It’s raining here on the Central Coast of California and that’s a good thing. My issue is that my completed projects are stacking up as I’ve been waiting for some appropriate photo taking weather. I finally broke down and just went with the weather we have.
I’ve decided to start off the year by filling in some gaps in my closet. I’m in need of solid colored tops. I am attracted to prints when I’m shopping for fabric. The problem with that is they are not as versatile as solids. One top I realized I needed was a simple “shell” to wear with suit jackets or cardigans. Vogue 9006 View A had some nice seaming details and a draped front neckline that caught my attention.
My sister gave me this rayon shantung that had been in her stash FOREVER. The fabric is not sheer but definitely not opaque so I decided to sew French seams throughout. The pattern called for a 1.25″ hem. I wanted a narrow hem so I shortened the pattern by 1″ as this top is plenty long. I omitted the armscye facings and chose to go with bias binding instead. Another change I made was to cut the back on the fold. The center seam would be great if you wanted to create some shaping.
I also raised the armscye by 3/4″. I read reviews about this pattern that mentioned an issue with the armscye being too big. I used a pattern piece from a blouse I love to make the change.
The biggest change I made was to cut the front center piece on the bias. I came to this conclusion after sewing my first version of this top. Oh, did I forget to mention the first top that went straight to Goodwill once it was finished? The front center piece is cut on the fold. I never gave it a second thought until I tried on the top and the drape was weird. I stared at it and fiddled with it and then it dawned on me, the front needs to be on the bias! Luckily I had enough fabric to cut another top.
The pattern includes two other tops. Both have fronts that are cut on the bias.
This top serves its purpose by filling a void in my closet. I can see a printed silk version in my future. For now I need to focus on solids.
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Otherwise known as “the blouse that spent the night in the sewing room wastebasket”. You may be thinking that this is what I do with “wadders”. Sometimes it is. I have different levels of wadder disposal. The most extreme being when I give my husband advance notice to be standing in the living room ready to pick up whatever I’m about to throw over the banister. At that point his instructions are to dispose of the offending project in the garage trash can and never EVER speak of it again.
I bought the fabric for this blouse and a coordinating skirt fabric from Vogue Fabrics a couple of years ago. I would describe the blouse fabric as a sheer chiffon with body. It is embroidered with strips of fabric giving it an interesting textures. I cut the blouse pattern in my usual Vogue size 8. I sewed the blouse using French seams as the fabric is somewhat sheer. The pattern includes instructions for sewing French seams.
This blouse has a flattering shape. My fabric does not show the details very well so here is the line drawing from the pattern.
Everything was going well. I was enjoying working on this blouse in the evenings after dinner. I could already see myself wearing the blouse and feeling good in it. I get so attached to a project while working on it. It seems like each piece is exactly what I need at that particular moment and will make my wardrobe complete.
Here’s where the wastebasket comes in. The sleeves were ready to sew in. They looked great. Everything looked great. I had lost most of my sleeve head notches because the fabric frayed just by looking at it. No problem. I can use the plackets to determine where the front/back are. I sewed the sleeves and then serged the seams because I didn’t feel like doing French seams for the armhole seams. It was all working according to plan until I tried on the blouse. The sleeve plackets sat on the front of my wrists. Somehow I got turned around and sewed the left sleeve to the right side and vice versa. Did I mention that I had sewed AND serged the seam with a fabric that frayed like crazy?!!! How could I do such a thing?!!! I’m better than that, right?!!! I should have figured something was wrong when I had more ease in the front than the back. Why oh why do I ignore these signs?!!! After contemplating my options I stuffed the blouse in the wastebasket and went to bed with the coordinating skirt fabric weighing on me.
The next day I figured I had nothing to lose by trying to undo the stitching and removing the sleeves. I would know within minutes if this was going to work. I sat down with two seam rippers* and some good lighting for two hours of picking out stitches. It worked! I sewed the sleeves back in correctly using a 3/8” seam and called it a night. The little voice inside of me kept saying “All you have left are 11 buttonholes and the hem. You should get that done tonight”. I ignored that voice and figured one more night would be fine. Besides, I wanted to bask in my victory and not risk another goof.
The only change I made to this pattern was to add interfacing to the front placket. The pattern has you turn a front self-facing twice to form the buttonhole placket. My fabric was pretty flimsy so I wanted some extra stability. I buy all of my interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply. For this project I used the Pro-Sheer Elegance Light interfacing. It worked out great.
It was a very blustery day today making these pictures challenging to take. The bow was flopping everywhere. I was thankful for short hair.
I am very happy with my blouse and so glad I reconsidered its fate. I’ll most likely make this pattern again as it offers a few options and I like the fit very much.
Stay tuned for the coordinating skirt.
*When unpicking seams sewn with my serger I like to use the Ultra-Pro Seam Ripper. It is a scalpel and cuts the thread without pulling on it.
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There’s not much I can say about Vogue 8379 that has not already been said. At last check there were 138 reviews for this pattern on PatternReview.com. It made Pattern Review’s Best Pattern list in 2007 & 2008 as well as being in the Hall of Fame in 2009. This is my favorite wrap dress. I’ve made it twice. Here is my most recent version.
Pictured below trying to replicate the pose from my first dress. Splotchy sun spots included for effect 😉
I made the following changes to this pattern:
- Lengthened bodice by 1″
- Removed the seam allowance for the center back skirt and placed it on the fold
The first time I sewed this dress I did not make any changes to the width of the skirt. This time I took 12 inches out of the bottom width of the skirt. I folded the pattern by 3 inches at the bottom of each side seam and tapered off to nothing to right below the hip.
This pattern makes use of facings for the bodice neckline. Most wrap dresses I’ve made call for either binding or turning under the edge and stitching. Note: I have used the binding method when the pattern suggests turning under the edge. I prefer using binding as I am able to use the binding to cinch up the neckline by cutting it an inch or two shorter depending on the stretch. This prevents any gaping. Back to talking about the facings. The first time I made this I had issues with my facings wanting to pop out. I applied some two-sided fashion tape between the dress and the facing. That solved the problem. I’m not having that issue with this dress. The facings stay in place. I’m not sure what is different. Both dresses are made with ITY knit of similar stretch and weight. The ITY knit for my most recent dress was purchased at Tissus Mode De L’Orme in Granby, Quebec. I always load up on fabric at this store when I go visit friends and family in the region.
Here’s a picture of the dress I made a few years ago. It still makes regular appearances in public.This was the first wrap dress I ever made. It gave me the confidence to add wrap dresses to my sewing repertoire.
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This was such a simple pattern to sew, it should have been a quickie but nooooooooooooooooo! After reading reviews on PatternReview.com I concluded that I needed to cut a size 6 instead of my regular size 8 in Vogue. I realized that if I had cut a size 8 I would not have achieved the “semi-fitted” look the pattern was calling out. So far so good.
I traced the front and back to be “full” pattern pieces rather than having to cut them on the fold. I was cutting the front and back on the bias and figured it would be easier to match my stripes that way. The fabric was a remnant and had a bit of a warp to it. I couldn’t line up the stripes. Beginning of FRUSTRATION #1. At this point I was not sure it was going to be wearable. One of the reasons I like my homemade wardrobe is that my stripes line up.
Front Pattern Piece (Full and On Fold):
The other change I made was to tape the sleeve pattern pieces together because I was cutting the sleeve as one piece and not two pieces as the pattern indicates.
I sewed the top using a stretch stitch on my sewing machine and then finishing the seam with my serger. Both machines HATED both knits. Beginning of FRUSTRATION #2. The brown fabric is a mystery knit with medium stretch. The black is a leather-look scuba knit. After cover-stitching the neckline I decided to hem the sleeve and body by hand to avoid any more heartache. This worked out well.
I’m learning to live with the mis-matched stripes after receiving encouragement on PatternReview.com. Sewists are a very supportive group. I like the fit of this tunic very much and the slight high-low hem is a nice touch.
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