Pure and Simple Shell

This must be my favorite summer top.  I love the simplicity of design; the fit and easy of sewing.  The extended shoulder is very flattering to my narrow shoulders and wide hip.  Tops made from this pattern cycle quickly through my wardrobe. They are so flattering and therefore often in rotation; and the washing machine and the dryer. Which means they wear out quickly and must be replaced equally quickly. I’m sure I’ve made a hundred of these tops. But only one is currently in my closet; a silk Charmeuse that sees little wear because the fabric is delicate. I need more.

As all my other patterns are needing re-fitting, I’m choosing to approach with the idea that this pattern will need some fitting.  I pulled out my pattern pieces and checked the sizing.  The existing tissue was created from the size recommended by the envelope. I pulled out CS1201 for  comparison. While  not being perfectly fitted, there is enough right about CS1201 to help me making length and circumference decisions.  The existing PAS tissue should be good. I’m a bit anxious though and added 1/2″ to the side seams when cutting out my fabric…

which is a 100% cotton canvas.  I like to think of this as homespun but it really isn’t.  It’s a fabric commonly seen in home dec.  I like it for summer garments because it is opaque but still nice and cool (as in low temperature.)  I have just enough yardage to cut the front, back and neckline facings.

I taped the necklines, shoulders and armscyes thinking that would be enough to keep it from raveling away.  Once again I am hopeful that this pattern which has one nicely fitting garment in my closet, will be nearly perfect.

I stitched the bust darts permanently i.e. 2.5 stitch length poly thread top and bobbin.  I stitched the shoulders and side seams using a 1cm (3/8″) seam allowance. Pressed lightly I want the seams to behave but still be able to change them about) before trying on.  I expected that the seam allowances would need to be 1.5CM (5/8″)  I did not expect the apex of the bust dart to be so low.  I was so astonished, I removed all stitching pressed out the front and back and compared with tissue. The fabric matched the pattern.  Next I went upstairs and tried on the current “nicely fitting” silk Charmeuse copy. How did I miss the bust dart being so far below the bust?

I raised the apex 1″ and drew the lines from side seam to the next apex point.  I’m hoping that fixes the issues on this version.  I can move the entire dart for the next (I’m sure there will be many future versions.)  Then I serged the seams not taped. I love this fabric but just trying it on once has created significant fraying when I want none. I stitched dart, shoulder and side seams all with water-soluble thread and at 5/8″ . .  I hope I’ve fix the issue but the wind has been taken out of my sails and I’m proceeding with even more caution.

So looking at new pics (hoping you can compare with the first set above)

I do think that raising the bust dart was a good idea, but I prefer the ease in the first set of pics which will be simple to fix.  Fabric often hangs up on my hip which makes it difficult to critique the back.   I see the vertical lines from shoulder to armscye both front and back.  I think these are just a fact of the extended sleeve plus maybe a little fabric behavior. The silk charmeuse and a long departed light weight knit are the only versions in which that vertical is not prominent; and that’s in all the versions that I’ve made. I’m most concerned about the U’s under the armscye. Similar lines were present in the  5620, the beloved RAL and any pattern in which the armscye is basically a slit. Armscyes which don’t create those U’s are both long enough and wide enough, they are not slits.  At the moment I’m really not sure what I will do to fix the underarm.   But hey, that’s enough words and pics for one post.  I’ll be back when I can think of something else.


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