More, more, MORE!
This is the first of what may be many more.
Silk twill is a fabric I love to wear - it's got a good amount of structure (though not as much as dupion), and I like it for bold shapes like sleeves that stick out at an angle. It drapes nicely and a light breeze doesn't blow it around too much. It's also a hell of a lot easier to sew than the lighter types of silk, and using Lena's gelatine treatment makes it even easier.
And the pattern? It's Vogue 8879, a "Very Easy" pattern.
I love this pattern - absolutely hated the photos on the Vogue website (a big slash through the back of my top? Noooo!) and was totally uninspired by the envelope art, but the pattern itself is awesome. Thank goodness my mum noticed the line drawings looked good and then accidentally bought the pattern twice!
If you haven't sewn a Vogue pattern before, this wouldn't be a bad starting point. With careful cutting you only need 1.1 metres of fabric for the shorter top with a plain back in a size M (12-14), and although the recommended fabrics are two-way stretch knits, obviously the pattern works in a non-stretch woven too if you omit the twist in the sleeve band! And being in the "Very Easy" class of patterns, it's quite a straightforward sew.
I didn't use the instructions because I'd misplaced them but I've since found them, and I can confirm that they are short and easy. My only gripe with them - and with the instructions for nearly every pattern I've ever used - is that they don't include instructions for finishing the fabric. I find that the order you serge different parts of a garment makes a big difference to the final finish, and although there are different opinions about which stage at which to serge what, it'd be great to have a recommended approach to fall back on.
A HUGE thank you to Kristy from Lower Your Presser Foot who kindly offered to meet me at lunch time to take these photos and who also suggested this particular spot, near the corner of the Tank Stream Way and Abercrombie Lane. I had already taken some photos on my side balcony but they were sooo boring, and I just hadn't been able to force a smile for the camera's 10 second count down. When a lovely fellow sewist is taking the pictures a genuine smile is a snap (geddit?). And a mini sewist meetup in your lunch break is a happy addition to a work day: we quickly talked sewing, pattern lines, blogging and bloggers, sewing and family; I went back to work with a bounce in my step.
As the fabric was apparently playing silly buggers with the camera when I met up with Kristy (I'd probably applied the wrong settings), I'm going to resort to one of the boring balcony photos to show you the fabric:
Hmm - I should probably tell you the changes I made to the standard view B, shouldn't I!
View B is cropped in length, with a slashed back which brings the back hemline down - but I don't think I could wear a slashed top to work, and I'm not sure I'd want to. To make this top a consistent length all around I matched up the front pattern side seams to the back pattern side seams for view C (a long version of the top with no back slashes) and folded up the back pattern piece to this length before cutting out.
The other change I made was to the sleeve bands. On the pattern envelope the sleeve bands look ruched - they aren't, but they're twisted and tacked alternately to the inside and outside of the sleeve for an interesting effect. My mum hadn't bothered with this, and I liked the simple sleeve bands on her tops so I did the same and left out the twisting. I think the resulting longer sleeve length is flattering as it covers that section of upper arm where lost flab likes to gather, but it all depends on your personal proportions, doesn't it!
For what it's worth here's a view of the insides:
If I make this again (I hope I do - time permitting!) I think I'll lengthen it 5cm and then add another 5cm for a decadent deep hem. The cropped length feels just a little too short, probably because I'm just a little taller than the standard size.
And finally, I feel compelled to be very honest and tell you this top is far from perfect - I over-handled the fabric, and my hem and neckline don't look as smooth as they should. For me the style and fabric (and the fact that so much in my wardrobe doesn't fit me anymore) overcome those shortcomings; I know I'll wear it heaps regardless.
Happy sewing and see you soon,
- Gabrielle x