Sunday, March 23, 2014

Slinky and the Grain

Back in January, I ordered a few patterns for me (New Look 6808, New Look 6781 and Simplicity 2447).  Around that time the U.S. was pummeled by some enormous snowstorms, which completely screwed up the mail for those of us who have APO/FPO/DPO addresses overseas.

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.

20 comments:

  1. 'If I eat a banana, you can see it' that made my day!
    I hear you sister.

    When all is said and done, it is a very cute top. And your back ground is spectacular.

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    1. Ha ha, glad I'm not the only one with this problem!

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  2. I agree- great photos! I actually just bought this pattern, too, on a trip back to see my family in the U.S.!

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    1. Looking forward to seeing yours!

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  3. Really nice top. The collar is a bit demure for a slinky top, but it sure looks great with the cardigan.

    Very jealous of your exotic surroundings!

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    1. Yeah, I don't think I'm going to use that collar anymore; we'll see if the View D one works better for me!

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  4. I really like how the top looks paired with the cardigan. It's a cute and pulled together look. I hear you on skimming the wobbly bits...having kids certainly does a number on the body.;)

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    1. Thanks! The neckline is just slightly too wide to *really* work with that cardigan, but I forced it on :)

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  5. Beautiful top! I love the collar and the trim. I think I like the backgrounds of your photos as much as the clothes you make. I never heard of a french dart. It looks like it is an angle? I will go look that up.

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    1. Yes, the French dart is lower and points up. I actually did one with my Traveler shirt but didn't realize that it had a name until later. It's a pretty easy adjustment and I much prefer it!

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  6. Aw, this looks adorable on you. And my kids use me as a human tissue, too. :)

    You are definitely rocking the slink. ;)

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  7. Great pics and cute little top :) Sadly I'm having trouble remembering slinky. I think it's probably time to bring the slink back!

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    1. I know - I used to be so comfortable with the slinky - now it just feels slightly costumey!

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  8. You have my sympathy, being a walking tissue/wet wipe wrecks havoc on any attempt to look presentable let alone slinky.

    My friend gave me a wrap around skirt a couple of years ago that I thought looked quite chic. Until my 3 year old tried to unwrap it in the centre of town. Eeek. I was very careful when I wore that skirt after that!

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    1. Sorry, I had to laugh at that. I don't have any wrap skirts but there have been a number of near misses at church when my girls have thought it fit to reach under my skirt and then raise their arms. Yikes!

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  9. Love the top! And also I love all your fabric choices. I need to grow up from all the quilting cottons and start buying something prettier. And yes on the protruding belly, it's funny how now I only buy shirts that hang, not cling. Ugh. :)

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    1. You are too hard on yourself - I'm sure you look just as great after S as you did after K (the envy of all mothers!). One big benefit of switching to apparel fabrics - they tend to be cheaper than designer quilting cotton!

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  10. I love that photo of you overlooking the view, with your hair blowing around! Lookin' good, mama! (I like the one below it with the hair in your face too, but that one is more humorous!)

    Totally hear you on the vertical darts (I prefer a bit of looseness around my tummy too - mine does actually protrude a bit!), and I really love this top. I love the collar too, actually! Looks great with a cardi. Good choice of fabric. I need to sew more with rayon challis and that sort of thing.

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  11. I love how it looks with the cardigan. The collar's drama (good drama) is softened by the slinkiness of the fabric.

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Hi! I am so happy you came by. Thanks for your comment!