What is it with fashion designers these days? Go into the stores looking for a pretty spring print and all you find are ugly prints and the ever present solid colors. Is the concept of florals for spring so clichéd that no one will do them? But, but… that is what I want now, planting flowers in pots and pretty floral prints to wear. Even Macy’s let me down, and that doesn’t often happen. I am sick of solid, color blocking and I need something else to wear to work. So, back to the fabric stash to finally sew up at least one of the rayon challis prints I have been hoarding for no good reason.
Now the problem is a pattern. What I want is a sleeveless, tailored, fitted shell to wear under a spring pastel sweater. I have been through the pattern books multiple times, and the styles aren’t appealing. I found some on sale recently, so I decided to try this one with a cowl style neckline in the front.
This little symbol is my best friend on a pattern, do you know what it is? Because I am short, I usually need to adjust the pattern for a petite size. This symbol is the center bust, and if it lines up where it should, I am good to go. Otherwise, I have to fold out about an inch on most patterns above the center bust and below the shoulder. This pattern is sized well for me, so good to go.
The pattern said that the center back would be 3 and a half inches below the natural neck, and I didn’t want that. Knowing that any pattern can be modified to suit my needs, I redrafted the cutting line to be higher and closer to my neck. Use a curved ruler and make both sides even.
Next, I cut out the pattern pieces and ironed them. I know most of you don’t do this, but I find that there are fewer fitting mistakes if I do.
This pattern called for shortening at the waistline, so I did shorten it by about two inches.
One thing I know, a new pattern may or may not fit like the same size I last sewed, so making a quick muslin was in order. I used some cotton fabric that is badly damaged from the sun and not suitable for a quilt.
The great thing about this pattern is there are only two pieces, and it is cut on the bias. So I cut out two pieces of the cotton, and did a quick stitch of the side seams and shoulder seams to try it on. It seemed to be true to size, so I went ahead with the rayon.
Placing the pattern was critical, one doesn’t want flower centers in certain places, LOL!! I can see the print through the pattern so that was easy. Once again, that little bust symbol came in handy.
The pattern calls for finishing the edge of the cowl, but it doesn’t say how. There were several confusing instructions so I read through the instructions completely first.
I threaded up the serger with black thread and put a line of serging around it.
Then some stay-stitching at the clip point for the cowl self-fabric facing.
The pattern calls for the back neck edge to be finished before the shoulder seams are done. Weird, but OK. I serged the raw edge, then turned under and topstitched.
Serging the seams does well for rayon too, so I did those. Changing the settings on the serger to a rolled edge, I serged the bottom edge meaning to leave it this way.
It took several readings of the poorly worded instructions to understand how the shoulder seams and cowl neck facing was to be done. The use of the words inside and outside were confusing, as it said ‘turn to the outside’ which was actually the inside of the garment turned inside-out.
I serged the sleeves, then turned the serging under and topstitched. I thought I was done.
I think is goes well with my pale yellow sweater. I can also wear it with the other short sleeve sweaters I have for spring, since there are other colors in the print to bring out.
Trying it on, the fit was fine, but this time I turned to look at the back. Oh crap! The neckline in the back was sticking out, when I wanted it to lay flat. I didn’t notice this on the muslin, I think because I was in a hurry to get started sewing. That would have been easy to draft that extra out of the pattern before cutting. So now, I have to make a dart in the back to take that out. I measured it while I had it on, and figured out how low the dart would go. Small rant, why do pattern makers think that because I need a certain size to fit my chest, that means I have the shoulders of a linebacker? I had to take six inches out of the middle back neckline. Pulling up the back made more folds for the cowl in the front, so I didn’t have to adjust the front.
I took out the finishing topstitching on the center back neck.
The dart was sewn along a drawn line. Then I serged off the excess.
Sewing tip – to make your clothes look professionally sewn, iron the outside of the seam as well as the inside.
Press the edges of the sleeves and the bottom too, flattening the creases and smoothing the topstitching.
Finally, all finished and ready to wear this week.
How do you feel about florals for spring? Do you sew clothes?