Category Archives: SilhouettePatterns

Silhouette Patterns 611, Maggie’s Blouse

I knew I wanted this collar as soon as I saw the envelope

I didn’t even need to see the POM broadcast  although I did. Watch the broadcast that is.  I  liked it so well, I even worked sewing  it into the que pretty quickly.

I traced my normal sizing i.e. Size 4 across the shoulder and bust with 1/2″ added to waist and hips.  I found the interesting 2-piece blouse sleeve during tracing.  Usually I see the 2-piece sleeve in conjunction with a jacket or coat. It is possible to achieve a superior fit with this type sleeve so I’m surprised I haven’t seen it more widely used. But this is Summer.  High Summer in South Dakota where you are lucky I am even wearing clothes and sewing instead of sitting in front of the A/C. So  I did not trace the sleeve.  I made a sleeveless blouse.    I made  my 5/8″  shoulder slope  and 5/8″ round back alterations before fetching my recently received armscye templates.   OMG these are wonderful.  I slipped the acetate sheet for the sleeveless armscye under my tissue paper ; aligned at the new shoulder point and underarm; then traced.  So e-a-s-y.  I’ve been using manila folders cut along my favorite armscyes. Using the templates was even better. Well worth the few $$$.

My fabric is a rayon challis, but I must say I’m a little disappointed. It is a recent purchase and lacks the body, the heft of the challis that I had fallen in love with and have  been purchasing for years.

I am well acquainted with the shawl collar.  Did some serious testing way back when.  I was using La Fred’s Athena Blouse which had a beautiful wing, shawl-collar plus square-set armscyes.

I don’t think you can find the Athena pattern any more.  Mine is preserved with fusible interfacing.  Point is, the winged shawl collar and square armscyes were a challenge. A challenge I spent several hours; days  trying to find an easy sewing procedure that would also produce professional results. Oh BTW, this was before the Internet.  I had a few dressmaking references; a few friends and a lot of scraps on which to practice. Morale of the story is, I never forgot that quest for knowledge.

Which made sewing SP611 very easy.  I well remembered that hard-won knowledge. I measured and marked exactly on the stitching line at the square corner of the collar and the neck edge of the shoulder.   I stay stitched exactly on the sewing line.  Reinforced the stitching with Frey Check; clipped  when dry.  Clipped all the way into the corners.  If you want a clean, angular  turn, you can’t leave a thread uncut.    I stitched the undercollar CB seam together; carefully pressed. Pinned the CB in place and then pinned the square corner. The instructions will always have you sewing this in one fell swoop i.e. across one shoulder, across the back neck, across the other shoulder.  Doesn’t work for me.  I always manage to get a little fold/pleat or miss stitching something.  For me, I pin the next place I’m stitching–leave the rest free to move about. Start by pinning and stitching from CB to the neck -edge of the shoulder and stop. Repeat on the other side again pin then stitch from CB to neck edge of that shoulder.  Check carefully then stitch from shoulder neck-edge to shoulder armscye edge and repeat on the other side.  Yes, I am sewing 4 lines of stitching. Short lines.  I am pinning, starting, stopping and checking 4 different times.  Then I serge finish the edge in the one-fell swoop not worrying about corner. Just zoom, serge, done.  As long as I follow this procedure, I produce a perfect shawl collar. Everytime.  If I don’t follow my procedure I goof it up. Everytime. Adding the facing then is a breeze. Pretty much straight quick sewing. Confession, I serge the facing to the blouse.  I stop to understitch the collar and press carefully. But I happily serge.  For this blouse I stitched-in-the-ditch to secure the facing to the blouse at the neckline.  The collar and front edges are all top-stitched at 1/4″ and the  facings are  secured at the shoulder-armscye.

I am disliking this fabric.  It wants to cling. I have another picture where the back hangs perfectly but the pic is fuzzy/out-of-focus.  I hope this is not the ‘new normal’ for rayon challis. I’d be very disappointed.

My standard 5/8″ shoulder slope is usually enough to remove these drag lines. On this side, I’ve also done a 1/4″ lower shoulder adjustment. which means I stitch the right shoulder seam 1/4″ deeper than the left.   Actually, I am hoping the drag lines are the fault of  the fabric and not the need for further fitting adjustments refinements.  It could be the underarm business. At the last second I decided the armscye needed to hug my body just a little more. While the rest of the side seam is sewn 1/2″ deep,  at the armscye it increases to 3/4″.

Like the Athena,  I am unlikely to have more than 1 version of  Maggie’s Blouse  in each seasonal wardrobe.  It isn’t a one-and-done but is unique enough to be remembered–unlike a T-shirt.  I’m looking forward to the fall and winter versions just so I can try out that sleeve.

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SP518

Walter’s Front Ti-e Blouse is another new Silhouette Patterns for fall 2108 that I just had to try. Unfortunately it’s the kind of style that feels great and looks good on other people.

I began to have reservations when I copied the pattern pieces.  I was not expecting the front horizontal seam. My fault. I know.  I just didn’t see it even in the schematic. I don’t like to draw a line across my big ol’ tummy or my generous seat. So if I’m going to wear a horizontal seam, it will be up in the Empire zone.   My best line is a center vertical seam. Even the princess seams  are better lines on me. I didn’t attempt to change the position of the horizontal line. I like to make a pattern pretty much as it is designed the first time. I mean, other than making needed fitting changes.

Which weren’t many. I made back and front shoulder slope adjustments, round back adjustment and added 1″ to the back 3/8″ to the front side seams.

 

Hey, for you guys always wanting a blouse with a 2-piece sleeve, you need to buy this pattern now. The two piece sleeve is the only sleeve I know of which really allows a trim, perfect, arm fit.  Love it in coats and jackets but I’m usually not dissatisfied with my top/blouse sleeves and prefer the faster flat-sleeve construction. IOW I substituted the 1-piece sleeve from SP600. SP518 has a lovely curved cuff which –er– I also did not use. I prefered my LH5202 version. I just fold up the SP600 sleeve to shorten it and then use the LH5202 cuff I copied.  The sleeve is slightly long which is my fault. I did not fold the sleeve up enough this time.

Not helping was that I decided I wanted a looser fit blouse and did not use the back darts. But that wouldn’t have helped those wrinkles along the back sides. They totally surprised me. Since I’ve been adding a 5/8″ RBA and 5/8″ should slope adjustments, I have NOT had back wrinkles.

I really struggled with the front

I wanted to make it exactly as Peggy directed.  Even re-watched the Classic Blouse SP600 Sew Along.  I’m using a silk fabric.  I knew it might be a challenge. It has wanted to slide around the stack  since I bought it 4 years ago from Fabricmartfabrics. Beautiful color. Silk. I mean, real SIIIIIIILK.  It is that classic smooth shiny stuff that slides about.  I spray starched the yardage 4 times. F_O_U_R before pressing and laying out with pattern on top. Most of the construction was smooth and easy. Can’t fault Peggy’s draft, ever. Even with my changes the pieces practically put themselves together. BUT I could not get the front plackets to fold evenly. I would press flat. Carefully fold and smooth the iron along the fold  while periodically burning/steaming my fingers. I did each side 3 times. 30 minutes of scorching my fingers.I even marked the folds using a ruler and chalk.  I’d fold along the line give it a fingernail press before the iron and it would unfold creating a wobbly, very amateurish, front band under the iron. Practically in tears,   I gave up.  Made the front the old-fashioned way with facings,  stitched right-sides-together and inverted.  Since the placket was such a b%tch, I tossed the collar too.  I’d say I’m an intermediate/advanced sewists.  I do well enough that people rarely ‘know’ I’ve sewn something. There are somethings I just can’t sew well. Others, like this collar, that I struggle with and usually get 99% right. I wasn’t struggling with this collar after having flubbed a very simple placket. Not doing it.

Blouse feels great but looks terrible. It’s probably on the way to Goodwill. I even tried  something interesting to hold the front ties.  But it does not work. On me. All the models and pins I saw of similar garments looked fab, just stylin’ with their beautiful front ties.  The ties add weight to my tummy and on me, there is too much excess fabric created by the pleat. The upper bodice just folds in flat like my non-bra wearing grandmothers’ bosoms.  Not a look I ever liked or wanted to wear. Even if I shortened the sleeves, I’d have to rip open the front and figure out how to remove most of the excess and then I’d still have the bad-for-me- line and those ties.

I wasn’t expecting those exact ties.  I thought they would be inserted in the vertical front dart. Again, my fault. I should have looked at the schematic more closely.  I saw what I wanted to see. The two-piece front, especially where it was divided,surprised me. The ties looked too large. I thought at first I was supposed to fold them in half. The instructions clearly show cutting 4, stitching 2-each together and inverting. Even my silk seemed too thick for that treatment. I should have stopped right then and just roll-hemmed. But I didn’t. I kept doggedly following the directions. Even when  alarms sounded over how  the ties were sewn in along the seam line. My ties were too heavy.  I had a heck of a time getting that seam straight. I had to baste the pleat on the upper-blouse, baste the tie onto pleat, then baste the seam before serging. Oh and talk about having a time figuring the pleat out. The instructions say bring the two dots together.  I didn’t mark any dots. Thought “Hold on. This happened to me on 418.” For 418 I just guessed by looking at the pic. My guess turned out right. I decided this time I needed to go back and find the dots and figure out how I was missing them. Well,  I couldn’t find any dots. Couldn’t find any circles  I was thinking maybe a unfilled dot?  Wondered if the dots were on the plus versions. I mean she did include two sleeve strips. Same size. Same titles. But exact same piece. No difference in length that I detected.  Maybe she made a second error and forgot the dots on the regular sizes. I couldn’t find dots.  I re-read instructions. All I see are the T’s she uses for notches.  I figured that one out, long ago and pretty easily. But I didn’t expect  a T to be a dot. Now I know.

Look I’ve seen a lot of great versions of very similar blouses. Have not seen 518 on Pattern Review, yet but I’m sure someone will post a beautimus version. The style doesn’t work for me.  I may wear a few times as an underlayer i.e. with vest, cardigan or jacket on top. But I don’t predict a long stay in my life and I won’t use the pattern again. YMMV

SP418: Construction and Fitting

During cutting, I added 1/2″ to the side seams of front, back and sleeves. I do believe 418 will fit perfectly. Especially since I compared with my sloper and made changes reflected during the comparison.  Well I believe 99% that 418 will fit.  The  1% of doubt starts at my having learned the hard way that a new fabric, even if I’used similar fabrics before with the same pattern, well a new fabric +old pattern can = bad fit.  Pant fit is  especially vulnerable to a change in fabric. Today, though,  I also plan to use the back darts .  I rarely use them. I’m not even sure I used  back darts during SP600’s original fitting. I plan to  do so for 418 so I’m allowing a little fudge room.

As expected the neck kicked my rear. OK it wasn’t that bad but I did have to concentrate some effort. I cut the front, marked for the dart and marked the neck box with 3/8″ seam allowance lines.  I get the best angles if  I chalk them and then stitch on the chalked line. Then I Frey Checked and clipped to the corners. I am forever greatful to the sewing sage who shared a corner-cutting insurance tip. Yes it starts with marking, then basting but finishes with a straight pin placed across the corner

As long as that pin is there, I cannot ruin a clip. Wherever you are, Sewing Sage, I bow 3 times to you.

I had a little issue folding the pleat as well. The instructions say to fold so that  Circle 1 is about 1/4″ on the other side of Circle 2.  Where were the circles?  I never saw them.  Reminds me of a recent Pattern Review post in which the poster complained bitterly about her frustrating experience due to SP inaccurate instructions. This is the 3rd time I’ve fallen in a black whole trying to follow instructions which I either don’t understand or can’t find the designated markings. OK must be my fault, but I was so glad to read that someone else had  a similar experience. I finally looked at the pics of the pleat and figured that the right bottom corner  was supposed to fold over just past the left bottom corner and then I should stitch 2 lines parallel and below.  I put just 5 stitches vertically to hold my corner placement before making those 2 lines of stitches.  Probably totally unnecessary. It’s just that I personally need to make an extra effort to make things really crisp and precise. Pinning just doesn’t do it for me. I seem to be able to pull pinning apart at the critical juncture. So I make strategic stitching before hand.

I have a “sad face” to share during fitting. Well, just for a couple of things. The inserted sleeve, was shorter than I expected. Because I basted and did not attach the cuff, I have a few choices.  I could cut a wider cuff. Possible but not what I really want. I could trim the sleeve from an awkward ‘tween long and 3/4 to a proper 3/4 sleeve.  I really wanted a fully sleeve, but this is a good possibility. Could also piece the sleeve to the correct length. Well I’ve got a whole Pinterest Board of possible sleeve saves. I probably should read and consider all of them.  No matter what I decide to do, I will correct the sleeve so that the full length is full length on my arm.

My  2nd sad face was made when I basted between armscye and hem. The back is 1/2″ longer than the front.  Nothing in the pic, the broadcast, or the pattern instructions hint at a high-low hem.  Mostly likely this happened way back when I marked the “Hem Change Line”. Obviously I marked it wrong. Easy correction now, just trim the back; and for next time draw the line 1/2″ lower. No big deal, but it was a surprise.

I was tickled pink with a couple of things Yep couple of happy faces too. The circumference is fine.  I am glad though that I added the 1/2″.  I stitched on the original lines i.e before adding the ease.  I think I would like this pattern, this fabric to be just a little more roomy. When I put in the permanent stitching, I’ll angle it out to give myself a little more style room. Lastly, super pleased with the back.

No indication of tightness of insufficient length along the back. Love it.

And finished…..

My blouse is gorgeous!

 

Silhouette Patterns 418: Fisher Pleated Blouse

I save blouses crossing my Pinterest feed when they are similar to SP418 (above ).

I love the soft-folded, front-pleat which disappears into an easy, flowing front blouse.

I know this style was popular a decade or two ago. Maybe three?  I don’t remember why I didn’t make one at the time. (Possibly working took up my spare/sewing time?)  So now as very similar blouses cross my feed, I not only saved them but I tried to remember how it would be constructed.  It seemed to me  it was easy. Very simple. But I could not remember in the construction sequence or neckline shape in detail. As I pinned these blouses,  I kept hoping that at some point Pinterest would serve up the front pleat  details. Last week I was shouting “Hallelujah” when, in her  weekly video Peggy Sagers shared SP 418 in the New Fall Patterns. It was the exact blouse I was jonesing to make.  I bought 418 immediately!  Well I loved, wanted and bought all 4 new fall pattern, even though I had little hope of *fitting the pant #3218.

Happily, I got started today by pulling out the tissue pieces and separating the 5-8W sizes/pieces  from the 1-4 sizes. Well OK, first I admired my stash of fabrics, fondled a few lovingly and  wondered which would be best as the first(test).   Then separated the sizes and since I’m not all that chesty folded up and put away the C and D cup fronts.   Next was comparing 418 with my Woven Top Sloper SP 600. If you’ve never sewn with Silhouette Patterns, I agree whole-heartedly with Peggy’s recommendation for making a muslin and testing.  Why?  Because Peggy uses SP600 as her woven-top base.  She creates so many patterns starting with SP600 and then adding the variation. For us, this practice creates a very welcome situation in which whatever is needed to make SP600 fit, is needed for every pattern which Peggy used 600 for the base.   My comparisons showed that the biggest differences would be the (1)length and shape of the front and back hems; (2) the length and cuff of the sleeve and (3)the neckline shape  I did not trace 418 back.  I placed 600 on top and marked my previously determined ” Hem Changes Line”. Then I traced the bottom-back of 418.

I made the blue Hem Changes lines months ago on my sloper SP600. You won’t have this line on your pattern (unless you created one yourself) and you won’t find it on any of Peggy’s patterns.  This is a “me” thing because one of the changes I love making is an alteration to the hem.  Instead of making a whole new back pattern piece,  I make a  piece that can be pinned in place onto the back whenever I have the urge to use that particular hem shape/length again. When I finish this first 418, I will keep the hem piece with my fitted 418 pattern pieces. The rest of the back will be placed into the envelope with the rest of my SP600 sloper pattern pieces. (I hope that made sense.)

SP600 back with SP418 Hem curve pinned in place

I traced the entire front  of 418 because not only did the hem change, but Peggy has rotated the dart to the traditional/common and my 2nd favorite position  horizontal-at-the-bust. Next following Peggy’s instructions, I raised the front neckline depth 4″.

During the broadcast, Peggy said we really don’t need to raise it but the most modest would find  4″ would be more than enough.

After walking the sleeve cap of 418 with 600, I traced my SP600 sleeve. All SP patterns I’ve used so far are too tight in the bicep for me. Instead of working it out through a muslin, I copy my fitted 600; mark 418’s  cuff line and slash.  I copied the cuff.  For the most part, I like Peggy’s style decisions and cannot criticise her drafting skill at all. I want to use her cuff once but not this time.  I want to concentrate on the neckline. So I will use my fitted sleeve modified for Loes Hines 5202 cuff. Love that cuff. Absolutely The LH cuff has become my all time favorite. my favorite. No pics. Well I made a pic but I couldn’t see a thing.

Did not copy the back neck facing..  I hate little fussy facings.  I want either something big I can get my hands on  and manipulate or I want to use bias tape, elastic or FOE.  Blah on picayune, raveling POC facings. Not tracing them. Not giving them a second thought.

Now I was ready to select fabric.  I narrowed my selections down to a beautiful polyester crepe-de-chine.  Love the print but this is one version of polyester fabric that doesn’t work for me. Most of the time poly is no problem and I am happy for that. But poly crepe de chine is IMO weird.   Hard to explain, but  I am cold when I wear blouses of crepe chine, while at the same time  I am sweating and over-heated. How can that be? I don’t know but I do find that a cami of natural fibers helps. This crepe de chine is in my stash because I couldn’t resist the print.  It contains camelias (I think) on a blue and black background. Wait,  I know that is not a blue background it is purple.  I checked with my 3-in-1 tool and  it is definitely  purple.  In my mind it is blue. I’m wrong. Since I really don’t love crepe-de-chine especially in polyester if I make a beautiful garment or bomb totally, it  will be fine.

At this point, I checked my machines. Serger has black thread–that’s OK. Sewing machine had blue/purple but sapphire blue in the bobbin.  I wound half-a-bobbin of matching thread. Then changed from a 12BP to a 10 sharp needle. I don’t want any snags, or thread pulls (I’m sure there’s a better word for this phenom) regardless of whether I love the finished blouse or not don’t want it ruined during construction due to thread pulls. Finally, I laid out my fabric. Placed the tissues pieces on top with grain aligned (learned the hard way about what happens when grain is ignored), then snapped out the lights and went upstairs.  This is the process I love: Day 1: tissue fitting and lay out pattern; Day 2 basting and fitting; Day 3: finish and photo.  I’m off to a good start

 

 

*********So far I have been able to  fit only 1 of SP’s pants patterns to my satisfaction and it (3200 Sally’s Pant) still suffers with the appearance of a prominent pubis despite that many alterations I’ve made AND I can’t slim the hem as far as I desire.  I count 3200 as a good pattern which I make often. But  3200 + perfections is a situation which eludes me still. Even though 3200 does not qualify as perfect on me, it  is a vast  improvement in fit  over her other pant patterns (and my body) which all result in variations of awful.  So sorry but despite the ease with which I fit Silhouette Patterns tops/blouses, I’ve not found the golden key to fitting SP pants patterns and yes I have followed her instructions to the letter.

Sp600 Alterations

After several days of alterations, I’m pleased to share my final blouse from SP600:

 

 

First 4 alterations, removed a good deal of the frumpiness. Well all of it from the bust up. Alterations as follows:

  • Removed Collar
    • This was not a  pattern mistake. The collar is a combination collar with stand and should have been folded along the upper stand edge (about center of the collar). But I didn’t think of that until after I had removed the collar and finished the neck edge. Perhaps next version I should draft the exact collar of my dreams instead of doing a quick adaptation.
  • Increase shoulder slope to 5/8″
    • In retrospect, I’m not even sure why I stitched the shoulders with the 3/8″ slope to start with. When I looked at my notes I realized the error immediately.
    • This too is not a pattern error but a fitting issue.
  • 1/2″ dart at CB neck-seam
    • At this time, I am not sure if I stretched the neck edge or if the back neck is too wide. I had not taped nor stay stitched and I haven’t compared with the original tissue, yet.
    • Probably not a pattern error either. My back is rounded. I require a 5/8″ RBA and I did not exercise due care in handling the pieces prior to construction.
  • 1 . Half inch deep dart (1″ total length removed) on each shoulder
    • I haven’t had to do an NSA on  my other SP patterns including  the other non-stretch top

But there was some left which led to these alterations: Especially at the tummy and sleeve. After next 3 alterations the blouse hangs nicely front and back and the sleeve looks like it belongs on my body

 

  • Remove front waist dart
    • I often just ignore the front waist dart markings because I no longer have a waist in front
    • Not a pattern error but a fitting issue.
  • increase sleeve SA to 1.75″
    • I added 1″ for fitting. Have now removed all that plus about a half-inch
    • Even with the excess remove this isn’t likely to be a pattern error but rather personal preference in sleeve circumference.  I’ve heard that others share my desire for a slimmer sleeve. Some don’t. YMMV.
  • 1/4″ tucks 1.5″ apart around cuff 4.5″ high from raw edge
    • snuggled the blouse sleeve to my wrist.
    • between that and narrowing the shoulder, the sleeve now appears to be the correct length.
    • to me the sleeve looks good front and back
    • Again, most likely not a pattern error but personal preference coming into play.

I feel Like I’ve removed  99% of the frumpiness.  I’m leaving open the possibility future versions will look even better because I will start a nice fit.  I expect to be tweaking mostly for fabric variations but I may also need a few fit changes.

I was surprised at all the alterations needed, especially above the bust.  With the other SP top patterns I have made as I started them too with  a size 4; added the needed a 5/8″ shoulder slope and a 5/8″ RBA. That’s it to fit the upper bodice.  I would then add 1″ to the side seams and narrow that to 1/2″  under the arm at the first fitting to tweak the ease.

I pulled out the original tissue to check what I had traced. Only to discover I traced correctly. Really throws a wrench into my SP fitting plans and diminishes my enthusiasm for SP patterns. Not that there is anything wrong with the patterns. My enthusiasm for SP was based on being able to fit with so few alterations. LIke I said, I was tracing a size 4 and doing 3 alterations. One of the beauties of SP and one of the advertised features, is the consistency of the draft. However, I’ve put out a few feelers and had several people describe similar fitting experiences. I think it means, I can’t depend on size 4 with 3 alterations. I will need to check each new pattern before cutting fabric. I’m a little sad over that. I miss the years when I could buy a pattern, slash 1″ off the length and stitch together a ‘new creation’. Need to get over that regret.

 

SP 600 Classic Blouse

I’ve fit several Silhouette Patterns now, including one woven blouse (Pants 3418 still pending) so I expected 600 to be easy.  Necessary because, well it is the classic blouse which I will use as my block going forward and fitting it will confirm what I need to know to fit all woven Silhouette Tops. Or at least, that’s what I thought.

I started my routine tracing a size 4 because it fits upper chest (shoulder to bust); added a 3/8″ shoulder slope, and 5/8″ round back alteration before adding 1″ evenly to the side seams. Compared to the litany of pattern alterations I usually do, this was simple and easy.  I tell you the waists  dartsimpressed the hellO out of me. She’s not foolin’ with these. They are big, about 1″ width and shaped with curves not straight lines.  I can’t do my normal punch at the point and clip at the side seams. They have to be traced. Since they are so big I decided to treat them like stencils:

I trimmed the dart interior but left a tab to keep them joined. I will be able to run my purple pen inside to outline the dart for sewing but the pattern won’t flap about and become distorted — one of the things I dislike about a french dart is that it is so whomping big you have to trim and therefore it flaps about.

The more I thought about it, the less happy I was with the button band and collar details. They just aren’t me. I am more of a romantic preferring soft and flowing rather than buttoned up and stiffly tailored. At cutting time, I made a typical front facing by folding away the facing pattern 1-1/4″ away from the center front thereby avoiding cutting the button band extension that would be public. I also folded the button extension of the collar out-of-the-way creating a classic wing collar.

I chose a classic and loved cotton/linen blend fabric. Cotton/linen to me is one of the perfect blends. It will shed some wrinkles but not all and it is a dream to sew with. No issue with this fabric as I did with the Knit Ottoman of SP 3418.  It has an oriental print in browns with touches of orange. I think very pretty except after the blouse is done, I think looks more like drapery than dressmaking.

I serged shoulders together and basted the side seams. I add 1″ to the side seams but usually need to reduce them under the arm. Now I slipped the shell on and pinned along the previously marked center front. It looked perfect.

Which caused my terrible error. I finished the blouse. Did not stop for even  a 2nd fitting. Just zip, zop, done. Done all the way to the final pics. I sat down to make my post and examined my pictures.  I was horrified. H-O-R-R-F-I-E-D.  I couldn’t believe how utterly frumpy this blouse was on me.

Discounting the bad hair day (I haven’t had a real good one in months), the blouse just doesn’t look good on me. Is it the print? The colors? This is a classic shape. I’m not expecting to pop your eyes out, I’m expecting to look nice, put together.  I’m stunned by what I am seeing. The V lines have returned to the sides (diagonals on back and front that meet at the sides). I have no chest but am all belly in front (what was the point of those big darts?).  I mean, this is just not something I’m proud of. I can wear it with a vest on top or as a summer 3rd layer. I had intended this as a prime for spring and fall weather and supporting summer and winter. I’d just lost 2 seasons of wearing about the same number of seconds. Could this be fixed?

Burn-out Velvet

I’ve had this beautiful burn-out velvet for years. Years, I tell you.  I bought it after I first moved to Wyoming but the purchase was made in the Fort Collins, Colorado Hobby Lobby.  (Wyoming fabric sources dried up just before I got there and I was forced to shop elsewhere).  I can tell you it is a minimum of 13 years old. In the same time  period, I purchased another velvet in the same colorway.  I made that velvet into a kimono jacket which I still wear to this day even though there is much more padding on my hips and it positively cannot be tied over my middle. Kimono jackets are nothing if not forgiving of the changes in a woman’s life.

My burnout, however, sat on my shelves year after year because I couldn’t decide how to use it.  It was transparent and obviously needed a lining. It was too close in color way to the other fabric mentioned to make another 3rd layer. Top? Blouse? Certainly not pants. I don’t wear transparent pants which because of it is a burnout there are large areas through which my flesh will show. I loved it and refused to donate it. Finally I was a watching Peggy Sager’s  a “Let’s Sew” video and watched as she created an inner top attached to the outer top only at the neckline. Bingo! Sorry, I don’t have the link handy which wouldn’t be pertinent anyway because Peggy created 2 tops with the out-layer shorter than the inner thus the inner layer shows too.  I did just the opposite. So while Peggy’s top is interesting and dramatic, you hardly know that I’ve done something similar.

Continuing with my blouse, I decide that with only 30% stretch the burnout needed my regular i.e. not the slinky version of 195. I pulled that out and invested not more than 15 minutes converting it from french dart to armscye dart.  So glad I did this, but I think I may not have placed or maybe angled the dart correctly.

I chose to use an embroidered, very light-yellow,  transparent Tricot for the inner layer/lining. I cut only the front and back pieces without further changes.  Then, as always intended, I set up my Brother Serger ( the 1034 purchased because I needed a serger right now) for a 3-thread wide seam. This took longer than expected because I also needed to rearrange the table a little. Sigh, it will need a little more rearranging which will involve removing the machines completely.  Eager to work on my new top, I did the best I could with the arrangement of machines.  Oh what a good choice. I serged every seam, including the bust dart and  hem, on this inner layer/lining in about 15 minutes. WOW…. and it’s beautiful.  The seams rolled because I increased the looper tensions. I didn’t increase the needle (I’m using the left needle for a wide seam) tension because during testing it caused the seam to gather. (Note Remember to increase needle tension for future gathering projects.) After set up, which in the future is reduced to changing thread and maybe the needle, this is absolutely the fastest, most elegant rolled hem I’ve ever created and the nicest lining ever .

Know you can’t see too well because this is something I’m not going to model (in my generation we thought showing it all was a bad idea) and I”m showing the back. Front looks much the same.   I truly wish I’d invested $200 in that little beast (the 1034 Brother serger) long ago.  In one project he proved himself well worth the time and expense.

So onto the upper layer. After remaining inner garment fabric was trimmed of strings, folded, labeled and placed back in the stash, I smoothed out the burn out fabric and cut the 3 major pieces. I used my normal sewing order but skipped finishing the neck. When the shell/outer layer, was complete, I put shell and lining right sides together at the neck and serged.  I understitched, some times I want a little insurance that the inside will stay inside. Then I top stitched 1/4″ away from the turned neck edge. The armscye of the lining is tacked to the armscye of the shell in about 4 places. Just enough to keep it in place as I slip my arms in and out.

Unfortunately, I stretched the neck during construction which I didn’t notice until the first try on.  I used my normal cheat, elastic. This time I used a long length of shirring elastic. Doubled with the fold threaded through the eye. The tails are then pulled through the loop coming out of the eye and that makes a secure join that won’t come out of the needle. I ran the elastic in the channel between top stitching and neck edge and tied it in the back.  I was going to adjust at the next try-on, but it was fine.

So I put a drop of Frey-check on the knot and trimmed the ends.  Done.