Monday, December 29, 2014

Collar Confection blouse in dotted silk

For my last-of-the-year Britex blogger project, I chose the pattern first: the unusual and lovely design from Decades of Style, the Collar Confection blouse.  The blouse design is interesting and a bit more challenging than a basic top, but still very doable!  The blouse style dictates a fabric with drape, but it also must be fairly opaque because there are facings along the armholes.  This midweight dotted ivory silk fits the bill and, in my humble opinion, is the ideal fabric for this top!
As strongly suggested by the pattern designers, I made a muslin before cutting into my lovely silk.  It was not obvious how I would do a small bust adjustment for this top, so I opted instead to use the size the correlated with my bust, and instead of grading out to the larger waist and hip size that I needed, I reduced the dart intakes.  This reduced the bust-to-waist ratio, which more or less accomplishes the SBA that I needed.  The ease of the original design seemed unsuitable for wearing as an untucked blouse (though perfect for tucking into a high waisted pencil skirt!), so I increased the overall ease at the hips as well.

The main glorious feature of this blouse is the lovely, drapey collar.  It folds over from a faced back neckline into a graceful peter-pan style. The width of the neckline and spread of the collar make it perfect for wearing with a v-neck cardigan.  How sweet is that collar?  
The other distinctive feature of the blouse is the split cap sleeves.  They aren't exactly a tulip (the flaps don't overlap each other), but are created with a curved hem and facings.

I'm a bit self-conscious of my broad shoulders, so this sleeve style doesn't help that too much, but I love how unusual and pretty it is!

For the button placket, I went with these satin-covered tuxedo buttons (1/2" size), and they couldn't be any more perfect.  The semi-matte sheen of the fabric-covered buttons matches the silk and they suit the blouse style just right.
Finishing the inside of the blouse was (relatively) simple with the help of one of Laura Mae's favorite notions--rayon seam binding (her tutorial is here).  I finished the raw edges after sewing the blouse because of all the facings and curved sleeve hems.  I'm still working on perfecting that technique (read: my inside seam finishes don't look perfect!), but at least the easily fraying silk is contained!  This is the shoulder seam between the neckline and facing of the sleeve (below), but I also used rayon seam binding on the side seams.
Overall, I'm thrilled with this new blouse.  If you are tempted to make the Collar Confection blouse, I cannot recommend this fabric strongly enough, but a pretty rayon would also work well.
Thank you, as always, to Britex for providing the fabric, notions (including matching silk thread--the buttonholes look extra special!) and pattern.
Happy sewing to you all in the New Year!  

Resewlution 2014, December garment #3

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Patternmaking Final Project: The Suit

There was a moment there, staring at my textbook on drafting the suit jacket a few months ago when I was actually uncertain if I could finish my Pattermaking course.  See, I went to class for the first month of the semester and then had to take the rest of the class as an independent study.  I visited the professor during her office hours, but by and large, I had to do all the work of figuring out how to draft a jacket (and trousers and knit garment) on my own.  But it's done and I survived (and earned an A!)
Our final project was a suit.  Not exactly the one I envisioned on the first day of class (which had a waistband and back pleats and a portrait collar!) but one that is my own style nonetheless.

I adapted my original jacket pattern to have a feminine rounded collar and lapel, with a scalloped detail at back of the two-piece sleeve.  There are flap pockets, with a welt underneath.

I'm very pleased with how the jacket turned out.  It fits well (and it's comfortable!) and the fabric is beautiful and versatile (from Britex, seems to be unavailable).  All told, the jacket probably took 12-13 hours of sewing time, including taking out both sleeves and resewing them *after* the lining was in place!  Many thanks to my husband for taking the kids to the aquarium so I could have some uninterrupted sewing time on the weekend!

The jacket is fully lined in a lovely aqua rayon Bemberg (using the bag method).  The sleeve hem is created with a separate facing piece.
I have to say, I do not love the skirt.  It was fine for the assignment (it's drafted and sewn well enough), but I don't like the fit or the clearly-not-invisible hem (yikes, it's seriously appalling in these photos!).  To match the jacket, the coordinating skirt has that same scallop at each of the gore seamlines, which I created using separate facing pieces.  Such a pain to sew!
The skirt has a waistband facing and side zipper, with the same aqua lining as the jacket.
Because the skirt has those hem facings, it would be non-trivial to adjust the fit of the skirt, which would otherwise be fairly straight-forward with the many seams.  So, to make it useful, I may just crop it up a bit and then adjust the fit.  But, I have about 2 yards left of the lovely wool twill and plan to make a pair of trousers!
Happy to be done!  Now to start working down my enormous pile of lovely fabrics!

Resewlution 2014, December garments #1 and 2 (not counting a second, undocumented Plaintain tee)