Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Power of the Toile

Hello! I'm still finishing off February's project (just a little more handsewing of the hem to go), but I started working on March's project during all the zipper foot ridiculousness.

Here's what's happening for March:

I'm still not certain about how to pick the right size for tops. Straight up bust measurement puts me at an 18, but that's an 18 with a B cup, which I'm definitely not. So I need a full bust adjustment (FBA). But! I've read some things that say if you're going to do a FBA, you should start with your upper bust measurement, which puts me at a 16. Confusing, I tell you.

The bust part of this is gathered, not fitted, and the bottom is loose, so I thought I might be able to get away with a straight 18 and no FBA . But something like this definitely calls for a toile.

Look - it's a muslin in actual muslin! Which, by the way, was not as cheap as I would have thought. I think when this runs out I'm going to pick up some secondhand sheets or something.

Perfect fit, right? Heh.
Here's what happens when the band is where it's supposed to be. Classy. I always have this problem in RTW clothes in this style - either the underbust seam is in the wrong place, or it's cleavage central. Also, you can't really see it, but the shoulder seam is pulled about 2 inches forward.
But at least now the hem is even, not raised in the front like it was.

So, the obvious - not nearly enough room in the bust. Which I knew was going to happen. I'd originally planned to raise the upper bust line by a couple of inches when I cut out the muslin, but I forgot. And it's gaping around the armpit (although there's a bit of a seam allowance which won't be there. and I think I'm planning on doing one of the sleeves). Plus the bottom is too tight, and stops at exactly the widest part of my hips.

So new plan: cut the top in a 16 (which I think will also take care of how it's pulling so far to the back when I tie it, creating those lines around the waist), grading to a 20 in the bottom. Add 2 1/2" to the bottom of the front piece, curving down from the regular height on the sides (which fits fine - I just need the extra in the front). And cut the longer length; then I can hem it wherever it looks okay. I'm also rethinking the sleeve - I was originally going to do the little puffed sleeves in the main picture, but they'd probably not be super flattering on me. So maybe one of the fluttery sleeves? I'll have to check how much drape my fabric has.

In any case, all of this means I have to start again - retrace the pattern pieces (but now I've learned the benefit of tracing! If I'd cut the tissue pieces to the 18, I would have had to recreate the size 20 for the bottom this time around), cut them out, cut my fabric, sew it up. But it's all good. If I'd sewn this without a muslin, it would have been a waste of fabric - a complete wadder. And maybe it'll be faster this time around because I've sewn it once?

I'll be back soon with my completed February project! And probably with a vote - the skirt is super cute, but I can't decide if it's cute on me. STAY TUNED.


  1. I like the idea of old sheets. And this is a great pattern; if you can make it again I bet you could make it in multiple fabrics and extend your wardrobe. (After all this work, maybe you'll want to!)

    1. Ha! Seriously - it's a good thing I enjoy the process, because it's not quick, especially with my slow sewing.

  2. It looks like you're on the way to a cute new top! I have the same problem with off the rack proportions. I'm neither a right fit for petite or regular sizes. Sometimes I just deal with it, but usually I just stick with not buying any kind of empire or banded tops.

    I really like the no-sleeves option personally, it gives it a really kicky 40s sort of look.

    1. I know, I like the no-sleeves more each time I look at it. I'll have to contemplate!

    2. I also really like it without sleeves! Since summer is roaring up around the corner, what about no sleeves this time, then sleeves on another version someday? After all, you'll have the fit down :) Unless you have a perfectly drapey fabric now, in which case you could take advantage for a flutter sleeve (which I love). But it's just so very classy & clean without the sleeve right now.

      -E (sorry, can never figure out what to sign in with, just pretend I'm your 80-yo aunt)

  3. HI, Rachel...really cool top (is that the template or an actual one you can wear?)...anyway, back to the dress..that is so cute...maybe see it in New York? Sheila (there is a comment on the Dress Me Up blog from a Sheila..that wasn't me,right?)

    1. That's just the practice one. :) The real one will be in the yellow fabric in the first picture. And no, different Sheila!