Last Make of the Year: Paco Peralta top (Vogue 1567)

Let’s finish the year with something easy and festive.  I cut this top out before Christmas, but I’ve been so busy (like everyone) that I spent only 5-10 minutes a day on it.  I’m not fond of the skirt (I have wide hips), but the top looked simple (and I thought it would be done to wear Christmas day).

Vogue 1567 is a close-fitting top with dolman sleeves (wow – haven’t seen them in a while).  With only two pattern pieces, the emphasis is on the fabric and construction.  I chose a poly stretch velvet in green (Sage Shimmer Velvet) from Marcy Tilton. It’s sold out of course.  It’s knit, with no rolling and easy to sew.

Vogue 1567 Paco Peralta, from Vogue webpage.

The pattern itself is fairly simple and the instructions are fine.   I made several construction choices to make it my own.

  1. Instead of double stitched hems, I stitched the seams on my straight stitch machine (pulling lightly as I stitched).  I finished all seams on the serger.  I’m not confident in sewing a straight line with a 5/8ths seam on the serger – though I am with the 3/8ths – has to do with the cutting knife position on the one I bought.
  2. In the directions, the back facing, sleeves and hem are all turned under 1/4 inch and then top-stitched with two rows of stitching.  I didn’t turn under any of these edges; rather, I finished the edges with the serger for a less bulky finish with the velvet.  I only top stitched the back v to give it more stability and reduce stretching.  I wanted a softer hem on the sleeves and waist, sew I hand-sewed these hems.
  3. I will likely take in the neckline a bit (1/2 inch each side), the neck is very wide, and I don’t think I did it quite right (see below).  I will also add lingerie straps.
  4. I added my customary 1.5 inches in the torso for being long waisted.

So, I have never quite gotten the technique right for the fold-over facing on these type tops. Something is always out of whack for me.  I followed the instructions carefully, and lined up my notches, but the shoulder seams seem slightly off (see the picture).  Hard to describe, but the front facing is turned tot he outside, along the fold line, over back, basted, then stitched.  Then you turn the front facing to inside along the fold line, and press lightly.  Anyway, they are always a bit wonky.

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See, a bit wonky.

This was my inspiration top:  a Vince Camuto velvet boxy top in green I found on Nordstrom.  I like mine better!

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The inspiration top.  But the construction looked terrible!

I’m pleased with the top. I’ll post a picture of me in it with the skirt I’m making to go with it.  I might make another one, but the sewing agenda for the new year is quite ambitious.  Right off the top: a coat for DH, two dresses for my niece, two skirts, another top, and two dresses….

And my version, complete:

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Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018

Ah, the year-end reflective post.  Every year it’s the same: didn’t sew enough, need to work on this or that, plan to do X in the future.  Well it’s true.

This year, my plans, as always, were ambitious.  Health and family issues kept me away from the machine, but I managed to continue stockpiling fabrics.  Actually, I practiced restraint until Gorgeous Fabrics announced the farewell sale.

I find that when I sew, all areas of my life bloom.  My creativity increases in all areas.  My cooking is more adventurous.  I start ripping out plants in the yard (working on a Florida friendly habitat).  And my work productivity goes way up.

I did not sew much last year, but I did tackle a few old projects and worked on more ambitious projects, like two Rucci outfits, a couple of dresses using couture, and the Donna Karan jacket.  I haven’t had a need for much, so haven’t felt as driven.

This year, the need is still low to moderate, but the desire is high.  I  will continue to focus on outfits that are appropriate for work, my climate, and for tooling around town.  We’re planning a big overseas trip, so travel clothes are on the agenda.  More linen.  More cotton.  I have my eye on Paco Peralta, plus Vintage Balmain, Dior and Montana (and, and, and).  I need something for a wedding in California in March (a guipure skirt and silk top?) We’ll see what happens!

I feel my sewing skills are improving – at least on the technical level.  I still feel challenged with the serger.  And the biggest issue I have is fitting the self.  I have no fitting partner, and my body shape is changing as I go through menopause.  I have finally recognized that I need to sew for now, not the body I think I’ll have if I lose a couple pounds, flatten the tummy, tone the legs.  Well-fitting clothing is far more flattering than beautifully made clothes that pull and are uncomfortable. I find myself shopping Nordstrom for fill-in pieces (that also don’t fit well, but …)

I never really join in the various contests on the interwebs.  But this year I’ll be participating in the ready-to-wear fast Sarah Gunn is sponsoring at Goodbye Valentino.  The rules are fairly permissive:  I can wear what I have, just not buy anything new (accept accessories).  I have a decent closet and I know how to sew… so Goodbye Nordstrom (for clothes anyway).

Here’s to 2018!

At long last, the Rucci dress is finished (Vogue 1239)

What a journey with this dress!  I bought the pattern in 2011 when it came out.  I found the fabric in 2012.  The envelop back said edge-to-edge lining, china silk, 60″.  I searched forever for a matching blue silk habotai in a wide width.  Finally, I took the pattern out and studied it:  not edge-to-edge, but facings, and 45″ would do fine.  Started enthusiastically.  Started sewing the lining and remembered:  I absolutely hate working with and wearing silk habotai. Ordered silk CDC, cut it out, and… stopped.  I needed to make Halloween costumes.  It stared me in the face for months into three years, and finally, I got back to it last week (enthusiastically, too).

From Vogue’s website.

I was ambivalent last night when I tried it on, but wore it to work anyway.  It’s the first thing I’ve made (that could be worn to work) that ever received open compliments, from the cleaning woman to colleagues to students.  They loved it.  By the time I had gotten to work, I felt good in it, and decided that my ambivalence had to do with two things:  I know there are many small errors  and that I’m not used to being so covered up  (warm climate).  So, as the day wore on, I felt more at ease with the look, though it really is pretty fancy for work, and maybe is best for an evening of culture.

As for the look: some have described it as sci-fi, or lab coat.  That’s what I was expecting, an ultra-modern look.  But it felt more like the 1950s.  My husband said it looked nice, and had a 1950s vibe (before I even asked).  He also said it reminded him of June Cleaver.  I was not annoyed – it’s exactly what I thought too!  So, I donned my grandmother’s pearls and headed off to work.

I’ve blogged this before here, here, here, and here.  But now the details, plus pictures (including me):

The pattern:  Vogue 1239, Vogue American Designer CHADO ralph rucci. Close-fitting, lined to edge dress has shoulder darts, side front pockets, inside ties, hook and eye closure.

The fabric:  The pattern calls for a crisp fabric (poplin, taffeta, shantung), which is necessary to get the look pictured. I chose a silk poplin (Isaac Mizrahi) in deep blue from Mood Fabrics.  I lined it with a very dark navy silk crepe de chine from Gorgeous Fabrics.

The directions:  were mostly good.  I didn’t have any issues except with steps 49 and 59.  In 49, you are directed to cut one upper front band lining section along line indicated in pattern tissue.  I apparently cut both when I cut the lining.  I  basted to see what would happen, and it was perfect.  So, I’m pretty sure you are supposed to cut both (and the pattern tissue seems to indicate this too).

Step 59 was a real problem. This was finishing those beautiful sleeves.  Well, I got mine done, but they aren’t as lovely as the photograph.  For the life of me I couldn’t figure out what the directions wanted me to do there. So, I pressed under my edges, basted them wrong sides together, very carefully fell-stitched (or slip) them together by hand, then did my edge stitching.

Other things I did: I made a size 12, adding one inch to lengthen the torso.  I made a muslin, so this is what I concluded I needed.  I think now another half inch in length would have been optimal. I made no other adjustments on sizing.  After wearing it all day, I think I would decrease the circumference of the sleeve openings a bit.  They are on the long size, and make my skinny wrist even skinnier looking.

My initial tests with thread suggested a longer stitch for the edge stitching.  After several tests, I decided I got the cleanest look with edge, but no top stitching, silk thread and a length of 2.5.

The dress has no interfacing, and since I was not top stitching (which helps give the dress its structure), I interfaced all the facings with silk organza. In addition, to help keep the neckline from stretching, I basted organza selvedges along the neckline.

I reinforced my corners using the couture method from Claire Schaeffer’s book.

Finally, the dress may channel June Cleaver, but it’s a risky dress. With only ties, the belt and one hook and eye to hold it in place… well. Before I left for work, I added a snap at the bust line.  I also moved the eye over toward the side by nearly an inch.  The hook and eye is a little high and wanted to come undone, so I found myself tying the belt a little above my natural waistline.  I will move it down slightly, and add a second hook and eye.

Though it took me over night to warm to the dress, I like it. I would consider making it again, if I found a more casual fabric that suited the lines of the dress.  Oh, and I LOVE the pockets on this dress!

I’m not so great with photographs. I use an iPhone to get selfies. On top of that, my vision is such that I can’t see what’s on the screen without the reading glasses.  My contacts only correct for long vision.  Sigh, I need bifocals. Pictures of the odyssey:

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Yes, I pressed the fabric before continuing.

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Blurry, but look, it’s fall in Florida. Or winter. Okay, its 80 out.
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Focused, and you can see the oranges.  But I added the snap after this picture.  Did I say this fabric is impossible to press?  And puckers? The puckering was why I eliminated the top stitching and kept only the edge.