This suit caught my eye when it was first released. I kept waiting and waiting for my fave on line fabric retailers to offer the fabric I had in mind, and now a year has passed! I finally found what I wanted (though paid dearly). I love the look of this suit – refreshingly modern. I’ll be posting as I complete the ensemble, and I started with the easiest piece, the top.
The fabric: I purchase a few yards of a sueded silk crepe, in black a couple of years ago for another project. That project never came to be (I wanted to copy one of Amal Clooney’s outfits). The weight is heavier than a crepe de chine, lighter than a 4 ply. It is heaven on the skin, and much easier to work with than lighter and slipperier fabrics. I still had some novice issues, so I basted all seams first. For the lining, which is used for binding the long front shawl-like collar and for hong kong seams, I used a slighter lighter crepe de chine. Both were from Gorgeous Fabrics. I will buy more of the CDC, and if Ann offers more sueded silk like this, it will be in my cart.
Construction and Instructions: Basting gave me more control over the fabric. In addition, because I didn’t want to damage the fabric by ripping out poor quality top-stitching, I hand top-stitched the lower hem and armhole facings with a running stitch. I also hand stitched the “stitch in the ditch” part of the Hong Kong seams. It was a lot of work, but I got a superior look than if I had done it with the machine. I enjoy hand work – find it peaceful, as long as my hand-stitching sessions don’t last too long.
In general, the instructions were quite good – though I can see why some over on Pattern Review had issues. The front and back are joined with sharp right angles to the yoke/at the shoulders. (Basting really helped me here, getting the angles just right.) Later, you fold the shawl collar and stitch-in-ditch to the shoulder neckline. I think it would have been better to clarify exactly how this is done. When you stitch in the ditch to that seam, you’ll have a 5/8″overlap if you follow the fold line from the pattern (which I did and preferred).
Several people had issues with a wonky and unprofessional hemline. I think this is due to the instructions not being exactly clear – it’s almost as if they copied/pasted the instructions over from the binding. It’s a facing, not a binding, so the raw edges should be aligned (not said, but if you note they ask you to trim said edges in the next step.) Then the superfluous line, “trim raw edge of binding close to stitching” could lead to confusion. There is no raw edge if you complete a facing, as it’s encased by the top-stitching, and it’s not a binding. The instruction doesn’t belong there.
Last, it has you press, but don’t press the fold line. I did, and you can see from the pictures that I need to press that out from the shoulders down.
In all, this is an easy top, but for one or two places.
Fitting: Several reviewers suggested this ran small – was tight across the back. I made it in a size 12, my regular size these days. The muslin, which has less give, suggested a ever so slightly snug fit. I did nothing to adjust here, and in the silk, I don’t feel any snugness. I’m happy with the fit. I do suspect that you could have a wardrobe malfunction if you don’t watch your posture in this top. I’ll be wearing it with jeans tonight, and we’ll see how many times my husband points out the lack of modesty…
What I learned: Basting is my friend. It’s much easier to sew a basted seam than a pinned one. Takes a little more time, but I didn’t rip out a single seam, so maybe it doesn’t take more time. I will say to be super careful pulling out the basting; I damaged the fabric as you can see in the picture. Black is hard to photograph – and it also hides mistakes. I also learned to take my time. I need to sew more often to work on my skills, but I was pretty pleased with the quality of my hand-stitching – not perfect, but I’m gaining the confidence to tackle more difficult items… like the jacket, which is next (after two other things on the sewing table).
This looks better on, than on the dressform, and black is very difficult to photograph.