So continuing from yesterday, I have decided to use Louise Cuttings My Hearts A Flutter (MHAF or HAF)shell as the basis for my version of Collette’s Sobretto. I realized that the dart in the original was horizontal bust dart and the HAF utilizes an armscye dart. I’ve always liked the armscye dart because it gives me that last second to adjust the armscye and eliminate waterfalls or gaping in a sleeveless shell. But I wanted to be true, OK I wanted to knock off the Sobretto. Also, I just wasn’t all that sure about the rotating darts stuff. “They” said it was simple and easy. But “I” know for a fact that darts often are taken in the place they need to be taken and are not there for any other reason than fit. In the end, I posted a comment at SG asking Louise if I could rotate that dart successfully i.e. without affect the fabulous fit of the HAF. While I waited for her answer, I made my Sobretto.
Don McCunnHow to Make Sewing Patterns had the easiest neatest directions for drafting pleats. His suggestion is to fold paper like you want the final pleats to look like. Then add the paper shape to you pattern and trim the top (bottom or sides as necessary) along the pattern lines. When the paper shape is folded out, all the neat little peaks and valleys needed for a clean sewn pleat will be there ready for you to use as a guideline for cutting your fabric. It also has the advantage of giving you a real good idea of how your pleats will look. For example, I thought the front box pleat of the Sobretto was 2″, but I wasn’t sure. The paper exercise convinced me that whether 2″ was right or not, it was right for me.
My fabric is a high end polyester. Polyester quality is all over the map, so don’t turn your nose up in disgust. But I’m hesitant to buy off the net too. This particular cut I found in Hancocks Sioux Falls SD. I thought it was Rayon. Yeah, seriously or a silk shantung. It was the $14/yard price (on sale) plus the feel that made me think it was a higher quality. I thought the print was breathtaking, the texture and weight fabulous but passed on by when I discovered the 100% polyester tag. Hancocks, like JoAnns, stocks a variety of polyester qualities. It’s hard to judge quality by look at the price tag or feeling the texture. There are many finishes which create the look and feel of quality but wash out quickly; leaving you with a piece of crap instead of the fabulous fabric you paid for. But later I passed by the remnants and spied a 1 yard piece marked $3.79. I pulled it out and opened it up. I know they don’t want you to do that but I wasn’t going home with a damaged piece. Since it was an even yard (and it was) I suspect that some one had it cut thinking it was $4 per yard and then gave it back when the cashier range up $14. People will buy cheap fabric because it is cheap. They won’t buy what they think is cheap fabric for a good price. Polyester is regarded as a cheap fabric. I’m sure someone threw a fit and refused to pay $14 for “cheap polyester”. So, I got a 1 yard piece for less than $4. I”m an oddity of sorts. I think of myself as cautious, conservative, analytical but I am also a risk taker. The feel of this fabric and the reduced price convinced me to take a chance on it. At home, I serged both cut edges and prewashed. This fabric came out of a normal laundry and dry cycle feeling brand new and just like silk. That’s why I know it is NOT a cheap polyester, but high quality yardage.
But it was bi!ch to cut and mark. It is not a crepe, but crawled around on the cutting table like it was alive. I folded and pressed on the grain line TWICE so that I could place my pattern pieces on the folds and have them on the folds. Otherwise the folds wobbled back and forth and I knew would affect the final fit badly. I nailed the pattern to the fabric with pins about every 2 inches. Normally I use one or 2 weights. I’ve learned for crawly fabrics that a few pins are necessary. This fabric needed lots of pins. I didn’t even think of the tissue idea. Maybe next time. I did use my rotary cutters. As I become more skillful, I prefer to use the cutters to the scissors. I’ve gotten skilled enough that I can see the scissors alter the shape just slightly where the cutters create an exact duplicate. Once the drafting was done (adding the box pleat pattern shape) and the pieces cut, I needed to mark the folds for the pleat. I could not draw a straight line. Nope, steel rulers and disappearing ink wouldn’t work. Even the lightest of touches swirled the fabric into a new direction. I tried stitching water soluble thread (top and bottom) on the folded center front and then 1″ to either side. Well I got the center front done correctly. But the fabric would not be still. It would move even though the quilting guide (which is what I was using to measure 1″ away) never touched the fabric. Just the breeze produced by the quilting guide moving forward caused the fabric to move. Finally I slapped my forehead and said “I could have had a V8! ” (Remember those commercials?) I pulled out the Sta Flo liquid starch, poured 1/2 cup in a container and using a sponge stencil brush, painted liquid starch on the center front from neckline to hem about 9 inches wide. I put the top in a mesh bag and threw that into the dryer for 15 minutes. When the dryer buzzed off, I finished by pressing-without steam-the blouse front into a board like object. Now I could mark the pleats easily. I also stitched on the fold line just because I’ve learned that stitching right where you want the fold will encourage the fabric to bend right there.
The rest of the construction process was a breeze. I put the A foot on Ruby. The A foot is the one designed for non-decorative stitches. I used to use my decorative stitch foot all the time without any issues. But because I’ve deliberately been using fabrics I normally acquire but avoid, I’ve discovered that the A foot is my friend. It really does control those fabrics during normal stitching. I also preferred the look of the French Binding to the bias tape of the original. The difference is slight, but I have a 1/8″ wide binding stitched to the inside and therefore invisible rather than the 1/4″ binding visible in Collette’s version. I did changed to the J foot (Viking edge stitch foot) for edge stitching the pleats and top stitching the neckline, armscyes and hem. Yes I decided to edge stitch the pleat. My 5561 with it’s center pleat went into the washer and dryer emerging without pleat. Even though my Sobretto’s center front is stitched to close the box pleat underneath, I wasn’t sure how well the sides of the box pleat would hold their folds; and I didn’t want to find out the hard way like I did with 5561. So I edge stitched the pleats. I like it.
Although I haven’t worn the blouse yet, I like it too. I haven’t worn the blouse because all that starch which controlled the fabric for construction is scratchy and itchy. Far to scratchy and itchy to wear even for the 10 minutes it takes to make photographs. So today, I share the Sobretto finished My Way on Mimie: