I try to give what I’m going to sew next a lot of thought. When we got home after our travels in September, I realised that I didn’t need about half of my wardrobe. I donated all of my old clothes and shoes but I think some more pruning is still in order. With this in my mind, outside of two sweaters and a packet of tights, I have bought no other clothes since then. Instead, I have thought really hard about what I like to wear and how I want to portray myself.
I have started using Pinterest to collect details that I like. I like to survey what I’ve collected and pinpoint exactly what aspects appeal to me, why and how I think I could wear it regularly. For example, without realising it, I have been collecting a lot of inspiration with pintucks, chiffon fabrics and pleats. So, from the point of view of adding to my wardrobe for spring, I think a chiffon blouse with pintucks would be most useful, as would a floaty pleated skirt. This way, I get the satisfaction of putting my time into sewing clothes that I really really want. I know from knitting that it’s easy to get sucked into the next popular thing, but making clothes takes time and effort and money, so I try to give it consideration. Do you plan like that too? Am I sucking all spontaneity out of sewing?!
Anyway, this little top has a little story.
Pattern: Another Kimono top from Salme patterns (downloadable).
I enjoyed making the first one so much – mostly because it was so quick – that I wanted to make another.
Fabric: 1m of 150cm wide Liberty print (I think) chiffon. I paid €10 but it was supposed to be €17.
The fabric called out to me. It was expensive but I thought, heck, just one metre, it’ll make a beautiful top that I can wear out or for playing. The lady cut it but one side ended up about 80cm and the other over 100cm. So she cut it again. This time it ended up even worse. I think the diagonal print pulled it strangely. Third time, she got someone else to do it. I stood there and watched her cut the straightest line since rulers were invented – and still it wasn’t right. I ended up with a sort of trapeze but at least the shorter end was a metre. They charged me a tenner and put the bolt downstairs for further inspection.
It was a bargain but like many bargains, it had its price. I was extremely careful cutting it out. I even drew around my pattern pieces so I could be sure it was straight. I thought it was ok until I sewed the front and back together. Thankfully the arm and neckholes matched up but the front side seams were quite a different shape to the back side seams! I had to fudge it a little but it turned out ok.
I learned on my last kimono blouse that my narrow hem foot doesn’t really do sewing in the round very well, it doesn’t know what to do when it comes to joining up at the end of the round. So for this blouse, I hemmed my pieces separately before sewing them together. This included the neckline and armholes.
I actually don’t know what I would have done without the foot; I probably would have had to do it by hand. I also used my ‘overlocking’ foot. It doesn’t cut, but it provides a really nice guide for the zigzag.
This was a really simple top to practice such finishing techniques and I think it turned out really nicely, all strange fabric pulling aside. I have subsequently bought some plain ivory chiffon for aforementioned pintuck blouse (at a much more reasonable €4.50/m) and it just behaves like any other fabric, so I hope it was just an anomaly.