The hissy two-part shimmering black snake finally hatched. I tried really hard to get her to this year’s Jungle January Party, but Brain Freeze said No. It didn’t help that I picked two styles of garment that I haven’t tried before. And even she’s made with my Mom’s Kabuki sized top & skirt, there still wasn’t enough fabric for things to go according to plan. So neither part came out as I had hoped. But as they’re memories of Mom, I’ve styled them as best as I could & hope to wear them loads when the weather’s warmer.
Style Shots & Mug Shots
The Design & Pattern
The design started with the drape of the fabric. I thought this slinky knit would be perfect for the side bow tie halter top design that has been stuck in my head like forever. I think I first saw something like this on TV, then on the high street. But now I can’t seem to find a perfect specimen to show you. The closest are these:
I was originally planning on using a floral silk Mom gave me, but I was worried that its floatiness would make the front neck gathering (& its inhabitant) too puffy. I felt safer testing the design with this limpy knit. So that’s Mom’s Kabuki top taken care of.
As for the Kabuki skirt, turning it into another shape of skirt would be too easy. And too prim & proper for me. I needed edge. Another vague idea floated up from my primordial soup of mental clippings: matching trousers for a ‘jumpsuit’ look. Ding ding! I get to try a look that I otherwise wouldn’t go near. While I admire jumpsuits on other women, I can’t square with having to strip to go to the loo. This way I get the look without the loo hassle. Plus I multiply my wearing options. Win-win!
This was draped on Q. I actually sorted the trousers pattern first. And after struggling to fit the ready-made pattern into what I thought would be enough fabrics, I was in no mood for more of the same. Only the front neckline was gathered. The back I kept sleek & went for a slight A-line at the side seams. The neckband I ended up keeping simple & made the bow tie a separate sash for extra wearing options. But now it doesn’t work so well as a bow tie for the top. Win some lose some. The tie this time was made from only one sleeve. The other sleeve was sacrificed to the trouser pockets.
…Chosen because it had a bit of slouch & a bit of sleek, so hopefully would fit on the unpicked skirt panels. This is the first time I tried a Style Arc. Love what bloggers like the Clothing Engineer achieved with their patterns, but was put off by the high cost & single size paper pattern format. What if I pick the wrong size? Luckily the Style Arc Etsy shop sells cheaper PDF version of the pattern in multiple sizes. While the multiple sizes are not nested – you’ll have to print out each size separately – at least you won’t have to pay & wait for another size if your first choice isn’t quite right.
I did have to tweak the fit of the trousers, but as I made mine with a knit instead of a woven, it seems pointless to list the changes in details. I may need to tweak the changes again if I make this in a woven or even a different knit. Suffice it to say I needed crouch reshaping, waistline reshaping, and shifting inseam & side-seam slightly towards the centre to get rid of major wrinkling under my bum. I also had to adapt my pencil skirt block to make a replacement waist facing that fits my body shape better. Unfortunately I forgot about the ease in the skirt block, so the trousers hang lower than I wanted.
BTW I moved the zip to the side seam because I just can’t get my head around CB zip on trousers even though I have no problem with CB zip on skirts. But it’s partly about convenience for sure. It’s easier to see what I’m doing with side zips & hooks. And as I grow stiffer with age easier to reach too. For zips that get zipped & unzipped more frequently (think loo again!), these little practical details matter!
Fabric & Notions Used
- Mystery slinky knit top & long skirt from Mom’s Closet. Also used the Georgette skirt lining for facings & pockets.
- Notions: Invisible zipper, hook & eye, skirt hook & bar from the Stash. Vilene Bias Stay Tape. So Sheer fusible interfacing for facings. ProTRICOT fusible interfacing for the sash.
- Tools: Walking foot, spray starch
- There were a lot of making it up as I go along. Like figuring out what need to be interfaced or stablised. I think I might have overdone it with the stablisation of the armholes and crotch. The top end up being shorter than when draped originally. The trousers would have been a bit tight in the crotch if the trousers hangs an inch above my belly button as intended, but luckily (?) it hangs lower thanks to built in waist ease.
- Unfortunately even with the trousers hanging lower than intended the length still wasn’t long enough (due to lack of fabric). I had to add length at the hems with scraps, which unfortunately were on a different grainline. Hopefully it’s not too noticeable, or if it is doesn’t look too odd.
- All hems were faced with the skirt lining Georgette because (A) I didn’t have enough of the slinky knit, and (B) the glittery bits of the slinky knit is rather scratchy. Most were bias tapes to conserve fabric.
- Style Arc Antoinette Trousers instruction: This was clear enough for an intermediate sewer like me. It’s a bit on the short side (like Burda), but has diagrams for the tricky bits – like the front pleats (not sure if these were added after JamieDFC’s review on Denver Sew). What still is a bit of a problem is front facing peaking out due to the weight & bulk of the pleats. So like PoldaPop I also tacked my front facing discretely in the pocket / pleat area. That’s something so easy to forget when designing or picking a design – the force of gravity. I’m sure this is not the first time garments go unintentionally lopsided because someone forgot that extra bits of fabric or embellishment also add weight to one side which needs to be balanced somewhere else if the garment is to hang as intended.
- Sash: I didn’t have enough of the slinky knit to do double layer sash as I normally do. So one side is the skirt lining Georgette. I was worried the slinky knit will grow more than the woven Georgette cut on grain, so it was stablised with ProTRICOT fusible interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply – chosen because of its claim that it won’t interfere with the drape. The result is softer than the other interfaced bits, but for this super limpy slinky knit the drape does stiffen a little. Still works for this sash though.
Because the top is shorter and the trousers hangs lower than expected, I’m a bit on the fence with this refashioning project. I mean they’re still wearable, but the slight disappointments killed any desire to jump up & down in this psuedo jumpsuit. And does it counts as refashioning when none of the original design feature or sewing were reused?
Regardless, it’s still a piece of Mom with me. But I think I need to move on & get back on track with my SWAP, or at least sew with my own fabrics. It’s quite depressing too to be constantly reminded of Mom, or her absence rather. I’m still not getting the hang of grieving yet…