In theory this combination of pattern (just enough twist in the back) & fabric (just enough sparkle in the stripes) should have given me Sports Luxe. But Reality always gets her own ways and the result was a bit of a disappointment.
I mean look at that back. Just look at that back. How can I not be seduced? I knew I wanted to make this, but wasn’t sure which fabric – this stripe or the floral you see in the dress below. Of course I asked DH & promptly picked the other one. 😈
Tools: Corn starch (for temporarily stiffening the jersey & tame the edge curling for easier sewing & handling)
Stablised both back neckline & shoulder seams
Tidied up the innards by
sandwiching the seam allowance of right back facing / drape / left back seam
used binding on left back cutout to hide ugly interfacing
Meh. Both front & back look a bit more frumpy than in the pattern photo, which looks longer (bum length?) & with more fluid drapes. I didn’t shorten the pattern, so I’m putting this down to different body proportion compared to the model.
Sadly, unlike my last foray into loose fit, this one I haven’t quite made peace with yet.
Next up, exploration of volume in baby steps… Because the cool kids are doing it? (You know – effortless, confident, got it & don’t need to flaunt it.) Or maybe because it’s getting too hot for a tight-fitting hug. Or just because too many tears were shed when I had to say bye to me-mades that no longer fit.
Anyway, as usual for me, my first attempt didn’t quite go as planned.
It was a case of being seduced by 3/4-view editorial shot. I did have my doubts that full frontal wouldn’t look as good. But nothing ventured nothing gained. This looked like it could be just a tad more interesting than the bog standard loose v-neck top – what with the lantern sleeves (in the photo at least).
Shorten bodice above bust (so front neckline won’t be indecent!)
Narrow sleeves & lengthen sleeve seams
Not sure if these changes qualify entirely as fitting changes given that it’s suppose to be a boxy fit…but I do know I’m short-waisted, plus there’s no way the front neckline would end above the bust like in the pattern photo if I didn’t make these changes.
I tried it on just before hemming & the mirror said No. I just couldn’t carry off the boxy style. The clingy fabric probably didn’t help. To salvage this I made the following changes…
Sleeve hems: added inverted pleats.
Shoulders: added pleats to narrow the shoulders & add a little bit more volume to the sleeve heads.
Added lining to bodice below the yokes.
Tried it on again. Still no good. I’m not liking the horizontal emphasis at the waist created by sleeves and bodice that are about the same lengths. Fishing scraps out of the recycling bag I added another change…
Added as much asymmetric extension to the bodice hem as the scraps would afford me.
And now for a change of pace, let’s finally catch up with a project finished last year, but was waiting for the matching slim trousers which I just finished… This is the Indian anarkali tunic outfit kit I bought last year:
Loose weave Khadi shell fabric – this looks really similar to the raw silk gauze I used for Burda 2014-02-117 top (another one waiting to be blogged)
Poplin / Batiste lining
Originally I was going to leave this quite loose & robey as it vaguely reminds me of dreamy Pre-Rarobes. But Ms Practicality vetoed that idea. And I went back to something more like the original intended design. Ms Practicality also insisted that I make this tunic open front to maximise wearing opportunities. (Though in retrospect, the flared shape doesn’t really lend itself to being worn with front opened.)
Examining the marketing photo I saw that armhole bust darts were added to give the tunic a fitted silhouette. I followed suit & modified my Fitted Top Block to shift some of the bust shaping into a new armhole bust dart.
The bodice did not quite fit into the panels neatly. To minimize the number of vertical seams, I ended up removed the equivalent of one panel – front outer panel – at the side seam & kept the corresponding back outer panel for the underarm area – ie no proper side seams… kind of like in some tailored jackets.
Additional dart shaping (bust, waist, shoulder blade) were done at the existing panel seams with varied seam allowance widths.
For sleeves I used my more mobile Tunic Sleeve Block.
Hem were shorten for my less than modelesque stature (yielding scraps to squeeze out #2 Peplum Top below).
Ms OCD demanded that I redo the collar, chest appliqué, hem border, and lining “properly” the Western way. So…
Hem border reapplied after everything else was done (saving me a chunk to squeeze out #3 Bustier Top below).
Lining flipped to hide the seam allowance the Western way. (So far I find that the Asian garments seems to favour exposed seam allowances even when the garment is lined. Someone told me it’s to facilitate alteration in case one gains weight. It’s less pretty in side, but certainly quicker to let out or take in. I guess I better not grow sideway any further now that I’ve hidden all the seams!)
Hooks & thread bars were used for front closure to minimize visual disruption to the design whether worn open or closed.
Now can I just moan about hooks a bit? I thought all hooks are equal. Apparently not. I bought a bunch of Hemline hook & eye fasteners that you’d find in all the sewing shops here in the UK. Trusted brand right? Nope. Total fail. They won’t stay closed, because the bump at the base of the hook is too shallow to properly do its job of stopping the thread bar or eye from slipping off. Maybe if the garment has negative ease – eg in a bra band or bustier – then this won’t be a problem as the busting tension would stop the hook & bar/eye from moving about. But given the positive ease in my tunic, it’s wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen. Actually the hooks I recycled from old Victoria Secrets bras for my choli blouses also have the same problem of wanting to come undone. I only properly understood the problem when I examined a couple of custom made choli blouses I ordered from India: These have hooks with prominent bumps & are properly secure once done up. Annoyingly online shops don’t show profile photos of hooks they sell, so it’s impossible to tell which brand has the secure hook design with a proper gate-keeper bump.
1a. Anarkali Tunic scraps ⇒ Peplum Top
I wish I had scraps bigged enough to make Burda 2014-03-118 Square Neck Peasant Top. I didn’t. So I tried draping the scraps on Q to see if there’s even enough to cover Q’s modesty. Thankfully I did. This peplum top design is the result. The front, peplum, & back for each (L/R) half is one continuous piece of the excess length panelled hem from the tunic. The bodice sides & straps are from the tunic’s two excess front outer panels (minus length used for the shirt dress front opening facing).
As the fabric is loose woven & seemingly delicate, I will need to line the top. The lining scraps are not big enough, so a batiste from the Stash will have to be pressed into service.
While the neck opening is big enough to slip over my head, I want the waist to remain trim, so some sort of opening must be incorporated to make it possible to put on/take off the top. Back overlap with buttons perhaps?
Now I just need to figure out the construction… one day some day!
1b. Anarkali Tunic scraps ⇒ Bustier Top
The scrap hem border from the tunic just barely goes around my torso. As the embellishment is so lovely, it seems a shame to throw it away. Taking inspiration from a Dolce & Gabbana editorial & a Alexander McQueen F/W 2008 designs, I think I will turn this into a bustier. To bridge the gap in girth I’m going for a contrasting deconstructed aesthetic of exposed zipper, braided elastic, or hook & eye tape. To maximize wearability, I may add sleeves & peplum – or maybe make this a separate top to be worn under the bustier. I have nothing as fancy as McQueen’s silk tulle, so instead I’m going to use a plentiful cheap gauze from the Stash (formerly window drapes). Haven’t quite work out the pattern yet let alone construction. So yet another project joining the long queue.
Since the fabric is a stiff Jacquard, the usual Asian instructions for a drapier Churidar Trousers won’t work. So as you already know I turned this into a Western style slim trousers, doubling as wearable muslin for my new Slim Pants / Trousers Block to statisfy Ms Two-Bird-One-Stone.
2a. Churidar Trousers scraps ⇒ TBD
There’s enough fabric for something else… Something I haven’t yet decided, but probably a dress or a-line skirt because this stiff fabrc with no give needs plenty of ventilation.
3. Dupatta Shawl ⇒ TBD
This was readymade. But the rose coloured fabric is rather scratchy. So I initially added a dual-tone chiffon lining. But then it doesn’t drape as well anymore. So off the lining comes.
I think I will have to make this into something I may wear more often. I have way too many dupatta shawls for my Western lifestyle!
This one was actually supposed to be a Burda alter-to-fit. But I gave up when it seemed like numerous non-standard adjustments would be needed. Plus the Burda version is designed for stretch woven and I’m using a bog standard woven suiting. And their sailor button front is an imposter bolstered by a side zip whereas I wanted to try out a functioning one. So my Block with Burda stylelines it is then.
Design: High-rise, F centred dart, B centred dart > princess seam, capri length, flared below knees, cuffed, sailor pants front flap (buttoned along princess seams – instead of Burda version’s faux front with side zip), no pocket, hem cuff.
Fitting: To accommodate lining bulk & my middle age spread, added ease by sewing a smaller SA instead of the 3/4″ SA added to the pattern for side seams & inseams (5/8″ inseams, 3/8″-5/8″ side seams). This gave me approx 1-1/2″ extra ease at the waist tapering to 1/2″ extra ease at the bottom of the legs, almost 1/2″ extra crotch length.
Facings were cut from lining except for the top front overlap. Lining pieces were cut from the same pattern as the shell, so there’s actually double layer of lining at the waist (facing + top of lining).
Interfaced waist facing & front overlaps. Extra interfacing for buttons & buttonholes.
Although the wool suiting doesn’t fray as much as the jacquard of the last pair, I still overlocked the pieces as soon as they were cut, including the lining which does fray a bit.
Stretched bias edges – inseams, leg side seams, back crotch fork. Much easier with the wool suiting than the jacquard of the last pair.
Because of the angles of my crotch points, it’s easier to sew the inseams first, then crotch seam. This does mean it’s not possible to fit the inseam as I sew (like suggested by Pants for Real People), though adjusting the fit at the side seam is still possible.
Sewed side seams & inseams with a smaller seam allowance instead fo 3/4″ added to the pattern. Originally tried even 5/8″ (1/2″ extra ease), but maybe because of the higher waistline, it felt a bit too tight when I fit as I sew. So I ended up with 3/8″ (1-1/2″ extra ease) at the waist. In retrospect this was overkill. I didn’t factor in that button closure has a bit more give than zipper closure. The pants ended up hanging lower than intended. I tried adding a hook at CF, but it doesn’t really help much. Since the problem didn’t manifest fully until everything’s pretty much done it’s now too much trouble to go in & alter the side seams. So this will have to be my post-Xmas-feasting pants!
Because the pants ended up hanging lower, I had to increase the height of the hem cuff to keep this capri length (just), and tweak the inseam & side seam to preserve the flare design (just). I ended up with 1-1/2″ extra ease at waist, tapering to nothing at knee, then widen back to same hem width as original design.
You can tell from all the wrinkles that Pressing is my least favourite part of sewing. Yeap, won’t be applying for a spot on the Great British Sewing Bee anytime soon. I mean can you just imagine Patrick Grant’s reaction to this pair? Shock horror. I do wonder though whether men’s trousers are easier to press than women’s, especially slim trousers given that women’s may have more curves than men’s. Mine definitely doesn’t lay flat.
Good thing I don’t really like the colour of this fabric. So no tears over the less than stellar fit.
But isn’t interesting (& maddening) how the same Block fits differently in different fabircs? A bit like Goldilock: Last pair was a bit too tight. This one a bit too loose. Hopefully the next one would be just right!
You can’t see much under the tunic in the photo. So apart from a slim silhouette & capri length I had to make up the rest. I decided on fly front with button closure for a more yin-yan look. Would have added pockets and belt loop as well, but the fabric doesn’t have much give and frays badly. So I omitted this to keep the silhoutte slim and avoid tears during construction.
Design: Mid-rise, F side dart, B 2 darts, capri length, Fly front, no pocket.
Fitting: To accommodate lining bulk & my middle age spread, added ease by sewing approx 1/2″ SA instead of the 3/4″ SA added to the pattern for side seams & inseams. This gave me approx 7/8″ extra ease at the waist tapering to no extra ease at the bottom of the legs, almost 1/2″ extra crotch length.
The Jacquard & lining both fray badly, so had to overlock as soon as the pieces were cut.
Stretched bias edges – inseams, leg side seams, back crotch fork – as much as possible, which is not much in this fabric with no give.
Because of the angles of my crotch points, it’s easier to sew the inseams first, then crotch seam. This does mean it’s not possible to fit the inseam as I sew (like suggested by Pants for Real People).
Sewed side seams & inseams with 1/2″ seam allowance instead fo 3/4″ tapering back to 3/4″ at hem.
Not the most comfortable slim trousers thanks to the fabric. I reckon it’s synthetic. There’s also not much give. So despite being almost the same pattern as my Slim Pants Wearable Muslin 5 (apart from waistline), this pair feel more restrictive. Of course I would finish something a bit thicker & not so breathable just in time for a heat wave. I still have a fair bit of the fabric left. I think a skirt or dress with more ventilation may be a happier match.