Saturday, 15 July 2017

I Will Follow (McCall's 7542)

Well I won't usually.  Usually I'll apply my utmost self-discipline to avoid following the social media trends, because I reckon I'm usually tempted to follow only because everyone else is (peer pressure, yes, the force is strong), and that's not a good enough reason really :).

However, this time around the trend was a pattern (McCall's 7542) that looked to tick a lot of boxes for me:
  • Great sleeves: tick
  • More than one variation I'd like to wear: tick
  • Easy without looking like fast fashion: tick
  • Mashable with other patterns: tick
  • Different from other patterns I own: tick

This time around (I'll definitely use this pattern again, even if only for the sleeves) I sewed a variant on option E, which is the option with lower bubble sleeves gathered into the upper sleeve with an exposed seam (no idea of the correct terminology, sorry!). In my version the border between upper and lower sleeves is a regular seam, and that lower sleeve isn't a bubble but a single layer of fabric.

As you'll see I used a couple of fabrics for this top.  I had small and rather lovely piece of geometric wool from The Fabric Store, and it wasn't quite enough for the top, so I coupled it with a small remnant of black ponti for the back of the top.  I love this geometric fabric so much - and it reminds me of a beloved geometric silk from The Fabric Store that I sewed into a summer top a couple of year sago (post here).  The top only needs a single button, so the small purple button comes from my button stash. I think this particular button was inherited from my mother-in-law, who used to wear quite a bit of purple.

I sewed this top in a size 14 - a size bigger than I'd sew in a Vogue designer pattern - because I suspected the McCall's sizing might be more consistent with the Vogue basics line, and I'm more of a 14 than a 12 there.  It's still looking a little tight in these photos, but I expect the fit will be looser when my thyroid levels get back to normal. 

A few people have mentioned the top length in their reviews, and this is something to be aware of before you cut your top out: as well as being quite fitted, it's short!  My version of the top is cut out in the longer of two lengths, but it's not that long. Before whipping this up from a special fabric I'd really recommend measuring the bodice and sleeve widths and lengths. The fact that I've used a stretchy fabric for the back of my top effectively gives me more width, but my lower sleeve is nearly twice the drafted length of the bubble - the original would have hit me at just below elbow length. 

All up, this one's a fun and versatile pattern - highly recommended, and I look forward to trying the trumpet or tulip sleeves soon.  For more examples of this pattern sewn up have a look at Alex's striped viscose version here, Kabunta's blue and pink versions here, Carmen's teal tulip-sleeved version here, and Erika's pale pink accordion pleat sleeved version here.  And there are loads more on Pattern Review of course :).

Ahhh I love geometric fabric...  

See you soon!

- Gabrielle x

PS apparently it's become just about impossible to comment on my blog lately - I'm so sorry if you've been trying to do so.  I do have Disqus installed, so this should be working, but apparently it's become twitchy. Short of uninstalling Disqus and losing lots of lovely interactions, do you know of a good solution for Blogger?  For now, I'm contactable via email (corbettgabrielle .at. gmail .dot. com) and through the bloglovin comments system. Thanks in advance! 

PPS I just went over to the Disqus site and had another go at fixing things - and for now it seems to be working. If you're having similar issues, I logged in to the Disqus site and then under the Settings menu selected Installation.  My Disqus widget looked OK, so I moved on to step 2 (import Blogger comments to Disqus) and then cicked on the button for a one-time import followed by clicking to sync comments. Can you please let me know if things go pear-shaped again? Thanks!

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Guy Laroche Top (Vogue 1450)

Vogue 1450 by Guy Laroche has been waiting in my filing cabinet for a few years... I love the Guy Laroche Vogue patterns, but they often look too "Fashion" when they're first released for me to contemplate them in my wardrobe.  I'm not sure if it's that the designer looks gradually filter down to the high street, or if staring at the designer patterns for a few years makes them eventually look more normal, but I've now made the top and the skirt is on the shortest of my "to sew" lists (the physical version of the list, where fabric is matched with patterns and piled next to my sewing machine - still no guarantee it'll be made though).

This top was designed for summer, but I thought it would look great in a cashmere-wool blend. Possibly that thought was triggered by the fact that I had a nice little cashmere-wool remnant in the stash, but does that even matter? My remnant was pretty short - just 0.7 metres long but 155 centimetre wide - but it looked to me as though the top could be squeezed out of that limited yardage despite the pattern's stated 1.8 metre fabric requirements.

I measured myself and checked the finished dimensions, and went down a size to a 10. I couldn't fit the length of the fronts on my 0.7 metres, so I also cropped the top by an inch or two.

It turns out that the 10 fits when I'm wearing the same lack of layers as when I measured myself.

In all these photos I'm wearing a warm singlet and a high-waisted skirt, and in some I'm also wearing a long-sleeved merino wool top, just because it's cold here at the moment.  With extra layers on, the top is definitely a bit snugger than I'd hoped, and I haven't tried it without layers... I think I need to have another go at making it in the correct size and length, as I suspect I'll love the larger version more than this one.  Bigger is better!

The Sewing Details
Pattern = Vogue 1450 by Guy Laroche:
Very loose-fitting top has asymmetrical snap closing, extended shoulder forming cap sleeves and bias (lining) binding finishing seams and facings. 

Fabric = wool-cashmere mix, a remnant from Tessuti fabrics, along with a small piece of magically coordinating silk also from Tessuti fabrics

So, although this looks like quite a simple loose top, the design is stellar. There's a curve to the shoulder that sits beautifully when worn, and the armholes are perfection: low enough for layering but not so low as to reveal much, but also a great shape. Can you see too the front half of the armhole is a different shape to the back half? The front is slightly lower cut than the back and follows a different curve - and that means a much better fit than the common symmetric armhole, with no excess fabric getting folded under my arm as I swing it forward.  

There are these lovely darts in the back of the top too - no partying in the back, but some interest for sure!  These darts are replicated in the lining to the top. Since I'd bought insufficient lining I rotated the darts into a new horizontal seam line at the same height as the darts - but I don't seem to have a photo of this. 

Anyway, check out my dart alignment in the wool! (I had to have three attempts at the centre back seam before I was happy with their alignment, so a bit of basking is permissible isn't it?)

The top is supposed to be sewn with three large snaps and two buttons, but I got cold feet about the buttonholes, so my top has five large snaps. I'm super slow and not the neatest of hand stitchers, but I love the control you get with hand stitching. With the snaps I decided to start from the bottom and work my way up.  The hemlines really need to align, but at the neckline there's a crossover that would definitely mask a bit of length discrepancy if required. For the left hand side, I sewed the snaps to the wool (and not the lining), using the snap half that has an indentation (I think this may be upside down, but it seemed like this orientation would cause less of a bump to show through when the top was fastened. 

On the right hand side I sewed the snaps to the lining, but before doing so I cut out some small squares of wool that I positioned under the snaps as I sewed them in. The snaps are quite strong, and I didn't think the silk lining on its own would be any kind of match for them - with a wool backing the lining has a chance of surviving!  From the photos on the pattern envelope I assume the snaps aren't supposed to attach to both layers of fabric, though perhaps the designer garment was just sewn by someone with incredible, invisible hand stitching? In any case, sewing them to just one of the layers means a bit of movement can happen without creating too many creases on the outside (and any creases you do see in my top are therefore more likely to be related to my wearing too many layers and wearing the wrong size!). 


The pattern has you use a bias binding seam finish using your lining fabric but I didn't really have any spare lining fabric, besides which my lining was too heavy, so my lining seam edges are overlocked and my wool edges have been left raw after neatening them.  

I'm trying hard now to think what could possibly be improved in this pattern - and the only thing I can come up with is having separate lining and outer pieces, with the lining pieces slightly smaller to ensure it didn't show around the edges... not a big deal with wool as the outer layer as it stretches a little when steamed, but I can imagine this being annoying in a fabric with less give. And other than that, nothing!

Thanks for reading!

See you soon

- Gabrielle xx
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