Westwoodesque Stripy DK V1282

So let’s start with the Vivienne Westwoodesque top inspired by blogger Tia Dia’s vavavoom stripy dress version of Donna Karan Vogue Pattern 1282.

The Pattern

Tia Dia's vavavoom V1282

Tia Dia’s vavavoom V1282

Tia Dia’s decision to stick with the pattern’s grainline instruction while working with her stripes was genius. It’s so simple, yet the result is so much more interesting than even the Donna Karan original.

I also liked her idea of swapping the armhole facing/binding for an extended armhole edging/band/sleeve. I wanted mine even more extended, but wasn’t sure it’d be comfortable with extra fabric in the armpit. So I adapted the armhole band style of another designer Vogue Pattern – Vena Cava V1258 (which seems to have totally disappeared from the Vogue Patterns website!?!).

0-inspiration-v1258line

I actually made V1282 before, but I didn’t like how the result looked on me with my short-waisted inverted triangle shape, gravity compliant boobs, & age-compliant spreading middle. I think DK’s design would look better on the small busted or the hour-glass shape (which Tia Dia has). So this time I went back to the original pattern & made different adjustments to it. (So glad I trace pattern nowadays rather than wantonly chopped them up with the very first make!)

Style Shots & Mug Shots

WORN WITH: 1 Self-drafted mock-wrap pencil skirt; 2 Style Arc Antoinette trousers3 Self-drafted princess pencil skirt; 4 Refashioned A-line skirt5 Self-drafted pleated skirt

vs my previous V1282

Size Used

Size 4 again – instead of the recommended size 12 & my current norm of FBA’ed size 8.

Changes Made

It’s rather hard to figure out how to assess & adjust these non-standard patterns that DK is so fond of. So there was a fair bit of making it up as I go along…

Fitting changes
  1. Forward Shoulder & Neck + Small Arm Joints (???): shortened front at cross-front level, made back shoulder more square (move shoulder-armscye point up/forward).
  2. Tweaked Center Back seam to better fit my shape: caved in at the top for rounded upper back, caved in at lower back, add with at hem for larger (than size 4) hip.
  3. Shorter Torso: shortened at the hem.
Design changes
  1. Removed design ease from Center Front & raised cowl neckline in the process. I initially used the waist width as my guideline – I wanted the top to be fitted here – but ended up removing more at the top (neckline) & less at the hem. I was worried the hem would be too tight, but I didn’t mind removing more from the top because there were so much ease to begin with, plus doing so raised the cowl neckline further to minimise the risk of wardrobe malfunctioning! 🙂
  2. Widen shoulder for a cap sleeve rather than sleeveless look. Added strips of double-layered armhole bands except for about 3″ at the underarm, which was finished with facing/binding per V1282 instruction.

I originally wanted to incorporate some sort of asymmetrical side peplum as well by cutting a wedge off the right back below waist & somehow extending the left back below waist to form a peplum on the right hip. But my brain could not compute the pattern needed for this, especially when factoring in how this might affect the stripes. I was going to wing it during cutting out. And of course I totally forgot WHEN cutting out. Oh well, never mind.

Fabric & Notions Used

Construction Notes

  • See previous post about how I dealt with stripe matching in this PITA wiggly stripe fabric.
  • Worried that this viscose will stretch lengthwise over time like other viscose knit I’ve worked with, I stablised the back neckline & the armholes with fusible interfacing.
  • 2-sew-armhole-finishingFor the armhole, after stitching & turning the bands right-side out, the band was sewn right-sides together to the upper portion of the armhole first, then the facing/binding was sewn right-sides together to the underarm portion of the armhole – overlapping the bands slightly, the band is then pressed out while the facing/binding is pressed to the inside, the whole armhole is then top-stitched to secure the band seam allowance & facing/binding.
  • 2-sew-boneStayI replaced the weight at CF cowl tip with a boning stay that gets tucked into the bra to keep the cowl from gaping if I lean forward. This is just a short piece of plastic boning encased by self-fabric & one end sewn to the CF cowl tip. I read about this trick in Claire Shaeffer’s Couture Sewing Techniques. Some other blogger also used this trick but I can’t remember who it was damnit.

The Verdict

Much MUCH happier with this tweak of V1282! Feel much less dowdy in this version. And I like the mini-wings. Cute top. But still not sold on the B&W stripes as my aesthetic has become much more Crayola with age 🙂

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Fabric lust & updates

First of all, welcome onboard all you recent subscribers. Sorry it’s been so quiet around here lately. After that epic fitted sleeve experiment & documentation, the Photographer In Me decided she’s done enough for the year, leaving me with no pretty pictures to complete write-ups of my recent projects.

So while I try to coax her away from those holiday cocktails, here’s a wacky fabric find to entertain you…

Found at B&J Fabrics online:

digital print scuba knit (neoprene?)
with matching silk charmeuse & matching silk chiffon!

Now I’ve seen a few matching printed silk charmeuse & chiffon at B&J before. But scuba knit!?!? Well you’d have to be a much more creative designer than me to make it work! OK, just because you can have matching everything doesn’t mean you should. But I have seen it worked. And I do like me a bit of edgy high-low, sporty-refined mix. If these weren’t so expensive I’d challenge Oonaballoona, the mighty queen of pattern hacking to have a go at these psychedelic fabrics.

And how did I come across these fab fabrics? Well, I was planning for my…

Upcoming NYC trip! Happy Face!

No trip to NYC can be complete without some sewing purchases of course. But I’m trying to be more organized this time. In the past I’d come home with bulging suitcase of scrumptious fabrics. Yet when I actually get down to sew I’d be missing bits and pieces I need. And there are just some things that are really hard (or really expensive) to get here in London, the supposed Fashion Capital of the World (if the London newspapers are to be believed). Like charmeuse (for lining or coordinating top). Or reversible zipper. Or coordinating ribbing for sweater knits.

Sadly MPB Day is long over and there doesn’t seem to be any other NYC sewing meet-up in early October But if any of you Tri-State based sewists are free, I’d love to meet up and check out your latest project(s)! Contact me via my online form if you’re free to meet up in NYC in early Oct.

And Sad Face time… Vogue / McCall / Butterick boycott

I was also going to pick up some Vogue / McCall / Butterick patterns bought during recent online sales. But here I hit a snag. Seems like one of my orders has gone missing and I might be left out of pocket. Sad Face.

I had to update the shipping address while placing the order. But for some reason the order still end up being shipped to an old address. I think maybe there’s a problem with how their online ordering system is set up. I updated the address in the “Manage My Addresses” section, then chose what I thought was the updated address during checkout. Maybe it takes a a while for the new address to be saved. So when I tried to use the address immediately the shopping cart received the old address instead.

And of course I didn’t check the confirmation email carefully because nothing had ever gone wrong before with my V/M/B orders. So I didn’t think anything was going to go wrong this time.

Customer service said they couldn’t help but would I like to place and PAY for a replacement order. Erm, what do you think? No thanks. I’m really put off buying from V/M/B website again. Which is a shame since they seem to have finally gotten more responsive in the online sewing community. My worst fear would be if they start putting out amazing patterns while I’m still on my stomp-my-little-feet V/M/B boycott.

Fingers crossed that the mis-delivered package will eventually find its way back to V/M/B and I’ll at least get a refund. But I’m not holding my breath since package tracking shows it had already been signed for by the building management. Inflexible / seemingly uncaring customer service sucks.

 

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TNT Trench Odyssey: Part 2a Fitting detour to Shoulder Pad Land

No sooner have we started than we make the first scenic detour. This one is to Shoulder Pad Land.

I’ve been told that fitting needs to be done with the relevant shoulder pad in place – if I plan on keeping the shoulder pads that is. And although I’m no fan of footballer shoulders (that’s American football, not the World Cup variety), I thought maybe a sliver might give the jacket a more professional tailored look.

So to buy or to make. Well, as I had already cut out batting for the shoulder pads ages ago I thought I’d go down the homemade route. Isn’t it sign of better tailored garments anyway? She says snootily.

The only problem though…I’m not sure these homemade ones would be washable. Now my RTW trench‘s shoulder pads, while low-quality looking, is at least washable. And I hate garments that are dry-clean only. That was one reason I bought that particular RTW trench – it is machine washable. On the other hand, I’m not sure I’ll be able to find ready-made ones that are thin enough for my taste. So maybe I will make these detachable rather than sewn in.

v8817I’m using OOP Vogue 8817 for these shoulder pads. But as usual, I’m deviating from the pattern instruction to try out some fancy-schmancy instruction from my sewing books. This time it’s from Cabrera Meyers’ Classic Tailoring Techniques: Men’s Wear.

The V8817 instruction looked like it would have produced a hefty pad even for the thinnest, supposedly 1/4″ version.

1-shoulder-pad_2

So I…

  • Removed one of the two layers of the smallest piece.
  • Strip all the batting of the thin non-woven cover layers. (Did I use the right type of batting I wonder. These cover layers make it impossible to have smoothly transitioned layers.)
  • Half each layer again.
  • Feathered the layer edges for a smoother transition between the different sized layers.

1-shoulder-pad_1

The result looks more like the photo in the tailoring book.

Per that book I also replaced the hair canvas top and bottom layers with muslin – seems like it would feel nicer as canvas can be a bit scratchy to wear. And for pad stitching I ran these parallel to the concave shoulder edge like in the book rather than perpendicular like instructed by V8817.

Here’s how the finished pad compare with the foam pad from my dissected RTW trench:

1-shoulder-pad_3

And that concludes our detour to Shoulder Pad Land. You can wake up now!

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Psychedelic Leopard 1: V1282 Donna Karan cowl neck top

If you were reading this blog April last year, you’d know I bought this pattern hoping it’d be The One for this leopard print fabric. It only took 10 months for me to finally get around to it. During that time I of course flirted with other ideas. But in the end, true love was meant to be. So voilà, a top that I’ve already worn twice to the Office this week. Score!

The Pattern

Style Shots & Mug Shots

Fabric & Notions Used

Size Used

I went for size 4, down from a recommended size 12 and my current norm of FBA’ed size 8!

This is partly on the advice of the Pattern Reviewers (with their complaints of how big and low cut the pattern is). I compared the sizes against the adjusted pattern for the M6078 cowl neck top I made last summer and 4 come out the closest (I went down to XS or 4-6 for that top as well).

I also roughly compared the pattern’s B-W-H measurements with my B-W-H to ensure the negative ease won’t too much for my fabric to handle. Eg if pattern hip = 30-3/4″ and my hip = 35″, then 30-3/4″ − 35″ = -4.25″ (negative ease) ÷ 30-3/4″ (pattern hip) = -0.138 OR 13.8% that the fabric cut at 30-3/4″ would need to stretch to fit my hip of 35″.

I checked all three measurements and took the largest % number, then compare this to how much my fabric would stretch. In this case, 10″ of fabric stretched to 12-1/2″ OR 25% (12-1/2″ − 10″ = 2-1/2″ ÷ 10″ = 0.25 = 25%). So the fabric stretches more than required by the pattern size I chose and I’m fine to go with the 4 – for widths at least.

Changes Made

v1282-2

  • Wide Shoulder Adjustment: 1/2″
  • Rounded Upper Back Adjustment: additional 3/8″ on back shoulder, eased during sewing
  • Narrowed upper back by removing 1-1/8″ per side (2-1/4″ total) from CB at neck level tapering to nothing at bust level.  This was on advice of Pattern Reviewers as well, but the precise amount was based on a comparison of this pattern with my  adjusted M6078 which now fits relatively well. Also raised CB neck 3/4″ so the CB neck angle is closer to original pattern.
  • Widened 3/8″ per side (3/4″ total) at hip level to avoid hip being too small and riding up.
  • Short-Waist Adjustment: shortened at waist 1-1/4″. The way I did this also narrowed the upper front 1/4″ per side (1/2″ total).
  • Shortened hem 1″ – I’m taking the Pocket Stylist‘s advice that a top length closer to the high hip is more flattering than one ending right at the hip.
  • Raised armhole 1″ and reshaped it to scoop a bit out at the back. My arm joints seem shorter and wider than standard. So the shallow curve of the original looked uncomfortable. In the end though I should have scooped out more or not bother raising the armhole as the result feels a bit tight.
  • Reduced CF stitching line (step 6) by 1″ after basting the seam and trying on the top. The smaller size and my short-waist adjustment resulted in a higher cowl neck opening – unlike for most Pattern Reviewers.  I decided I can show slightly more skin and avoid what to my eye is a strange contrast between the drapeless CF seam and the drapy cowl below the bust line.
v1282-1

Compared with the original before short-waist alteration.

v1282-3

Final pattern compared with altered M6078 which fits well.

Verdict on the Instruction

The instruction is pretty straight-forward. And having step-by-step illustrations is helpful for beginners. So as long as you have a Walking Foot and stretch stitch of some sort (zig-zag would do) then any beginner can whip up this stylish top. Picking the right size is probably the trickiest part.

Having said that, I did deviate from a few steps.

  • I ignored the layout instruction that called for a bias layout and just used the standard lengthwise layout (with the stretchiest crosswise grain running around the body). First of all I didn’t have enough fabric because I wanted to squeeze 3 projects out of just over 2 yards. And while I love bias results in wovens I loathe the fabric wastage. Plus this is a lycra knit. So I see no point as the knit bias doesn’t seem to have the same obvious advantages as woven bias.
  • I also interfaced the back neck area with So Sheer tricot interfacing. The stable direction of the interfacing runs across the back neck to prevent it from stretching out of shape during sewing or wearing. Shoulder seams were stabilized with clear elastic and armhole with Vilene Bias Tape – which I had to remove later because I shortened the armhole too much.
    v1282-4
  • For step 8, I used 3 pennies for weight. And while the weight did enhanced the CF drape, it didn’t prevent the drape from flipping out like it did for one of the Pattern Reviewers. So I tacked the tip of the weight pocket to a fold in the underbust drapes. With so much drapes there, plus the busy print, the stitch is hardly visible.
    v1282-5
  • I skipped steps 14-16 for adding hanging straps. I don’t know who would want to hang up knits. Isn’t that asking Gravity for trouble?

Would I sew it again / Would I recommend it to others

Hell Yeah! I want a shiny one like Clio & Phineas’ or SewEllen’s. I also really like Merche of Aventuras de Costuras’ partly because she modeled the combination of this top and Burdastyle 2012-05-113 draped skirt for me – saves me from having to use my unreliable imagination! 🙂

I just hope I have enough pennies left for a few more tops!

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Watch out! Psychedelic Leopards on the loose!

This one is dedicated to the MC of Junglist Massive,
a Ms Anne of Pretty Grievances.

I’m not convinced the 3 Psychedelic Leopard cubs want to play nicely together, nor with other regular leopards either. But seeing as I’m terribly late for Jungle January, I thought the least I can do is to herd all of them into the same room for some OTT Jungle Fever photo ops. So here goes…

First off:
Vogue Donna Karan 1282 Cowl-Neck Top
& Burdastyle 2012-05-113 Skirt,
with well-worn Joan & David Circa lizard skin  pumps.

Next up:
Modified McCall 6078c Cowl Neck Top,
Skirt restyled from old H&M Dress,
Mini-Beret restyled from old scarf (never blogged),
with threadbare Anne Klein leopard print pumps.

No birds were killed during the making of these pictures. Well, not by me anyway. I blame the friend who gave me the feathers.

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