Friday, October 9, 2015

Oh, Josephine

Made By Rae's Josephine caught my eye as soon as it came out.  That happened to be just a week after I completed my Amish Washi dress.  Someone cautioned me that, if I didn't like the fit of the Washi, I probably wouldn't like the Josephine either, because they would be based on the same blocks.  It seemed like sage advice, and there were plenty of other things to sew, so I held off.


Nearly two years later, I find myself searching for something to sew my postpartum self.  As I am 30 pounds up from pre-pregnancy weight, none of my TNT patterns fit.  For some reason it seemed more reasonable to buy a totally new pattern, than to refit the Plantain or Lisette Traveler that were my cool-weather mainstays before I got pregnant.

So I threw caution to the wind and bought Josephine.  And I am SO glad I did!


I made a few modifications.  The pattern does include two cup size options, but there was no way C/D was going to cut it these days.  I'm rocking a G cup at the moment, so I did an FBA on the C/D bust size Large (which corresponded to my high bust measurement).  I also moved the dart down, so that it pivots to the bust at an angle.  I find this angled dart much more flattering than parallel-to-the-floor horizontal darts.  I had previously thought this dart was called a French dart, but I recently read that French darts start just above the waist, and mine is higher than that, so I am not sure what to call it.  


(My six-year-old took these photos in the rain using our DSLR ... they are a little blurry but I think she did a pretty good job!)

I did not sew the pin tucks all the way down, but ended them a bit below the bust line a la Rae's release tuck version.  I also omitted the back elastic because I just wanted something loose and floaty.  In the wrong position it does look a bit maternity, but I am still rocking the baby belly and there is only so much you can do to camouflage that.

I suspected that I would not like the degree of sleeve puff at the top, but I put them in per the pattern anyway ... and I was right.  Rather than cut a new sleeve, I just removed them and sliced an inch off the top of the sleeve cap.  I am sure this is the absolute wrong way to de-poof a sleeve, but it actually worked pretty well.  I found some good tutorials for sleeve adjustments here that I followed on my second Josephine (I'm halfway through but having a little trouble).


I knew before I sewed the pattern that I would need to lower the neckline to avoid looking matronly. It's funny - I actually like almost all the Josephines I've seen, and I only think a couple of them look matronly - but I knew that, on me, it just wouldn't work.  I cut the neckline written, and then tried it on after I'd put in the darts, pin tucks and sewn the shoulders together to decide how much to lower.  I ended up bringing it down a full 2" and I think I could even drop it another 3/4" or so the next time I make the pattern.  It is really quite a high neckline, though it doesn't look that way on smaller busts.  I bound the neckline to the wrong side with prepackaged bias, and managed to avoid the dreaded neck gape on my first try!  Clipping the neckline really makes a difference.


I used a crinkly gauze purchased for $4.50/yd from Fabric Mart last May.  I didn't like it as much in person, as on the screen, so I figured it would be an easy sacrifice for my first try on the Josephine, and as it turns out I love it made up in this pattern!  It's interesting, but not so busy that it completely obscures the pin tucks.  And it's a nice weight for a summer-to-fall transition piece.


Oh, Josephine.  I never should have doubted you.

Linking up with Gray All Day.

19 comments:

  1. I love it!!! The modifications you made are right on. I made one Josephine top, and I *do* think it's a tad matronly on its own, but it looks good under a cardigan or blazer (I usually wear it with a suit, and it's perfect for that and adds the right amount of color and is modest and traditional, but it's kind of boxy worn by itself). I have thought (a) it would be better in a flowier fabric; (b) lower neckline; (c) no back elastic; (d) lower neckline. I do wish the sleeves were less of a "statement." I don't wear puffed sleeves ... ever ... seriously. I like the gathered wrists though. I don't know it just feels frou frou to me. I know lots of people have used the Tova sleeve on the Washi, I wonder if that would work on the Josephine too? I also lowered and angled the dart on mine, btw. You look great!!!

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    1. Thanks, Inder! I love the Tova, but I don't have the pattern because my bust measurement has never been small enough to fit into it! From what I understand it is not a pattern that lends itself to larger busts. Which is sad, because I do really love it. As far as the Josephine, yes, I think flower fabric is key. I cut my second out of a lightweight sateen from the Lisette line a few years back. It is definitely drapier than, say, quilting cotton, but I really don't like how it is coming out. I think rayon might be a better choice, and I have some slated for a third attempt.

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  2. You look great in your Josephine! I really like the fabric, too.

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  3. This turned out great! That color is amazing and looks lovely on you. I like the Josephine pattern, but agree with you re: the puffy sleeves... too much!

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    1. Thanks Meg! Your white Josephine was one of the first that got me thinking I should give the pattern a try after all.

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  4. Love it! I've been on the guard about buying it too, just because it looks a little matronly for me, but I love how your turned out!! Maybe I'll buy the pattern after the baby when I need something to cover my baby belly.

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  5. Super cute and the fabric choice is really great! Very nice modifications - the fit turned out so nice! I might try this pattern.

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  6. That shirt is beautiful on you! You were right to lower the neckline - it is very flattering. Well done! (and your photographer did a great job too!)

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  7. This is absolutely gorgeous!!! LOVE this!

    :)

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    1. 'Thanks (for the compliment and for commenting!)

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  8. Masha, This color looks great on you and I like the pintucks. I totally know about needing tops to fit a post baby body, I think having a baby entitles you to a new pattern anyway :) I think I originally purchased the Made by Rae Ruby for that purpose. Your 6 year old did a great job with the pictures, my daughter does a pretty good job too and she just turned 7! I hope your husband is progressing well and life with new baby is good.

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    1. Thanks Elizabeth. I agree - having a baby should afford a fabric shopping spree too, dontcha think?

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  9. One more thing, if puffed sleeves aren't your thing, I converted mine from the Ruby by removing the elastic and made them rolled up with sleeve tabs.

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  10. So important to make clothes that fit you now, not wait. I love this on you.

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    1. Thanks Nicole! I agree, it is nice to have something that fits.

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