Friday, September 10, 2021

Cris Wood Sews Parasol Top/ Sew House Seven Free Range Slacks


Hello! I hope this post finds you well wherever you might be in the world. I haven't done a lot of garment sewing lately--mainly quilting and pottery these days--but I wanted to be sure to log my experience with the Cris Wood Sews Parasol top. It's such an interesting pattern. I'll also leave my fitting notes for the Sew House Seven Freerange Slacks since I will most definitely be making them again. 

As I mentioned in my previous post about the CCP Elodie wrap dress, I'm not able to print pdf patterns at work any longer since I'm working from home. As a result, I'm only purchasing paper patterns these days. I've also decided to only purchase from pattern designers who include their extended size range within the paper pattern option (see my rant from my last post), which will sadly exclude CCP  from my future purchases. There are SO many other pattern designers out there who accommodate all size ranges and don't offer fewer options to one group. I'd rather give those folks my money. 

This seems like a good segue to start talking about Cris Wood Sews because this is a no print/ no paper pattern. That's right, no paper pieces to cut out! Instead, you plug your measurements into a simple mathematical formula and cut out a series of rectangles based on this. 

So here I am posing in front of a mural like a good little sewing blogger. Honestly, I don't love it. I had a feeling that this pattern wouldn't work for me, but the idea was just so compelling. I had to try it! And I don't regret the effort. I needed a warm-weather top, and I love the fabric. It will be good for those rare beachy vacations as a cover-up--or it might find its way into one of my quilting projects. We'll see.

By the way, I've seen gorgeous versions of this pattern on plus-size/curvy sewists, so I don't think my size is the issue. I think there are a couple of factors: 1.)  I sewed the neckline too high when I was making adjustments because I was trying to avoid a plunging neckline. But I think this and other adjustments messed up the proportions of the design. Fortunately, though, the neckline is an easy fix. 2.) This style leans more billowy caftan-esqe, even as a top, and, as much as I love caftans on others,  I've never been able to pull off the look myself. 

So even though I'm not likely to make this again, here are my adjustments/details. Note: Since this is a no- pattern-pattern--more of a set of instructions--I'm going to try to be careful how I explain the adjustments so I respect the designer's intellectual property. 

  • Fabric Usage: It's hard to gauge how much fabric you will need. There are a couple of examples in the pattern, so that helps a bit. I used 2 yards of an Indian block print. I think it was pretty narrow--around 43 inches wide--so I did a lot of creative cutting and played with stripe direction. (BTW, the fabric is a wonderful, light, papery cotton voile from Stonemountain, ideal to wear on hot days and perfect for projects with pleats or gathers. )
  • Number 1 piece of advice: Do try it on BEFORE sewing down your neck facing. Save yourself some unpicking. 
  • Step 3: Instructions have you sew 3 inches which, without giving too much away, affects the neckline. I doubled that amount to 6 inches. Will decrease to four inches if I ever make this again. 
  • Straps: I moved the straps 1 inch towards the back in order to have a little more fabric in the front. This might have messed things up...
  • Step 5a:  Much of my bra was visible from the side when I held my arms straight out, so I increased the amount I sewed for the side seams by one inch.
  • I'm confused about...where the gathers are supposed to hit me at the bust. From other versions, it looks like the gathers should hit at the high bust, which is why they tip up a bit as an intentional design element. And maybe that's where I went wrong in my adjustments--i.e., working against part of the design to give myself more room in the bust. 
So that's my Parasol top. Not a winner but not the end of the world either. For the Freerange slacks, I know my above photo doesn't give you the best idea, but this is a fabulous pattern. Below is a poor-quality mirror selfie that at least shows the waistband.

Here are my notes:
  • Fabric: 2 yards of really wonderful Laundered Linen in Nutmeg from Stonemountain. I love this lightweight linen so much and the color is such a beautiful warm brown. I used leftover scraps (I had 2.5 yards to start) for quilting a pillow cover. 
  • Size: 20 based on waist size-- the largest of the original size range
  • Favorite Element: No fusible interfacing and a foldover waistband, like the Pietra pants, which makes for a long, fluid line.
  • Short person adjustments:  Shortened 2 inches at lower leg/1 inch at upper rise. Shortened pocket  piece 2 inches. This is important because otherwise, the tips of my fingers can't quite reach the bottom. Makes pulling small things like change or lipstick out of my pocket a real bitch. 
  • Hem: I didn't opt for a cuffed leg. Part of the thrill of sewing my own clothes is not having to roll up my pants any longer. Instead, I folded up a 1/2 inch, then one more half inch. 
I love the Freerange slacks so much and, from the looks of Instagram, so do a lot of other people. It's a deceptively simple pattern that looks like just another pair of elastic waist pants, but there's some Sew House Seven magic in the proportions and drafting. 

So that's it for my latest sewing deets. I hope to have more projects to share soon! Be well.  

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