Thursday, June 16, 2016

Josephine #2

I'm back with the latest in my selfish sewing parade: another Made By Rae Josephine top.

I have had this two-yard cut of Kaffe Fassett rayon challis in the stash for a few years (purchased on sale at FabricMart).  Periodically I'd consider it for a project, decide it was too loud and then put it back.  Turns out, it was just waiting to be a sleeveless summer blouse.

I cut the same size as my first Josephine (a Large C/D with an FBA and 2" scooped out of the front neckline).  Rae includes a sleeveless version of the bodice in her pattern (it is drafted with a center front seam to allow for a slit at the neckline).   But I already had the other view drafted and didn't want to print another pattern, so I cut the blouse as for the other views.  Like last time, I went for release tucks rather than tucks that went all the way to the hem.  I graduated the length of the tucks so that they get longer as they get closer to the side seams.  I should have read my previous post before cutting the top; then I would have noted that I wanted to lower the neckline even more. 

After I got the shoulders and side seams sewn together, I tried it on and was thrilled with the way it looked.  But after I got the neckline and armholes bound, all of a sudden I didn't like it anymore.  It looked frumpy. And the armholes were too tight.  (Later I tried on my first Josephine and noted that its armholes are too tight, too.  On that top, the elastic I added at the sleeve hem is also tight and rather uncomfortable, which I guess distracts me to the point that I don't notice the tight armhole when I wear it).

I was also really frustrated because, while sewing it, my machine started to make a clicking sound and my tension went haywire.  Somehow I managed to get the top sewn, but there was a LOT of ripping and unpicking along the way, and my stitching is really messy in places.  You can't really tell, though, thanks to the loud print).  It's kind of amazing that the top got sewn at all, given my disappointment with the fit and my machine woes.

I was determined to get a wearable top out of it, though, so I persevered.  To fix the tight armhole, I ended up cutting off 1/4" from the shoulder at the outer edge, continuing this cut down the front and back of the armhole, which I ended up lowered by a whopping 1.75".  This helped, but not completely.  After wearing the top a few times, I realized that the armholes really needed to be cut in more from the front, too.  I need less fabric starting about two inches down from my outer front shoulder; it is creating a wrinkle there which I could fix with a dart if I fancied redoing the armhole binding (I don't).  I have another cut of challis I'd like to use to try this again, assuming I can get my machine to cooperate.  I'm just not sure whether to draft a dart, or whether this can be fixed by just cutting away more of the armhole.  Or maybe I need to adjust the angle of the shoulder slope.  It seems annoying to make another muslin now after I've sewn the top twice but it might be necessary.

After I'd dealt with the armholes and ripped and altered and resewn the binding a million times until it was neat, I still felt that the top was kind of matronly.  I decided to create a V-shaped cut-out to try to defrump the neckline.  I unpicked the binding from the center front to about 2" in either direcion.  I cut a scrap of fabric and finished it on three sides with my serger, then pinned it right sides together to the front bodice.  I drew a V onto the fabric and sewed it, pivoting at the point, before clipping and then turning it.  I lined the facing and bodice up at the top, then sewed the binding back on.  I think it improves the top, but I should have made it an inch or so deeper. (Though in these photos I see that the loud print practically obscures the cut-out anyway).

For all my quibbles, it's a lovely top to wear.  I love the colors and the challis is so comfortable on.  I also find it quite versatile - it works tucked in and untucked; by itself and with a cardigan; with shorts and with skirts.  And I do want to make another.  I just need to figure out the armhole situation.


  1. I love this! The fabric is beautiful- those bright colors are totally my style. You are inspiring me to make another Josephine!

  2. Man, this is gorgeous! If you hadn't explained your issues with it, I never would have imagined this could ever be "frumpy," it's so lovely, cheery, and comfortable looking, and like you say, looks great tucked and untucked. I would wear this all the time.

  3. Try a bust dart, they are life changing.
    Good persevering on a really pretty top.

    1. The pattern has a bust dart already (which you can't see at all thanks to the busy fabric) - would altering it fix the problem?

  4. Love the little v shape you added! It's a lovely print, glad you worked through your frustrations.

  5. I already loved the fabric, but those little details elevate it so much! Really nice work, despite the machine drama.

  6. I didn't notice the troubles until I read through the post trying to see them. I've been wanting to make this shirt since your first version, but I will definitely muslin it first!

  7. Your end result is gorgeous....I would make it again right have it right on now...nice job! Sew happy!


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