I knew I had to have something yellow this spring, it seemed like the freshest color in all the magazines and on the runways. And, several of the sewists on the sewing blogs have been making cute yellow tops (check out, www.ericabunker.com/2008/04/ive-got-yellow-fever.html ) When I saw this beautiful silk Crepe de Chine in a sunflower yellow, I grabbed it!
For this design, I was inspired by the pleated blouses I’ve been seeing lately, like this one from Phillip Lim:
I didn’t have any particular pleating arrangement in mind, so I chose a pattern with the shape I wanted and cut a piece of fabric long enough for the front piece and just started fooling around. I thought it would be easiest to pleat the fabric first and then cut the front pattern piece. I ended up with a 1″ pleat at the center front and 3, 1/2″ pleats on either side.
I used Simplicity 3874, view B, because I liked the neckline and the raglan sleeve. I cut if off to blouse length, folded out the front dart and omitted the empire elastic.
I stitched-down the pleats to withing 6″ of the hem. This way the blouse will look good un-tucked or tucked-in.
I took the original pattern piece and folded out the dart (that’s why the paper pattern looks so wrinkly. Don’t worry about that, just lay the pattern on the fabric and pin it as flat as possible). I put the center front of the pattern piece in the middle of my center pleat. I drew a new side seam line, following the original pattern, easing into the armhole. I drew the new bottom hem.
After drawing the left side, I folded the fabric on the center front and cut the right side, following the lines of the left side.
The back pattern piece only needed shortening, no other alterations.
Step 4, construction: I constructed the top according to the pattern directions, except for the sleeves and neckline.
The sleeve: I cut 4 sleeves and lined them, understitiching at the hem. This avoided narrow hemming the bottom of the sleeves which would have given them a fluttery look. The raglan sleeve has a curved seam in the middle. Next time, I’m going to fool around with the shape of that seam because I’ll bet that it can altered to pull the sleeve in more at the hem. It’s a nice sleeve the way it is, but I would prefer it to be a little more fitted at the hem.
The neckline: after the sleeves were finished, I tried it on and I re-cut the neckline into a broader, deeper boat shape.
Step 5, finishing: I struggled with this. I knew I didn’t want a neckline facing that would pop out and wouldn’t give the pleating any support, I decided on a foldover bias trim. My plan was to make a bias strip, fold it in half, lengthwise, press and then sew it to the wrong side of the neckline. This gives plenty of allowance for error and still make a nice even topstitched fold-over on the right side.
Problem was, I didn’t have enough fabric to cut the bias strip in one piece. So, I cut 2 pieces and proceeded to try to make the seams fall on each shoulder seam. Well, I don’t know if there is a computation for this, I tackled it by sewing one seam in the bias strip and pinning this seam, matching at the shoulder, then pinning the remainder of the neckband until I reached the other shoulder seam.
At this point, because the seam on the bias strip would be a diagonal seam, I didn’t know how to make the band exactly the right length. I did my best to guesstimate, then sewed the diagonal seam, but–oops! I sewed a chevron seam instead of a straight one. Of course, I’d cut off the excess, so now I had a band that was too short. I had to re-cut one side of the bias strip to create a straight seam and create a continuous band.
I knew the band would stretch a little as it was sewen to the neckline and I knew that pulling the neckline in a bit wouldn’t be a bad thing, because it would help keep the neckline from gapping at the collar bone. So I eased the neckline onto the band by going round and round with the pinning, until I had it very evenly eased and was hoping it wouldn’t pleat under the band. I sewed with the band side up to take advantage of the “creep” from the presser foot. At this point, I didn’t really care where the seams of the band hit the neckline, as long as they didn’t fall near the center front:
Voila! It worked! After sewing on the band, I trimmed the seam allowance very carefully to a consistent 1/8″, which gave me a stable, even edge on which to turn the band to the outside and topstitch carefully. Somehow, the band seams ended up symmetrically located–thank you god!
Now, for the hem. I’ve had a wonderful top-of-the line Bernina for 15 years and I had never purchased a narrow hemming foot! The problem with narrow hemming the other way (turning and stitching, trimming and turning and stitching again) is that by the time you stitch around the hem twice on delicate fabric, it almost always starts to flutter.
I’ve been anxious to have a garment to on which to try out my new hemming foot. I also used a technique I saw on a very expensive designer silk skirt (Project MyWay #1). The skirt front was narrow hemmed, the skirt back was narrow hemmed, then the side seams were sewn. If you’re careful to have the side seams of the fronts and backs end at exactly the same place, this gets around the fact that the first half inch in of a hem using a narrow hemming foot looks horrible, as it’s hidden in the side seam.
The new foot was challenging! I went to the web to get some advice, the best I found was this article:
from Jan Andrea, at Home on the Web.It has good pictures and clear instructions. Even with this great tutorial, I was still having trouble catching my stitching on the folded hem. Finally, I changed my single hole sole plate (which I always use on fine fabrics–keeps the fabric from getting shoved down into the throat plate) to the zig-zag throat plate and set my needle position to the right. This worked pretty well, though I still need some practice!:
Conclusion, I love this top! I’m working on the jacket I featured in Spring Wardrobe ‘08 Part 1…
…it’s turning out very nicely. Of course I couldn’t find a bright print like the one here for a top, but the yellow blouse with black slacks will look great with this jacket!
Ta-ta for now!
Yes, I did finish the outfit I told you about in my very first post titled Welcome to The Feed Dog. I wore it with the TSE black silk skirt that I re-designed in Project MyWay #1 and my beautiful cashmere knit coat from Project MyWay #3 and my cute booties that I got on sale at Macy’s (marked way down in February). We went to the city for dinner and then to a jazz club and I looked very ou current!
This beatiful silk satin burnout fabric was in my stash, next time I’ll try it in a solid color so the details won’t get lost in the print.
I started with Simplicity 4277 and made some simple changes:
Here is a picture of the Nanette Lepore blouse I wanted to copy:
And here is another Nanette Lepore blouse that shows the details better:
I wanted the cross over bodice with pleating and the sash under the bust, but the sleeves are too “girly” for me, so I wanted a simple cap sleeve.
Simplicity 4277 was a good place to start, it has the basic design of the Nanette blouse and the changes were easy to make.
For the pleats on the bodice, I slashed and spread the front pattern piece to add more ease to the front and I extended the front past center to create the cross over:
I figured out the pleating by folding the new front pattern piece and matching it up to the top of the waistband until it fit. After cutting out the fabric, I pleated each front piece, then lined them and basted the 2 fronts together at the center front.
For the sash, I used a pattern piece from a dress I made a couple of years ago:
I used the hip sash from View C and cut it to fit when I was constructing the waistband. I made the sash for the front only–from side seam to side seam. I didn’t want to deal with it in the back as it would have ended at the center back and made the zipper application very difficult.
Speaking of zippers, I used a looooong invisible zipper and as I had mentioned, I tried the application I learned in the tutorial on Sew? I knit!–
It still had a bubble at the bottom, but it was better than the zipper on my black silk skirt. I’ll keep trying…
The cap sleeve offered in this pattern is gathered at the cap. I didn’t want the gathering, so I used the set-in sleeve of view A and re-drew it into a cap sleeve.
I then tried something new I saw on a Banana Republic dress, I put a piece of elastic at the center of the hem of the sleeve, about 2″ on either side of the center, for a total of 4″, to pull it in a little.
I love cap sleeves because they are great for summer dresses and blouses, but give a little more coverage than sleeveless tops. But cap sleeves look awful when they point straight out like wings. I find the best looking cap sleeves have plenty of ease in the cap (without being gathered) and this Banana Republic method of inserting elastic at the sleeve hem makes the sleeve nice and fitted. I always self line cap sleeves, it looks so much nicer than narrow hemming the sleeve.
Ta-ta for now!
1. I tried the skirt on and put a tight piece of elastic around my waist. I pulled the top of the skirt above the elastic and adjusted it until it looked right and was the right length. I marked the new waistline with pins:
2. I added a seam allowance and cut off the top of the skirt. I couldn’t leave the zipper in place as I had hoped–after I cut off the skirt there was only an inch or two left, so I removed the rest of the zipper:
3. I inserted a new invisible zipper. As usual, I ended up with a bubble at the end of the zipper. I found a great tutorial that I’ll try next time, it’s a little fussy for me, but at least I’ll baste the zipper in first and I think that will avoid the bubble. http://sewiknit.blogspot.com/2006/03/invisible-zipper-tutorial.html I never use an invisible zipper foot, just a regular zipper foot and I smooth the coil open as I sew.
4. I tried on the skirt and fitted it to my waist using the 6 seams–two side front seams, two side back seams and two side seams.
5. I cut a facing from the upper skirt that I had cut off and finished the new top with the facing. The skirt is lined, so I re-inserted the lining before I sewed on the new facing.
6. Voila! A new skirt that is shorter and perfectly fitted to my waist–it’s gorgeous! The back is still longer than the front. The only way to change that is to re-hem the back. I don’t want to do that and it looks good as is.
Here is a picture of the back, the bubble at the end of the zipper doesn’t bother me too much. (Check out my entry in Tutorials to find my fool-proof way of fixing little sewing problems.)
Ta-ta for now.