Sunday, November 5, 2017

Fringe Blouse with Elephants

Hello,  hope you're having a good weekend. It's Sunday night, and I am just enjoying the last few hours of wind down time before preparing for another busy week. Fall is really here, and while there are peaceful moments and the wonderful golden light to enjoy, it also feels like the pace will change very quickly and we will all go into overdrive with holidays stuff. But for now, our home is quiet and smells nice because Beej is making pot roast for dinner, so I'll just enjoy the moment and take some time to tell you about my new favorite top.

Before I get into the details of the pattern, I need to talk about this fabric. It was such an exciting find for me because elephants are one my things. If you were to look around my apartment, you would notice fairly quickly all my elephant tchotchkes and elephant artwork, including one of my favorite objects--a huge, hand painted elephant silk scarf from Bali hanging above my sewing machine. So when I saw this rayon crepe elephant print, in totally wearable black and white I might add, I momentarily thought I was Oprah and snatched it up and headed straight to the cutting table without even looking at the price tag.  Fortunately, I was at Fabric Outlet rather than Britex, so it was only around $12 a yard. Whew!

So, onto the pattern. This is the Fringe dress/blouse from a new-to-me pattern company called Chalk and Notch. I've mentioned in a number of recent blog posts how I've been trying to find just the right day-dress/top/tunic silhouette. Something not body-con, but not a frumpy potato sack, with the right amount of ease, loose around the waist, not too low cut, age-appropriate, etc. This is very much what I had in mind. 

I really like the shape and the way I feel wearing it. I'm outside of the size range and therefore had to make some modifications. I also made a muslin for a change-- a real one, not a wearable one! I went for the sleeves on version B instead of gathers, so I can easily wear it under a cardigan. The fit around the neck and shoulders is really great--no gaping when I sit or between the buttons.

So here are my fitting deets:

  • Size 18 with a 1.25" FBA. 
  • Didn't sew darts at all. The instructions recommend that you decrease the width of the darts if you need more room at the waist. I wanted more room for shifting weight when I'm sitting and I also just wanted a looser look. That said, I think I will reintroduce a narrow waist dart for my next version for just a teensy bit of shaping.
  • Added 3" to the width of the peplum to make sure that the gathering wasn't too sparse. I think I'll make it 4" next time. 
  • You absolutely have to make this in a fabric with lots of drape. 
  • Chalk and Notch had an interesting tip to use interfacing designed for knits (even though it's a woven garment) to avoid a stiff placket. I love these kinds of tips that challenge conventional wisdom because I'm very much a rule follower and would never find this out on my own.  
  •  I'm definitely planning another (the dress length), and I'd like to try out the other collar. 
Well, that pot roast is calling my name so I'm going to sign off.  Thanks so much for reading and have a great week.