Monday, August 20, 2007

Still in the Learning Process

Amongst the costuming, I've been doing a smidgen of work on the Bodacious Queue and I finished up the first item last night...a silk charmeuse version of my modified City Dress shell.
I purchased this fabric at my first-ever Atlanta Expo back in 2004...Louise Cutting had it in her booth and it sang to me the whole time I was there. But at $20/yd I just couldn't see myself getting much. Finally, on my way out on Friday evening (I had to leave on Friday), I stopped to pet it one more time and Louise took pity on me and told me she'd pay the sales tax if I wanted to get one yard for a shell top. I decided to forgo dinner on the road on the way home and I bought it.

Then it came home with me, and I proceeded to do nothing with it, wanting that top to fit PERFECTLY before I made it up. Well, in the Cutting Marathon I decided I'd tweaked that pattern enough and it was time to make the shell. So I very carefully placed the front on w/one of the big roses in the center (I remembered well my lesson in print placement). I wasn't really sure I wanted to do the turn-and-stitch necklline/armhole finish on this lovely silk, but as it turned out, I had enough left to cut some bias strips. So I tried a new-to-me technique: I bound the neck and armholes w/bias strips.

And I learned some things, chief amongst them being that silk charmeuse stretches and skinnies a lot more than I expected. I wanted the binding to finish out at a 3/8" width, so I multiplied 3/8" by 4 and came up with 1 1/2" for the width. Then, to compensate for the 'turn of the cloth' thing, I added another 1/4" and cut the strips 1 3/4" wide.

That still wasn't wide enough. Even though I handled them very carefully, they skinnied out so that I had to use about a 1/8" seam allowance. Which meant I had to unpick all the 1/4"-from-the-edge staystitching I'd done on my top. Which means that I have little perforations visible at very close range. Oh, it'll be under a jacket most of the time anyway...I doubt if anyone looks that close. But still.

Anyway, I sewed the strips into a circle the size of the opening, then folded the WS together and sewed them to the RS of the top, rolled the fold to the WS and hand stitched it down. I didn't press it until it was all done, because I didn't want the wrong fold pressed in.

And, in the above-mentioned fiddling, the neckline apparently stretched slightly (oh, I was careful! Really!) Or maybe it was just hanging up a bit's a shade snug. That's a puzzle, because this is a TNT pattern that has always fit well.

I'm hoping it was just the 'I'm wearing a knit top today' bra that I was wearing (y'know...those foam rubber cups designed to maintain a 'smooth profile' under knit tops? That add girth to the bustline?), but it could be middle age spread ;) No photographer has been available yet, so here's the on-the-hanger view:

Anyway, it's wearable, it's even's just not quite the breathtaking garment I was hoping for. But I learned it's ok in the long run, right? ;)


  1. Oh, it's beautiful! I love the contrast of the roses on the black. I like the bound edge finish, too - very clean to go with such a lovely fabric.

  2. I agree with Summerset! The top looks very elegant. The bias finish looks so fitting with such a beautiful fabric.

  3. You did a beautiful job. Sewing bias silk charmeuse is like sewing water! And I have certainly never attempted to make a bias binding with it! I bet that fabric is something in person. What is it about silk that shows off colors so incredibly?

  4. The top is beautiful. I especially love the placement of that center rose. I bet you it is perfect to wear underneath a jacket. That rose peaking out would be so cute.