I’ve used a very different fabric for this version. I’m using a silk boucle “suiting” purchased from Joann’s, Ft Collins Co I think back in 2005-2006. It is a lovely light pink with sort of a dusky cast. I think of it as light rose, but the color companies don’t consult me on color naming. Or anything else for that matter. Back to my fabric which has a lovely drape. It wants to drape closely to the body. Not cling. Drape. Unfortunately it has several undesirable characteristics which have landed the last 2 yards in the “muslin” stack. It ravels. Horribly. I mean you cut the fabric and it ravels. As you stay stitch one side of the neckline, the other ravels and stretches out of shape. As I’m serge finishing one side, the other is wiggling apart. Sheesh. I knew it did this. I’ve made a shell back in 2005/6 which told me all about the fabric’s bad features. Yet I couldn’t bring myself to throw the fabric away. Couldn’t bring myself to work with it either. I did attempt to fuse before cutting. It doesn’t want to lie still during the fusing process which creates a permanently off-grain fabric. (Insert unhappy face). Additionally, fusing with the lightest weight interfacing I had at the time, ruined the drape. It just wasnt’ the same fabric. (Two Unhappy Faces.) To top it all off, the fabric shrinks with every laundering. I hand laundered in the sink, people and it shrank.
I’m at the stage with the pattern that I don’t need a muslin but I wanted to use an elder fabric and reduce the amount of room this silk was occupying. I worked with it this time by cutting a piece. Rolling it up and taking it directly to the ironing board where I fused tape to all the curved edges. Then I marked the only dart and while barely lifting the fabric from the cutting surface, pinned the dart into place and immediately stitched it. I’m hoping that using the hand wash cycle, cold water and my front loading washer (bypassing the dryer) will at least give me a few wearings.
I titled this post “tweaks” because I feel I was fine tuning the pattern. Looking at the end result, I don’t think I want to change the pattern any more, but will adapt for individual fabric at fitting. I trimmed 1/4″ ease from front and back along the center line. I just lined up my ruler along the center front and slashed off 1/8″. The front seems to be swinging forward, so then I angled the ruler and removed 3/8″ at the hem tapering to nothing just under the bust. I transferred the 3/4″ lowered armscye to the pattern which makes for a more comfortable armscye without the side U’s:
even when I raise my arm.
Even though I’m pretty sure the side U’s were corrected by achieving a deep enough armscye ; I can’t help but wonder how much is also fabric effect.
I accidentally made a lovely hem.
I fused stay tape to keep it from raveling during construction. Just before hemming, I serged the edge for a clean finish. I applied 1/2″ fusible tape to the wrong side. Turned up along the serged line and fused the hem into place. Although it would seem to be a lot of bulk, it’s really not. I used the overcast stitch along the hem and armscye edges. My Ruby Designer recommended the J foot which has an offset blade. I bumped the fabric up against the blade and then stitched at a moderately slow speed. The stitch takes 2 forward and 2 to the side. The second side stitch falls just on the other side of the blade i.e. into air. The foot keeps the fabric flat rather than rolling like a zig zag sitch and Foot B. I used a size 12 universal needle and increased the stitch length slightly. I think 3mm but I didn’t write that down so I’m not sure. The effect is similar to using a wing needle for an heirloom hem.
I’m fairly pleased with the garment and thought these would be the final pics until I saw the back view:
I won’t be making an update to this post or any substantial changes to the garment or pattern. I will top stitch both front and back facings. Even though the front facing was easy to flip into place and stayed put during the photo session, I prefer not to fuss with my garments. Top stitching will mean that facing is never a bother. The back facing obviously (to me) needs a little help. I thought it was laying smoothly. Apparently not. I’ll
nail top-stitch it into place too. As usual the back is getting hung up on my bum. The fabric has some nap which contributes to the effect. There is plenty of ease and as seen from the side, the back and front hem are level when the back hangs freely. Since I know this garment is not long for my closet (it’s the fabric that shrinks to non-fitting with the slightest immersion), I choose to experiment with chain or washers in the hem. Both are simple to attach after-the-fact. It will be easy to remember to check for rusting and take a pic with each wearing to see if the extra weight fixes my velcro-butt issue.
I’m never done with this pattern. Never. I already have another version ready in a lovely silk Matka on which I plan to add a front placket and buttons. Afterwards, I want to see if any changes to the pattern are needed for knit fabrics. Mind you, I wouldn’t hesitate to use a stable knit. Wouldn’t give it a thought until fitting. But I think a rayon, ITY or certainly a slinky knit would benefit from a bit of adjustment. That’s all future plans. My summer weather lasts until about the end of October (sometimes the first few weeks of November). I’ll have plenty of time to make and share multiple versions.