Anyway, this top is proof, if proof were needed, that I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. I do that I do (I’m pretty sure this phrase only works in a Lancashire accent so feel free to insert one at will).
The source of my over-mastication? Well, I’ve decided to participate in Simplicity’s Star Sewist Blogger Challenge. I’m not sure how wise this is since I’ve only sewn a handful of (quite shoddy) garments but I’ve thrown caution, common sense and good judgment to the wind and signed up anyway. I don’t intend to win. Dear God, I just hope to finish my make in time. I’m really hoping that participating in itself will force me to learn more about fitting a garment – and push me into a more productive sewing frenzy…I haven’t made a lot in the past year.
So what’s the challenge all about? There are three patterns to choose from, each associated with a category: Best Dressmaking Project, Best Vintage Make and Best Newcomer. I’m entering the vintage category which is based around this blouse pattern:
Why not enter the beginner category which is clearly more in keeping with my experience and skill? Well, old age, frankly. My blog is a couple of months too old, sadly. To qualify for the beginner category, you have to have been blogging for less than a year and I recently celebrated my blogiversary. Devastated! Still, the blouse pattern is really interesting, simple to sew and full of potential. I figured I’d make a few then choose an entry later. I think they call this hedging your bets.
I certainly never intended to enter this particular make. I decided to make a wearable muslin just to check the sizing but didn’t want to make anything too similar to what I intend to do for that actual competition. I’ve really wanted a lace top with raw hems for a while. How tempting not to have to face, bind or press anything but also, I thought (somewhat mistakenly) that I’d love the random patterns of the lace edging the neck, sleeves and hem. As soon as I’d finished it, I suddenly remembered I’m incredibly pernickety about symmetry.
I bought the lace from an Etsy seller and only used a yard. The blouse came together in a couple of hours…it’s an incredibly easy make – especially as I didn’t bother with the zip – and I don’t know why I hadn’t considered this pattern before. Sadly though, the sizing was all over the place. I cut a straight size 16, thinking it was incredibly risky and probably wouldn’t fit over my swollen post C-section belly. Imagine my glee when it was actually too large all over, even over the giant baby pouch (you could read this as ‘giant baby’ or ‘giant pouch’ – either way is fairly accurate). And, yes, I know this is probably the pattern’s generous ease but I’d really rather imagine it’s testament to my shrinking body…I have an excellent imagination by the way.
So, I had a good go at making some fit adjustments. I trimmed a couple of inches off the side seams and hoiked up the shoulders a bit and that seemed to do the trick. The biggest problem was the sleeve edges and neckline. Because I wanted raw edges, I omitted the seam allowances at the neckline, sleeve and hem and I did really try to cut the fabric so that I didn’t have to do any special finishing other than to trim around the shape of the lace but getting the boat neck and sleeves to look even with the irregular pattern was a pretty heinous task. I just about managed it but, if I look too closely, the asymmetry really starts to bother me…so I’ll just have to squint at it and continue to love it, I think.
Even if I consider this make a (partial) success, I still think I’ll have to go back and make a proper muslin for my final competition version because I probably want to go down at least a size and might even have to do some grading. Getting the fit right is what I’m aiming for when I make this blouse for real so I’m going to put some ground work in first…and I’ve ordered my copy of Fit 4 Real People to help me along the way already.
And there you go, a frosty, iced t-shirt you could practically eat.