Friday, November 6, 2009

The big blue blouse revisited

I did manage to finish the McCalls top from this post, but after many hot washes and much hand wringing it is still too big! And the chambray is as stiff as a board.

But despite the fact that my fabric choice is completely wrong it is actually a great pattern so here goes with a review.

Here’s McCalls version.

And here’s mine, in the stubborn chambray, kindly modeled by my sis.

I cut a size 14 and really should have gone with a 12 but I have an overriding fear of clothes that are too tight.

It’s just my opinion (and isn’t that what blogs are for) but the majority of folks I see get around in clothing that is just simply too small, its either too tight or too short and considering that most of us are not string beans you would think that we would prefer to hide our flaws rather than flaunt them.
So I tend to err on the side of volume when making my clothes, and I am too lazy to pre shrink my fabric!

I bought the pattern because I was quite taken with the frill detail, and they have to be the easiest frills I have ever done!

I simply rolled hemmed the cut edges (the instructions say to pinstitch, trim, press and pin stitch again but that seemed like way too much work) and the two frills are then placed on top of the front and all gathered as one piece.
My only criticism of the frill is that I think that the proportion is too long in comparison to the top – they tend to give the impression that my boobs are talking to my belly button!

The instructions are super easy and very straightforward, I did use a different method to finish the facing however.
Commercial patterns always say to fold the raw edge under and handstitch which I never do – it makes for too much bulk and machine stitching is always preferable to hand stitching in my book.

Instead I sewed front to back facing at the shoulder seams, then overlocked the lower edge, trimming off about 0.5cm, then once the facing was sewn to the yoke, turned it through, pressed and ditch stitched in the seamline from the front.

I really should try to take more photos of the construction stages – feel free to email me if you are making this pattern and this all sounds like gobbledy gook!

There is a little bit of ease in the sleeve head, which is a bit baffling for a raglan sleeve but I’ll save that rant for another day. I don’t like using gathering stitches to ease in sleeves, so used the pin method instead.

If you haven’t done this before, give it a go because I nearly always find that I end up with little tucks using gathering but never using pins.

The method is to first pin the sleeve to the armhole at any markings such as shoulder seam, underarm seam and notches. Then proceed to pin halfway between the pins, then halfway again and continuing until you have lots of pins about a couple of millimetres apart.

The trick is to make sure that the pins are underneath the fabric at the seam allowance and the pin heads are neatly lined up. Then just sew as usual.
Some people are happy to sew over the pins and then remove at the end but I get nervous doing this, I don’t know why as I have never broken a needle, so I just take them out as I go.

If you do this, make sure that the foot is on top of the pin, don’t lift the foot and just slide out the pin before the needle hits it. If you lift the foot then the ease will be released and you will get a fold.

It’s a bit time consuming making sure the pinning is perfect but then so is sewing and removing gathering threads. This method always works for me and is great for set in sleeves.

I probably won’t ever wear this top, but if I sew it again I promise to
1. Try the size 12
2. Reduce the width of the frills
3. Take out the back gathering – it’s not really needed and just adds to the puffiness
4. Use a very floppy fabric

I am going to make one last effort at saving this top – I am going to try bleaching the heck out of and see if that softens it up!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for explaining the pin method - setting in sleeves is my most feared sewing experience so finding an alternative way of doing it is awesome.

    I definitely think you should try the pattern again - don't let the chambray get the better of you!