Sunday, March 5, 2017

Ebony Swings

Hello, Sewing Friends! I'm sorry to have stayed away so long. I missed blogging, I really did, but I've been having trouble motivating myself to do much of anything. I'm just going to be real, here, and say what's on my mind: Living in Trump's America is a big fat bummer. Seriously, every day there is some new fresh horror--immigrants and refugees attacked, our environment attacked, truth and facts attacked. It's overwhelming and demoralizing and, frankly, exhausting. Sigh. Okay, political rant is over. Thanks for indulging me. By the way, I fully understand and respect that people have differing opinions. I just don't think our commander-in-chief understands the concept of respectful communication. Now on to the sewing!

Two things. First, I have a major fangirl crush on Heather of Closet Case Patterns. I love her style, her intelligence, her humor, her realness, so it was a no-brainer that I would snatch up her easy, swing tee knit pattern. Second, an alternative title to this post could be, "Just use the good fabric, already." So let's begin with the pattern first. 

The Ebony is a swing tee/dress/tunic. You could really just take your favorite tee shirt pattern and slash and spread to make your own. However, CCP provides some advantages for purchasing the pattern. To begin with, she offers a raglan version, which is pretty cool. She also has a crop top, dress, and tunic length, as well as various sleeve lengths to stretch your pattern-buying dollar. I sewed up both the raglan tunic and the dress (see below) and found them both to be such a pleasure to sew. Everything fit together perfectly. Also, you can see how differently two different types of knits look. 

So for my first version, the acid yellow raglan tunic, there was a bit of learning curve. Because of my impossible bust, I followed the sizing chart and went with the largest size -- a size 20. Turns out that was unnecessary. There's TONS of ease. I made the tunic to wear for a weekend getaway in Portland in February and the whole time it felt oversized and sloppy--like sleeping in your boyfriend's oversized tee shirt.  I brought the side seams in an inch when I returned, and I'm liking it a bit better, but it's still not my favorite.

I actually fall outside of the sizing chart and still very easily fit into the size 18. That's the size I made the purple version. I can throw it over my head and go. LOVE. This is a seriously easy quickie pattern and you know what? It's an excellent opportunity to use the good fabric, already!

I have yet another Britex gift certificate to spend from my generous bosses, so I've been working through some of fabric I'd been holding onto. First up, this crazy yellow Impressionistic rayon--like Monet on acid. I purchased it from Britex in January 2015, using a gift certificate Beej gave me for Christmas. It's a very drapey stretch rayon that was $25 per yard. I saw it and was obsessed. Unfortunately, this isn't really the best color with my pale complexion. I think I liked the idea of the fabric without considering how it would look on me. 

This purple ponte is another story altogether. I love this knit so much and can't believe I let it languish for so long in my stash. I don't remember how much it was per yard (though my guess is around $35-40), but I do remember that it's a Marc Jacobs fabric. I lightened the photo to give it a little pop, but in real life it's a rich deep plum color. It is definitely a color I lean toward. This fabric has such a wonderful hand. It's substantial without being stiff, has structure AND softness. Seriously, I need more high-quality ponte in my life. 

Finally, here's a few sewing details of note:
  • Ebony Raglan: Sewed a size 20, but brought in by an inch side seams. Since I'm short, I followed Gillian's tack and shortened at the "shorten here" line by 1.5 inches. 
  • Ebony Raglan: Didn't bother hemming the bottom or sleeves. This is a really thin rayon, and I was worried about puckering. Sometimes a clean cut looks best, in my opinion. Also, I was flying to Portland the next day. :)
  • Did something unexpected and interesting with the neckband. Since I cut all pieces on the fold, I inadvertently cut two neckbands and (I must have been on autopilot) sewed them together. Because I didn't want to rip out stitches, I decided to go with a doubled up neckband. In this case, it turned out great. Sometimes drapey rayons can result in floppy neckbands, so I like that there is a bit of underlying structure to help hold its shape.
  • For purple Ebony dress: Sewed size 18 but cut length considerably. (My guess is four or five inches.) I also didn't shorten the torso length because I thought that might serve as a cheater FBA.
  • For purple Ebony dress: Hemming this project was a breeze. It's sort of like a circle skirt, so since I knew I wouldn't be stretching it to put it on, I didn't bother with a double needle or even a zigzag stitch for the matter. I did use fusible bias tape because I love the stuff. It helps keep the hem measured. I considered a zigzag for the sleeves,  but they are a little oversized. I'll let you know if that was a bad decision or not down the road.
So that's all I've got. Hope all is well with you. Have a fabulous week! Don't forget: life is short, use the good fabric! :)

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