Wednesday, 15 January 2014

SEWN: "FRUSTRATED ARTIST" TOP

Just a little something I whipped up last week.

This is my version of Teach Me Fashion's Two-Tone Singlet. Who's singlet? That's what I thought. I stumbled across this pattern on some blog or other. I know, I know, that's terrible! I remember starting with a blog I follow and then linking on to someone else's, then someone else's, until I came across a recommendation to download the pattern. So I did. I feel dreadful that I can't remember who recommended it.

I'd never heard of "Teach me Fashion", but according to the site Teach me Fashion creates sewing patterns and instructional videos for the DIY fashion enthusiast and home sewer. We aim to revolutionize the craft of sewing and inspire current and future generations with our simple and elegant designs.

This pattern appears (at least currently) on their home page. To acquire it simply enter your e-mail address and huzzah it appears in your inbox.

I'm not sure exactly what appealed to me about this pattern. I obviously wasn't inspired by the recommended colour blocking. Colour blocking does nothing for me personally, but I did like the piecing of the bodice and I had a piece of poly satin in my stash that I wanted to practice on before cutting into some awesome digital print satin for another project. Let's just say I haven't sewn with slippery fabric since creating the monstrosity that was my Year 10 formal dress (satin, white lace, puffy sleeves, huge ruffles, yep the late 80's totally rocked!).


I took no notice of the fact there was an instructional video, I just didn't even realise it existed at first. The pattern comes with written instructions but let's just say, there ain't no teaching in those instructions. They're pretty dreadfully sparse and IMHO you would not be able to complete this garment if you hadn't had considerable experience with similar garments (especially sewing mitered corners and applying bias binding). Weird since they peg themselves as supporting the DIY sewer and are called "Teach me Fashion".

And some of the terminology used is just plain weird. For example, "neaten seam" is used to describe finishing the seam. The written instructions tell you to bind the neck and armholes with 4cm wide binding, which did not add up for me so I went ahead and used 3cm wide store-bought satin binding. When I discovered the instructional video upon writing this post and decided to watch it I note the video tells you to use 3cm binding. All in all the video construction steps do not match the written instructions at all, so if I was wanting to learn to sew a garment I'd be downright annoyed and frustrated.

On a positive note, I will say that all pieces came together with gorgeous accuracy, no easing required anywhere. And I'm really happy with the fit... except for the curiously tiny neckline which makes me feel inserting my head is like forcing a watermelon through the eye of a needle (remind you of something else?).

Anywho, I like my finished top!
The satin wasn't as hard to work with as I'd feared and cutting out was simple when using a cutting mat and rotary cutter and I'd definitely recommend using these for all slippery fabrics. I had some frustrations sewing the mitered corners on the bodice and the seam ripper got quite the workout, but we got there in the end.

Why "frustrated artist" top?


For a start, what from a distance resembles a jungle print, on closer inspection reveals itself as black paint splatters on a brown background. I love it. This is one of those fabrics I'd never have sought out but when I saw it on the clearance table I totally needed it. It's a bit urban after all!

Also I've been struggling for inspiration about what to sew lately. There are only so many garments any one girl can wear or wardrobe, and I just couldn't find any direction. Tres frustrating. Also I am currently carrying out my SBA with the assistance of Craftsy or lack of assistance as the case may be. I encountered some problems/need some clarification as my darts aren't behaving in quite the same way as the instructor's sample, but I can't get a response to my questions. I know it's been the festive season, but it's also been over a week since I posted my question and followed up. So that project in on hold.

But all's well that ends well and I have a top I feel I can dress up or down and fit wells. Yay me!

Pattern Changes/Alterations:
  • Cut a size XS for the bodice, then graded from an XS to a S through the bottom section
  • Added 1 inch to the length - I have a long torso
Lessons learned:
  • Slippery fabrics aren't as scary as you think
  • Store-bought bias binding is just sometimes easier
  • Not all pattern instructions are created equally... poor patterns

16 comments:

  1. Great top! Even though it sounds like it was a lot of work I really like it :) The fabric is super cute! Good luck with your Craftsy course, hope you'll get a quick answer..

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  2. I really like that top. Its very flattering. Like the outfit too. Mmm. Red shoes. Now must go and have a squiz at that website. I've never come across it before either.

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  3. Through the eye of a needle?! Oh yes! This is a nice looking top. I really like the fabric - even more so now that I know that it is ink splots. I particularly like the pleats at the back. re craftsy - I had a similar problem with creative bug but eventually (much later) I finally got an answer to my problem.

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  4. I like this! It's a really interesting top with the seams and pleats at the back. Cute fabric too.

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  5. It's very stylish! Lovely!

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  6. Top looks great, sorry it's instructions were less than inspiring. (And where can we see your amazing '80s Diy?) And I've felt moments of lack of inspiration (both sewing and in my career an artist). I say don't push it, it'll come back. Sometimes if I try to force myself when I'm just not feeling it I just end up feeling even worse. I always aim to keep joy in the creative processes (even when your fighting with a "damn zipper!") and trying to force inspiration just kills it for me. You'll find it again!

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  7. Wow, I love this! I was all set to go download the pattern until I read the rest of your review. :-) Yours look so great in this fabric, and I love how you styled it with the bits of red.

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  8. Hey, how much to I love this pattern??!! I have not heard of Teach Me Fashion either, but have just now downloaded this very cleverly seamed singlet! The fact that all the pieces come together well is very nice and I will watch the video to see if it explains more than the written instructions. I really like your version of it, this fabric is rather brilliant in that it looks like a modern art version of leopard print. And, shiny fabrics do scare me off a bit, i've sewn with a few and it definitely has its downside (cling, cling, slip, slip, slip).

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  9. Yes it's a great shape! Not sure if you've watched the video yet, but it fleshes out the written instructions a bit as there are no diagrams in the printed instructions so it fills that gap. The fabric is a good one. It is a polyester satin, but weirdly doesn't seem to fall prey to static cling. We shall see!

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  10. Thanks Gail. Hope I didn't put you off the pattern. I did fine with the limited /no instructions. You'd whip it up in no time with your experience!

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  11. Ahhh Rachel, I actually tried to find a photo of my beloved 80s frock. It was awesome and some of the techniques I used I haven't used since. I designed it, drafted most of the pattern and it has boning and everything! It was actually all kinds of awesome. Agree about not pushing yourself when inspiration is not striking. Sometimes you forget that just because you have a blog it doesn't mean you have to churn out creations like a machine.

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  12. Thanks Debbie, it was the interesting details that grabbed me.

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  13. How frustrating Kirsty! I have posted a question before and got an almost instant response, but this time? Still waiting. Not happy :(

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  14. Thank you! Yes I'm a red shoe fan from way back. There are always at least a few pairs in my wardrobe :)

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  15. Thanks Kim! It wasn't a terribly great amount of work because I had the experience to know what to do in the face of no instructions. Just feel bad for someone wanting to learn. The fabric is growing on me more each day!

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