My patterns f i n a l l y arrived last week after a torturous wait on this side of the world. I didn't waste time and immediately traced out View E of New Look 6808. I drafted a size 14+FBA for my 39-31-41 self, and I rotated the bust dart down into a French dart, which I find a little more flattering on me than your standard horizontal dart.
Then I set about tossing through my stash for a suitable fabric. I've been paying a lot of attention to fabric choice lately, and I knew I wouldn't be happy with this top in a crisp cotton. I wanted something with a luscious drape, to skim over those wobbly bits and make me feel slinky.
Slinkiness is elusive when your kids use you as a human tissue, trust me. But on those rare occasions when I can rock the slink, I enjoy it. Don't you like feeling slinky?
(Although my tummy is far from flat, what you see there is the crazy wind whipping the fabric around, and not my belly.)
After some digging, I found a piece of black something-or-other that I bought eight years ago in Armenia, when I used to have clothes made for myself by a local seamstress. I think I bought it intending to have a skirt made, but I never did and somehow it got packed and unpacked and carted around in our household effects for another four years until I began sewing. I don't even know what this fabric is - it's definitely synthetic, matte like chiffon but a bit heavier, and has a slight crosswise stretch.
(See? No protruding tummy).
This pattern is meant to have vertical front darts. I sewed them in when I muslined the top (yes, I muslined, using an old sheet!) but it made the top too tight. I didn't think too hard about why it was tight, and just forged ahead. I thought that maybe the stretch in my fashion fabric would help out, and figured I could always sew the sides up with smaller seam allowances.
Well, the stretch didn't help me. It might have, had I actually cut both the body pieces on the grain like I was supposed to - but somehow I accidentally cut the back on the crosswise grain, so the stretch on that piece runs bottom to top instead of side to side. Facepalm. I didn't have any fabric left to cut a new back, so I just went with it.
I sewed smaller seam allowances (3/8" instead of 5/8") but in the end I just left the front vertical darts off. The back darts do provide some shape, so it's not a total potato sack. I later realized what the problem was. While my front FBA added width necessary to fit my waist and high hip, I had neglected to add the necessary width to the waist and hip of the back piece - I had just cut a straight 14, and I should have graded out to an 18 after the bust dart. So my side seam is not actually in the center of my side, and there was no fabric to spare for the front vertical darts.
I actually kind of like it without the front darts, though. In my post-childbirth, gym-less life, my stomach tends to really show how much I ate that day; sometimes it feels like, if I eat a banana, you can see the banana shape through my shirt. So a top that skims over the lumps helps me feel put-together. Fabric choice was key in this, though. Most of my non-knit apparel stash consists of woven cottons, none of which would have been as fluid and skimming.
When I finished the top, I felt like it was missing something. So I added the lace trim to the bottom.
I am pretty happy with it top, though the collar turns out to be just slightly too wide for my taste. It's a bit sailor-girl, which is cute but interferes with the slinky. The collar on view D is a bit narrower. I think I will use that collar for my next iteration. I also plan to redraft my back pattern piece to be a little wider below the bust so that I can try out those front vertical darts.
The wind on this particular day was killer. Chicago ain't got nothing on Tbilisi. There were a few times I was afraid the gusts would blow me off the cliff.
Cousin It, signing off.