fancy schmancy

Firstly, it’s been a surprise that several people have subscribed to this blog lately! Thank you! Since this is mainly a personal sewing journal, it’s really gratifying that anyone finds it interesting enough to follow. I’m glad to have you here…and knowing that you’re reading will prod me to up my posting game. Now, on to the topic at hand.

Sometimes you have a need for dress-up clothes. Gala evenings are not part of my life, nor is the nightclub scene, but there are concerts and holiday evenings where a little bling adds to the festivity. An outfit with something sparkly, that can still be worn comfortably and somewhat casually is a nice wardrobe addition.

 In making an outfit for those occasions, I used two treasured pieces of stash – heavy, drapey 4-ply silk for a pair of CLD one-seam pants; and the beaded silk chiffon I got from Britex that I wrote about here.

 There’s not too much to write about the pants. The pattern is a re-issue of Cutting Line Designs very popular One-Seam pant. The pattern is basically the same, with instructions for a closer fit if desired , optional darts , and new pocket and tab details which I haven’t tried yet.

 There is a straight leg version and tapered in the envelope. For evening pants, the fuller straight leg seemed like the way to go. The idea was that I would make fitted tops to wear with them. To make these up, I followed the step-by-step fitting instructions in the pattern, using the darts and removing a little width. They are still loose, all the better for sitting through concerts in comfort. If I succeed in loosing some weight, I’ll take them in by adding a side seam straight up the grainline.

 The sleeveless shell top took much more time than you would think, given the simplicity of the pattern. This is the closest to couture sewing that I have ever done, and there was heaps of basting, thread tracing, removing basting, and hand stitching. Very little machine sewing. Special thread was bought for this project – japanese cotton basting thread, and silk thread for the hand sewing. I got those goodies at Shibori Dragon.

 The pattern was in the fall/winter Ottobre 2009. Ottobre fits me pretty darn well and I have been very happy with the nice drafting and basic styles they offer. Two muslins were made: the first one to make fitting adjustments and the second one just to be sure that the adjustments were right. Adjustments: lowered the bust point a tiny bit; took a small gaposis pinch at the front armscye and rotated that into the bust dart; also took a very, very small pinch in the neckline so it would snug up; and adjusted the side seams to add width at the hip. That neckline pinch was so small it didn’t get rotated into anything.

 I didn’t photograph all the construction steps, but here they are for any interested parties. Thanks to the members at Stitcher’s Guild for coaching in how to handle the project!

Step one was to baste the beaded chiffon to a silk underlining. Baste, baste, baste, all over the areas where the pattern pieces would lie. There was only ¾ of a yard of that chiffon because it was expensive. The pattern just fit with single layer cutting. Facings were cut from the underlining fabric and a fusible interfacing was applied. I used Pam Erny’s xxx.

 Step two: Lay the pattern on the fabrics and thread trace all edges and darts (did not add seam allowances to the pattern to make this part easy).

 Step three: Cut out, adding seam allowances. Crush the beads in the seam allowances, hem, and darts.

 Step four was the actual construction. All seams were hand basted before stitching. Seam allowances and hems were overcast and tacked to the underlining by hand. Facings were understitched by hand and tacked to the underlining, too. Underlinings are wonderful and I’m going to use them more. Hand picked zipper – my first; I did what I could to make it perfect, including measuring my stitches with tiger tape; but it’s still a good thing that textured fabric hides a lot. To finish up, there was a lot of basting to pick out.

 Whew! As I kept telling myself, “If you’re going to buy those fancy fabrics, you have to do what it takes to make them up.” I’m glad to have had the experience, and am really happy to have fitted the shell. It’s another good classic to have as a TNT.

So here it is on me in a bad photo, and you can see a little of the pants. Hard to photograph black, and it does sparkle which isn’t showing up in the photo either. When I wear this in real life, it will be with a wrap of some sort.

This outfit gets its debut at cocktail hour next week – at the PatternReview anniversary get-together in Austin! I’m looking forward to meeting lots of sewing enthusiasts there!


9 thoughts on “fancy schmancy

  1. I am among the new followers of your blog and I think it is very interesting. I like your clothes choice because it is casual but very well drafted and neatly sewn. You are inspiring me a lot at the moment as my life style is changing and I might need this type of garments more and more.
    You did an amazing work of patience on this top but the fabric is well worth it.
    How lucky you are to attend to a Pattern Review aniversary get-together.

    • Thanks, Julie. I will use this pattern a lot, now that it’s fitted. Without the vertical darts, I think the zip could be left out, making it quick and easy.

  2. From your descriptions, your top must look as beautiful inside as it does on the outside. I read an article in Threads magazine, by Susan Kahlje, about making a shell with many of the hand sewing techniques you used. I would like to try it one day. Have fun at the PR get together!

  3. Hi Robyn

    I too am one of your new followers, and I too am jealous that I can’t get to a “Pattern Review aniversary get-together”, sadly out of sync with my business trips from the UK to Houston boo hoo.

    Looking forward to reading all about your adventures and getting inspiration from your sewing.

    Enjoy your weekend.

  4. Wonderful new top! Hope you have a wonderful PR visit. I got to Austin for the first time this year and loved it. With PR members it will be perfect.

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