Thursday, 16 April 2015

SEWN: THE PHOENIX


And like a Phoenix, she has risen from the ashes.

Meet Miss Peplum (AKA The Phoenix). She needed to be shown a thing or two about elegance and appropriate behaviour by Miss Kitty.


I knew what I wanted in this top. I wanted a hi/lo, long-sleeved, swingy peplum top - similar to RDC's Marthe Blouse. But I'm not a huge fan of raglan sleeves on a woven top. Surely I could find a pattern to hack?

Enter Sato Watanabe's Basic Black Pattern A Lace Shirred Blouse (it's shown three pics down here). Go with me here. I know, I know, no shirring, no lace. But it had the basic shape I was after.

And that was about it.


That's where my trouble began. Actually no, it's not. This fabric is a beautiful printed 100% viscose I pounced upon at Pitt Trading*. It's the most gorgeous of fabrics, so incredibly light and drapey and wearing it is akin to how I imagine draping myself in butterfly wings would feel (that sounded kind of creepy and cruel... not what I intended... you know what I mean).

And my Janome wanted to swallow it down into the depths of the bobbin casing every time it got near my needle plate. I mean it really wanted to consume it and never let go. That does not bode well for beautiful French seams and silky loveliness.

So I brought out the big guns again. Miss Kitty (my 1950 Singer Featherweight 221K) did not fail. Straight stitch machines have one tiny little hole through the needle plate and anything being chewed up down there is highly unlikely. And straight stitches? Oh, my word.

Lets just say Miss Kitty sewed up this fabric like a dream.


I made some adjustments to the pattern.

I lengthened the bodice to 16.5 inches from shoulder to hem at front, curving down to gain an extra 1.5 inches at the back (the lo in hi/lo). I decided on a peplum length of 8 inches. I narrowed the sleeves to account for lack of shirring.

I was smart and toiled the bodice finding I didn't like its straight lines.

So I learned how to create a flared hem properly. Slash and spread baby. Toiled bodice number two looked the goods. Importantly, pay attention here, I did not attach the sleeves to toile 1 or 2. Da, da, daaaaaaaaaa (cue ominous noises).

I went ahead and sewed up my lovingly personalised peplum top, sleeves and all.


You'll notice a second adjustment to the pattern above if you look closely. A Broad Shoulder Adjustment. WTF?? Let's be clear. I am a classic pear shape and I have never in my life been accused of broad shoulderedness. Nup, not ever. And I was lulled into a false sense of Japanese pattern security based on my experience with an unaltered Traffic Stopper Dress. Mistake, big mistake (you seriously need to click on that last link).


Cue horrified face holding akin to Munch's The Scream. I truly did not think I had enough fabric left to recut and remake. I had to do some seriously crazy origami-like folding of my tiny piece of leftover fabric to recut the adjusted bodice and very cropped sleeves. You'll notice the cuffs (sleeve extenders)... they were cut from my first, slashed, bodice. The original sleeves weren't salvageable as I'd Frenched all the the seams.


Peeps, I am inordinately proud of this make. I worked my ass off to make it a success. All seams are Frenched except the peplum/bodice and cuff/sleeve seams. And check that final fit. First broad shoulder adjustment? BAM!


And I have a perfectly tailored peplum top pattern which I fully intend to make again. I mean seriously... after that much heartache and countless hours I'd bloody well want to.

I love this top, I really truly do.


*Thanks go to Pitt Trading who provided my choice of fabric free of charge for this project. Opinions are all my own.

38 comments:

  1. I love love love this too. Awesome fabric, great style & fit. Feel proud my friend as this is a WOO HOO make. BTW I'm adding this to the 'steal from Jillian' list.

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  2. You completely nailed this!! I'm so glad it ended up a woohoo make. Oh and the sleeve length is actually perfect! Love love love.

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  3. It's fab, such super pattern jiggery! I love the old cuffs-as-sleeve-extended trick, I mean design element! And miss kitty is such a looker! So beautiful.

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  4. gorgeous top, the fabric reminds me of african/dutch wax prints - maybe its the colours.

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  5. I'll wrestle Anna for this one too ;) Such a glorious success - Thank You to Miss Kitty, and Fearless Jillian, you are the A team and this is simply perfect for autumn.

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  6. I LOVE this blouse!!! First, the fabric is amazing, and second, I just adore this shape. I made a similar silhouette last fall (minus the sleeves, just a capped kimono type) and i wore it a lot. In fact, I think I'll wear it today... Fabulous make, glad you salvaged it!

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  7. You and Ms Kitty have created a winner! Self-drafting, French seams, I'm in awe. Looks fab

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  8. So glad you prevailed as it is an awesome top and the proportions look spot on!

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  9. And you should love it! It is SO perfect right now. Length, silhouette, and I even love those cropped sleeves exactly the way they are - better than had they been long. Well done!!!

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  10. Yay, you did it!! The fit looks divine and the possibilities are endless now that you've got your perfect pattern!

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  11. Lovely top! Interested to know what pattern did you start with?

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  12. I bloody love this top too! OMG I think I am in love with Basic Black too. I hope my library has it. This is such a lovely silhouette - worth all the heartache. I could make a million of these in different shades, in fact I think I just might...

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  13. Oh, you do know how to flatter a girl! I think we could both comfortably wear clothes from each other's wardrobes any day of the week xx

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  14. Thanks Kirsty! And thanks for the advice given too. And yes, I'd have probably cropped the long sleeves anyway, so it all worked out :)

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  15. Sooooo much pattern jiggery! Apparently I don't hate those challenges as much as I used to. I'm starting to get intrigued by processes to properly alter fit. Amazeballs!

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  16. Ooooh I love wax prints so that's cool! I must try to get my hands on some :)

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  17. Oh girl wrestle! Hahahaha! Fearless Jilian was joined by Pigheaded/Determined Jillian on this make. I had a mission and I chose to accept it :) I see a few more of these. Sooooo easy to wear and just a little bit stylish xxx

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  18. Oh I love the idea of a capped kimono sleeve! I see myself making sleeveless versions for next summer. But oh man, that'd take another draft as the armscyes are seriously low on this pattern. A challenge for another day :)

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  19. Ohhhh thank you Leah. It was your Marthe that pushed me over the edge. Yours is simply gorgeous :)

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  20. Thanks Noelle! I gave myself a headache working out the proportions, so it feels good to have gotten it right.

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  21. Thanks Debbie! I am super happy and if I can get over the stress of making this, I see a few more. Next time I'm gonna knock it out quick smart with no French seams. So. Much. Extra. Time....

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  22. Thanks Morgan! It's so funny as I was reading your posts on your coat making adjustments a little while ago thinking "I'll never need a broad shoulder adjustment". Ha! That came back to bite me on the behind!

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  23. Thanks Susan! I started with Pattern A from Basic Black (Sato Watanabe), but it's super heavily altered. There is a link in the text of the blog post if you'd like to take a look at the original.

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  24. I'm terrified of Basic Black now! All the patterns seem to be based on the same basic block. But I will be making a rainbow of these I think, after all that work :)

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  25. Beautiful top, I love the fabric. The fit is wonderful as well :)

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  26. I love, love, love this top. I've had Basic Black since Christmas and have just made pattern m, with a few more to follow. I also have a Singer Featherweight, and she's so beautiful that even my 22 year old son can't resist her!

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  27. wow ... I am so glad you persevered and made all the changes you needed to make - it is GORGEOUS ... look, silhouette and fabric ... must feel like a dream on the skin. kudos to ms. kitty - I must get one of those single hole throat plates because I doubt I'll be able to find a miss kitty for myself

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  28. WOW so much work and thankfully a big pay off! I'm about to do slash and spread on some short sleeves for my dress... I'd been wondering how to make them prettier... Thanks!

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  29. Lovely! i have the RDC Marthe blouse which im yet to make. I really love the skirty-ness of it! looks great on you!

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  30. I saw your shirt, it's lovely! It sounds like there were a few drafting problems with yours too. It does not fill me with confidence to use more of the patterns especially since all other Japanese pattern books (different designers) have fit me perfectly and all pieces go together like the most beautiful jigsaw puzzle. Interesting...

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  31. The single hole needle plate is brilliant! It really does make stitching and handling the fabric so much easier.

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  32. Oh I like the sound of your sleeves! Enjoy the slash and spread :)

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  33. I love the RDC Marthe, I just don't like raglan sleeves much. Plus I really wanted a challenge and this certainly presented one. I'd love to see your take on the Marthe!

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  34. Floaty, fabulous and worthy of a certain bearded Eurovision diva soundtrack!

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  35. That print! it's amazing and great job on the fitting

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  36. It was an arduous journey, but since I've already completed peplum no. 2 it was worth it :)

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