everybody know that nickname for the Salvation Army?) I almost left it behind (afterall, I didn’t know its provenance) but it was a fabulous, floppy, snow white cotton jacquard. It’s so hard to find nice cottons in Vancouver. Ninety percent of the cotton fabrics in town are quilting cottons, and maybe 8 percent are standard, basic, boring shirting fabrics. Which leaves the odd nice bolt scattered among the six fabric stores. So, I imagine it covering the long rectory table in some vicar’s cottage next to the oldest church in town, lilacs and violets in chrystal vases on its surface. Provenance, done.

The top is the first pattern I ever purchased through Pattern Review, because of reviews I saw at the site. When I received the pattern, and saw the envelope pix, I realized I would have overlooked it in the pattern book. It really doesn’t look like much. It’s Butterick 6024. I made a few changes. I raised the front and back neckline a bit. I replaced the elastic at the sleeve ends with a flat cord. I changed the hem design. The pattern has the front hem straight across, with a dip occurring only in the back panel. I cut the front and back to have the dip start in the front. A much nicer look, if you ask me.

This was my first pintuck operation, and my first woven bias binding neckline. I’m happy with how they both turned out. I love this top 🙂

The pants (shortened because I couldn’t get the whole length out of the table cloth after I’d cut out the pieces for the top) are burda 7400, which is a pattern I used once before. As I was laying out the (two) pattern pieces, I realized that I had mistakenly cut one of them for a size xxxxl! No wonder the previous pants I had made just weren’t right.

The pattern shows wide ribbing folded over at the waist. I didn’t do that the first time, and I didn’t do it this time either. Instead, I cut a rectangle and made a casing for elastic, sewing the casing to the top of the pants. It worked well. I have such a small difference between hip and waist that there isn’t much bunching. I may add belt loops so I can wear a belt with them too.

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I was so happy with these pants that I immediately took apart the previous pair I had made, cut away about an inch and a half from each of the two back pieces and sewed them back together. I like this pattern because it’s a great compromise between fitted pants and elastic waist pants. The pants fit pretty close to the body, and a belt hides the elastic waist casing. The side seams are not at the sides, but closer to the front. That means the pockets lie flat and won’t bulge out at the sides.

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These are obviously not “good” pants, but they are a general utility pant more comfortable for me than blue jeans. I love the green “railroad” stripes. For my next pair, I may put in a fly.