At this point I will point out that my failure is by no means the fault of the pattern. As a project this fulfilled many of the objectives that I had when I embarked upon making this top. Having downloaded the pattern, I traced the pattern pieces onto paper without sticking them together first. The main reason for this was that I had printed it out double-sided at work and then snatched it out the printer and into my handbag before anyone could see it………not easy to disguise dressmaking patterns as chemistry.
This approach was fairly successful and I cut all the pieces out of my fabric without any problems. The instructions were clear and easy to follow even for a complete rookie like me. I particularly liked the explanatory information accompanying some of the steps. In particular, stay-stitching is something that I haven’t come across before and is the kind of think I would perhaps be tempted to skip not really seeing the point but by including a reason for the instruction, the people at collette patterns succeeded in convincing me it was necessary. I made the darts and pressed them into place very neatly and was very pleased with myself although it was at this point that I started to question my choice of fabric. The mystery fabric was very easy to handle which meant I could concentrate on using the machine and keeping my seams straight but it was very stiff and when I made the darts they kind of kept their shape without any support in a manner that comically reminded me of the bras favoured by Madonna in the 80s. Hmmm…….
Again the pleat was fairly easy to do given the nature of the fabric and I constructed the pleat and stitched the front and back together without much difficulty (although the seams were in place interesting shapes). I couldn’t seem to get neat small stitches no matter what I did. The fabric scooted through the machine apparently unchecked giving long wonky stitches. On further investigation I found that my machine opened in a way I had not anticipated and revealed this dial.
The foot pressure is ADJUSTABLE!! and set to the lowest setting so the fabric was not held by the machine. After sorting this out the fabric moved much more steadily and I redid all my seams. How conscientious am I.
Now to the next new element – bias binding. As something else previously unknown to me I read through the instructions for this several times before I proceeded. The instructions for this element were so clear and easy to follow that I have kept this page in my sewing machine case for future perusal next time I need to use this. Unfortunately, no amount of detail and assistance in the instructions could make up for my inability to control the fabric on curves. I cannot tell you how many times I unpicked this binding but I will reveal what was left at the end (it’s still pretty bad). I know I should have practice controlling my machine before I started this sewing project but I’ve never been very good at drilling the basics. Learning scales on the clarinet for exams was such a painful experience it was almost enough to put me off music forever.
I would have unpicked these seams again but at this point I tried the garment on and decided there was no need as it will never be seen in public. The stiffness of the fabric meant in hung like a lampshade around me. This fabric has no drape at all. In addition to this, I am quite tall (6 ft) and had I hemmed this top it would have been a cropped lampshade revealing more of my untoned stomach than I am willing to let anyone see.
So lessons learnt during this make:
- Consider lengthening makes in future
- Foot pressure must not be too low
- Stay-stitching is important
- Think about drapiness of fabric needed for project at point of purchase
- Bias binding is not scary but I need to practice
I will definately make this pattern again in the future but I will use a much more drapey fabric.