A sewing blog about building a functional, cohesive handmade wardrobe, one garment at a time.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Replacement Josephine

The Josephine tank I made last year fell apart in the wash. Thankfully, I had just enough of this gorgeous Kaffe Fassett rayon challis fabric left to redo it.

I've sewn the pattern twice before, and each time I've had to make a number of adjustments to get it to fit my body.  Some of those adjustments were alterations done on the fly, and I still didn't have it quite right.  So this time, I reprinted my pattern and made another muslin.

Thanks to the second muslin, I think I finally cracked the magic combination of pattern alterations to get it to fit me the way I want.  Firstly, I realized that the shoulder is just too wide for me, even though I have been using my high bust measurement and doing an FBA.  So this time, as usual, I started with the size large C/D cup with an FBA (using a French dart that angles up from the waist rather than a horizontal dart).  I also narrowed the straps, mostly from the armscye, which I also lowered and scooped out a bit at the armpit to deal with excess fabric.

Wait, I'm not done yet.  I also did a forward shoulder adjustment, shortened the straps by 1/2" (so maybe I lowered the armscye too much), lowered the neckline and made a hi-lo split hem.  My muslin also had some back neckline gaping.  I am sure my original Josphines had this problem too, but I guess I have been so used to back neckline gaping that I didn't really notice it.  All my fitting practice has got me looking at my clothing more critically now.  To fix the gaping, I turned my single back piece into two pieces with a back seam.  I sliced an inch off the pattern piece at the top center back, tapering to nothing around my waistline, and now the back neckline sits beautifully.

On my last top, I had a bear of a time putting on the (rayon) bias binding.  Part of it was the fabric and part of it was my machine's tension going haywire halfway through the sewing.  I had to unpick and resew it a few times, and I guess the rayon just couldn't take any more, and ended up shredding in the wash.  So this time, I made my bias binding out of cotton shirting. But even having done that, I'm not sure I will let this one near the washing machine.  I had to clip the neckline more than every 1/4" to get it to lay flat.  Knowing how close I clipped to the seamline makes me nervous!

I recently had a look at Rae's original sleeveless version for this pattern and I realize that there isn't much of a resemblance anymore.  But really, most of the work I did was to the upper bodice.  The shape of the top through the waist down is the original draft, as are, of course, those gorgeous pleats.

The pleats (and also frugality and laziness when it comes to tracing/printing/cutting a new pattern) are the reason that I stuck with this pattern despite the fact that it just doesn't fit me at all, out of the envelope.  I probably could have modified a different pattern to add the pleats, but I didn't want to.  And all's well that ends well, except now I have a hankering to refit the sleeved pattern too, for fall, which will involve more armscye tinkering and a totally new sleeve.

For now, though, I'll enjoy my breezy new top.  Thanks for reading, and see you next time!


  1. Wow. You killed it! I saw this picture come up in my feed, and I was like, OMG, Masha made the exact Josephine I want to make for myself in cream rayon to wear under ALL THE SUITS for ALL THE MEETINGS. Seriously! But when I read about all of your changes, I was like, dang, girl, I'm not that smart! LOL! Maybe I can try to achieve something like this. I love the narrow straps, the fit around the bust, the french dart (so much less busty looking!) the back shaping, all of it. I should have you send me your final pattern and work from there to fit me! HA!

  2. So pretty! I absolutely love that lovely colourful print :)

  3. I love this top. I "cheated" and didn't read your whole post before I went looking for the pattern. Yeah, well ... you know how THAT turned out. If only I had read all the way through. Hahaha. But no worries ... yours is still so lovely and even better than the original pattern. Well done!

  4. I love this shirt - you've definitely got the fit down now - it fits you beautifully....and that print - so pretty!

  5. So much work! Absolutely worth it though. The top turned out gorgeous. Handwash?

  6. I love the pintucks, and the fit looks really good! What a heartbreaker to lose things in the wash after all the work! Does the pattern have a 5/8" SA on the neck? If it does and you cut it down on the pattern to 1/4", you might not have to clip anything.

  7. I am about to print this baby out and MUSLIN it! I'm back here reading your comments carefully for tips. Stay tuned!


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