Elber Albaz, former designer of House Lanvin revealed in an interview, “What is your job as a designer? To unveil the body or to cover it?” He went on to say, “…It was then that I realised that fashion is not really about the body at all. Its essence is simple: to make the woman look beautiful, to make her fly.”
This top (Butterick 5354, view D) doesn’t aspire to Lanvin in the slightest, but I liked the drawings, the description and the line drawings. Albaz’s sentiment is still relevant: fashion should make you feel confident, beautiful, enhance the best of you. But it didn’t even make me flap wings. This is a design that could work (with some re-working) in a VERY drapey fabric, but don’t consider it with any fabric with body. It covers the body, adds weight, and is headed to the donate pile.
The fabric is from Gorgeous Fabrics – I bought it after working with the navy rayon doubleknit (and during Ann’s closeout sale). I love the fabric, and am kicking myself for wasting it here. I have enough left for a sleeveless top, maybe.
Okay, other than the fact that it’s just not flattering (though super easy), here were my main issues:
The neckline is not as wide as pictured in either the drawings on the front or in the line drawings. Views B, C and D indicate a wide neckline (I made view D). It’s more of a circle around the neck (View A somewhat indicates this, but is still more revealing than reality). It’s a very, very modest neckline compared to these drawings.
The shoulders are too narrow. Yes, I know, muslin. This isn’t usually a problem I have – since I have narrow shoulders. But the shoulder lines are well inside where they need to be flattering. I made a 12, my usual size, and many on PatternReview indicated sizing down. Again, where the shoulder meets the sleeve cap is more like View A than View D.
The facing is fiddly. I measured carefully, I cut carefully, I attached carefully. I understitched. I trimmed and notched. I pressed. The facing rolls out. In fact, it’s not drafted properly, as it won’t lay flat on the inside. The outside curve of the facing is a bit short, forcing the facing to pull up – and is perhaps why issue number one is occurring.
Could I have fixed this with a muslin? Yes.
Win some, lose some. Moving on.
(Sorry, can’t seem to get the lighting right with my iPhone).
I know many of you are chilled these days, but here’s some warmth:
The citrus harvest has begun. We have been picking Persian, Kaffir, and Key limes for a week or two. Today we picked red lime, Meyer lemon (above), and our first orange.
We didn’t get a heavy fruit set this year, and the grapefruit is still too young, but we’ll take what we can get. The Meyer lemon did well, which is great for cooking. Anyone want to share a favorite recipe featuring citrus?
I have some things I want to finish, and a few new, more complex projects on the way. But first, a quick comfortable, yet stylish top. Vogue 9187 is a re-release of a 1960 close-fitting top. I think I have a version of the original pattern from my grandmother (it has buttons up the back).
I first did the muslin on this sometime last year, with handkerchief linen in mind. This top is too close-fitting for linen. I had some of the rayon/spandex double knit left over from making my niece a dress, so I thought I would adapt the pattern for a stable knit.
I made view D, in a size 12. There is very little ease here (great for a knit). I eliminated the back zipper (placing the seam line on the fold). I lengthened the torso 2 inches; this one barely came to my belly button, so that was necessary. It’s still a bit short, but since it’s designed to be worn untucked, it’s okay. For a bit more wearing ease, I sewed 3/8 inch side seams. This led to some gaping under the arms. To fix this, I tapered to 5/8th seams under the arm, starting about two inches down.
If I had given it any thought, I would have changed how to do the facings for the neck and arm holes. With no back zipper, you can’t simply pull through, as instructed. So, I stitched the neckline, under-stitched, and pressed. Then I use the techniques from inserting a lining from Susan Khalje’s Couture Dress class to hand sew the facings in for the arm holes. Took longer, worked just fine.
I love this top. I will probably try the true vintage one I have first though before doing this pattern soon (I have a duppioni in mind and the buttons down the back would be pretty).
And, yes, I know, I have to get some pictures of these things with me in them. Just haven’t wanted to photograph myself lately.
After the Donna Karan jacket, I wanted something easy. I chose this skirt. Yes, very easy, but it still took a couple of weeks to finish. By that I mean, I did everything but the buttons/buttonholes in an evening, got distracted by life for a couple weeks, then finished it.
Vogue 9209 (from 2016) is a true wrap skirt for crepe, gabardine, ponte or lightweight denim. I chose a khaki cotton twill with loads of stretch that I purchased from Emma One Sock in 2014. I was saving it to make a pair of cropped khakis, but finally realized I would never do that. The fabric has a nice weight to it with some good stretch, so I thought this would make a versatile skirt. I used pro-weft supreme medium interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply. The beautiful, high-quality brass-toned buttons come from Pacific Trimming (I’m not sure where the flat clear buttons I used on the inside came from).
I followed the pattern instructions pretty faithfully, making the midi version (B). Since my weight gain has been in the tummy/hips, and I’ve always borderlined 12/14, I chose size 14 (but it still feels big in some ways). The only thing I did different on this pattern was to underline all the facings (something by hand). There is one error in the pattern – the placement for the interior buttons is off by two inches.
The pictures were mostly taken after wearing all day (and thus show wrinkles). As for wearability? This is an okay skirt. It’s sits 2 inches above the waist – and after two decades of low-waisted skirts/pants I’m just not accustomed to that. The overlapping fabric means a lot of fabric in the front, and it sometimes bunches. It only calls for two inside buttons, and I’m thinking more are necessary. The one thing I don’t like? How my knee kept grabbing the front hem/facing. It stays modest (mostly closed) unlike many wrap skirts.
In the end, an easy skirt, but I’m beginning to think the pencil wrap skirt isn’t really my favorite style.