Friday, 4 August 2017

To Work: Vintage Calvin Klein

Ta daaaa!  Yep, it's another top...

This one is sewn from a vintage pattern from my 80s/90s pattern collection (which is NOT a "carefully curated collection", though seriously, what even does that phrase mean? Does it just mean "a group of things I like"??). The pattern looks pretty boring in the envelope photos, but it's a designer pattern, which I find usually guarantees good bones, and the back of the envelope shows three very different tops, one of which (this one) only needs a metre of fabric.

The pattern is described as follows:

Loose-fitting pullover top or wrap blouse has cap or full-length sleeves. A and B mock bands, A: buttoned shoulder and sleeves closing. B: dropped shoulders and side-buttoned closing. C: extended shoulders, front pleated into self-lined yoke with forward shoulder seams and two-piece sleeves with buttoned cuffs shown pushed up.

I have a few of Calvin Klein's top patterns from the 70s, 80s and 90s and they seem to have quite a consistent, minimalist aesthetic, but this pattern is from 1986 - even though it has no shoulder pads. Vogue magazine anticipated the 1990s Calvin Klein designs would inspire Raf Simons' 2017 Calvin Klein collection (article and links to collections here), so maybe this is nearly fashionable?? Probably not, haha!

Anyway, these next photos of the pattern come from an etsy shop (linked) that had the pattern for sale as at the time of writing, but I can see it's available in lots of other online shops too if you like the look of it.

So obviously I made view A, the one that takes only a metre of fabric, and I left off the lovely buttoned shoulder detail - with my drapey silk twill I was worried I'd mess up, and the top gets on and off without any closures anyway.

This little top is intended to slot into my work wardrobe - black pants and skirts mixed with more interesting tops and jumpers - and though it looks summery with its fluttery cap sleeves, I think it's going to suit winter too in my current, very warm office.

These pants by the way are RTW, but if you could see them in person you might notice they're quite similar to Vogue 8909, with a loose fit (looser than the Hudson pants) and elasticized waist and ankles.  I'd make a pair except I already have a pair!

Vogue 8909 pants
Not Vogue 8909 pants, but a similar style

Because I left off the shoulder and sleeve buttoning closure this was a very straightforward top to sew.  The fabric, a gorgeous Italian silk twill from Tessuti Fabrics (sorry but it was purchased ages ago so I doubt it'd still be in stock) was a bit shifty to sew so that made things a little slower, but it was still only the matter of a few hours.

I used French seams on the shoulders and side seams and a rolled hem on the sleeves, and I should have but didn't use Lena's gelatine trick for shifty fabrics (here's Lena's original tip blogged in 2011, and here's the link to the 2012 Threads article inspired by Lena's blog post).  The rolled hem is wonky over the French seams, so perhaps French seams weren't such a good idea - that seam area was such a lot bulkier than the rest of the hem.

And I'm not sure if you can see this in the first of the detailed photos below, but I also used Debbie's trick for neat interfaced facings with no messy edges.

One of the nice things about a pattern like this is that it's really easily adjusted up or down a size.  My copy of this pattern was a size 10, but by widening the neckline and adding to the width of the top (including sleeve length) my top was effectively made as a size 12.

Not smug but happy - and that's all!

Happy sewing

- Gabrielle xx

Monday, 24 July 2017

Vogue 8877 in an Unnatural Animal Print

This print is not the sort of print I would normally wear, and these are not the sort of colours I'd normally wear either, but when I came across the fabric in the remnant bin of The Fabric Store on a visit with Nic, I found it strangely irresistible.  I may be making a heinous style error (who cares!) but I love it, and I think it's going to "go"- or at least "pop" in a way I find appealing - with lots and lots of the duller characters in my wardrobe :). 

Speaking of the duller characters, in these photos I'm wearing my new top with a grey merino dress (Vogue 1338, blogged here), and I'd just taken off an aubergine boiled wool jacket (Vogue 8930, blogged here) - Vogue trifecta for the win!  I feel too self conscious in the grey merino dress by itself, but I realised today I'd be perfectly comfortable and cosy wearing it with an extra layer. 

Here's Vogue 1338, photographed a few years ago:

and Vogue 8930 looks like this on:

What's with the hands on hips all the time, hey?

This top is view C of the Vogue 8877 sewn from a single fabric, sewn in a size Medium (12-14) and with a narrowed neckline. As I've mentioned before, this pattern is intended for wovens but can also be sewn with stretch fabrics.  The dropped shoulders and curved bust seam are potential fitting challenges, and the first time I sewed the top (from a cotton lawn, never blogged) I thought the fit was a disaster.  Version number two was a t-shirt (loved it, and the fit was of course more forgiving in a stretch fabric), version three was made from linen - no fit issues that time around for some reason, and version four was a merino wool jumper. 

Version two, the crazy bunnies t-shirt:

Version three in white linen:

Version four as a merino travel jumper:

This time around my fabric is a white cotton waffle weave with purple, yellow and grey splotches printed on one side. The fabric doesn't really drape, so Vogue 8877 wasn't the ideal pattern - but I wanted to make something oversized and sweatshirt-related and V8877 seemed like a decent representation of that idea. 

To be honest the only hint of sweatshirt I've really managed is that ribbed neckband!  It's a bit subtle, isn't it! 

And speaking of unnoticeable, that curved bust seam isn't even visible in this print, is it - it would have been a good idea to pick it out with some piping, but the idea didn't occur to me till I saw these photos.  

So this is version 5. Apart from the rib neckline, the only change I made this time was to play around with the hemline.  Again, I don't think you can really see it, but I cut into the length of the front bodice and curved the sides down to the (original length) back. I included a really deep hem this time too with what I thought might be noticeable black top stitching but it just blends into the print. Who'd have thought? Turns out subtle doesn't work with fake animal print

I'll leave you with a couple more photos of the new top - I can't think of anything more to say about it! 

Happy sewing, and see you soon!

- Gabrielle x
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